User Generated Content

The Top 4 Benefits of User Generated Content

6th May, 2020  • 6 min read

“Content is king”, the popular concept pioneered by Bill Gates, has largely driven today’s marketing strategies, for B2B and B2C brands alike. But in today’s consumer-driven market, user-generated content is the real king.

User-generated content, known as “UGC,” is a term used to reference content (videos, blogs, images, social posts, etc.) created by consumers or end-users. Its popularity is at an all-time high in today’s world because, when leveraged properly, it builds authentic brand awareness, establishes real credibility, and keeps the actual customer front and center.

Advertisers and marketers may look at UGC scratching their heads wondering why so many brands are filling their Instagram accounts with community-generated content versus picture-perfect brand shots. The simple answer is it’s not just the photo that matters, but the values and community behind it. Let’s walk through four of the key benefits of leveraging user-generated content.

1. User-Generated Content Drives Higher Engagement.

Authenticity is more important than ever for brands. In fact, 86% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. The best way to build this value is to foster community. Do this by encouraging your customers to share feedback online, engage in the conversation publicly, and celebrate them by sharing UGC in your brand’s social feed. Doing so will increase the online engagement and goodwill customers have with your brand.

When consumers choose to incorporate a brand into their social media feeds, they are doing it for a reason. Whether they are showing off something new, expressing opinions, or sharing experiences, the consumer is openly communicating his or her thoughts about a brand. On the flip side, the consumer’s friends, family, and followers are much more receptive when the context around the brand is extended through a person they know – which in turn, affects engagement for the better.

According to the content marketing platform Stackla, UGC posts shared to social channels see a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts. Harnessing the power of consumers on their personal platforms becomes contagious to others, driving authentic conversations and awareness all around.

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2. User-Generated Content Boosts Credibility.

According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. Consumers are no longer the passive followers they once were. They constantly crave more authenticity, transparency, and purpose.

UGC is a powerful tool because it lends a hand in aligning values with consumers when they see their own friends using the product as well. Trust is immediately extended to the brand when a friend suggests it by broadcasting their own experience.

3. User-Generated Content empowers customers.

Brands today need to be focused on influencing the conversation rather than controlling it. Take advantage of the “outsider perspective” by letting the consumer connect with others openly. While relinquishing control over content is scary territory for brands, the ultimate reward of UGC cannot be matched by other tactics.

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to creating a “just for you” advertisement, so letting various demographics engage with the brand will support a connection to all. In order to empower the consumer, brands need to make them feel heard and appreciated. Through UGC, a brand can recognize their customers and establish a two-way conversation.

This two-way conversation also empowers the consumer to have a say in what the brand represents. Consumers often represent themselves through the brands they use, so giving them the opportunity to actively shape a brand’s identity creates an emotional investment for the consumer and turns them into brand advocates.

4. User-Generated Content reaches more people.

Cracking through the clutter of traditional advertising requires creating compelling branded content that attracts an audience and makes them want more. Strategies for maximizing reach with UGC on social media include:

  • Creating custom hashtags
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Activating a contest

Building a community behind a brand is an important key to reaching more consumers. The use of custom hashtags gives the brand a chance to stand out amongst the rest and consumers will be more receptive to using it themselves. When opening up an opportunity for questions to be answered, consumers are more likely to join in and facilitate an open conversation about the brand. Activating contests can be fun and interactive. People in general love winning, so what better way to reach the masses than to offer incentives to participate in a brand.

Community is King

Developing a brand-led community establishes growth beyond social content. UGC has given consumers the chance to express themselves beyond passing notes, creating fan fiction and writing letters to the editor. Being able to show interest in a brand with like-minded peers can build a community that will continue to expand. Consumers are heavily drawn to participate in any way they can so giving them that opportunity to through UGC is what makes it so powerful.

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