Is There Really A Successful Way to Use User Generated Content?

December 28, 2016

Is the concept of user generated content new to you? Are you struggling to find a place for it within your marketing strategy in a successful, measureable way? Don't worry, you join countless other marketing professionals also debating the best way to use content surrounding their brand. This blog looks at the benefits and user generated content examples of how existing brands have creatively used this content. Read on to find out more.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content is organic content produced by a brand's users. It is images on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that promote or show allegiance to brands and typically showcase the brand in some shape or form. Brands can build a strategy to use this content as a way to champion their product and encourage new customers to convert.

User generated content is a fairly new trend, but it is growing in popularity because marketing professionals are recognising that it can work. Customers are more likely to purchase a product if they have interacted with a piece of UGC and marketers understand the power of influential marketing.

Why Does UGC Work?

UGC helps consumers get 'social proof' that the products they are interested in actually work. They take  the traditional testimonial one step further and turn it into a conversation, into a personal connection between a brand and its customer. It also allows brands to find out exactly what consumers think about their brand.

How Can UGC Be Utilized?

Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of your consumer's UGC:Collect and Use the Content - This is the perfect way to use your UGC to market your products - to show off how your product is being used by your already dedicated consumer base. There are several ways to do this. You can build a microsite to host all of your UGC. You can develop a feed on your website that captures certain hashtags from Instagram. Promote Your Events - UGC doesn't always have to surround a product but also events.  Events drive participants to share content, especially where a specific campaign is set up around a hashtag or other incentive. This content can be used as promotional footage and also be used as an opportunity to figure out what worked the best (where did people take their picture the most?). This information can be used to create a stronger event and campaign next time around. Philanthropic Events - Philanthropic events are an important part of any business plan and gives brands an opportunity to show their softer side by supporting initiatives such as Breast Cancer Awareness month and so on. UGC is a great way to get your consumers to show off your charitable effort. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge is a great example where awareness was generated for ALS by a viral online challenge - throwing a bucket of ice over one's head and videoing it for the world to see.Show off Culture - This is where your employees get involved in the UGC action. Employees sharing a picture of the yummy lunch purchased for Friday's team meeting, or the video of the rousing speech made by a manager before a big event, speaks volumes for a brand.

Where should UGC be generated?

User generated content can be used in many ways. We recommend using it in the following forums:Promotional videosSocial media - Facebook, Instagram, PinterestOn your blogOn your website

Is it Successful?

This is a difficult question to answer because user generated content is as measurable as other online digital marketing efforts. You can assess brand lift and assume that it has come from certain campaigns, but it is hard to say exactly how much of an impact UGC has overall. That being said, attribution modelling tools are becoming more complex and you can create models that predict the impact of certain campaigns, especially if they can be isolated. There are some best practices you can follow to make sure you are measuring your campaigns as best you can:UTM parameters - make sure to include UTM parameters on all links so you can track where the visitors/consumers have come fromUse the attribution tool in Google Analytics to see how other channels have supported conversions - For example, a user may have come to the website initially from social, but then returned organically and converted.

There you have it. Let us know how you get along using UGC for your business!

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Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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