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User Generated Content – The Future of Marketing

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Whether uploaded when you create a website or integrated into your social media feeds—user generated content helps audiences instantly connect with your brand.

User-generated content can increase brand awareness and solidify your business as both competitive and trustworthy. But before opening your platform for customers, employees and business stakeholders to post their images, videos, audio and text, you need to know a few important components about building a user-generated content strategy.

This article will tackle the benefits, best practices and how to make user-generated content part of your marketing efforts. We'll review:

  • What is user-generated content?

  • Top 4 reasons brands should implement user-generated content

  • How to incorporate a user-generated content into your marketing strategy

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is any content that didn’t originate from your brand, but rather your audience. This can refer to a range of content types—including photos, videos, reviews, comments or even blog posts. Essentially, UGC includes your brand, but your in-house marketing team doesn’t create the assets.

While this may seem like a fancy new type of marketing, user-generated content is essentially just word-of-mouth referrals for the online age. Think of a user posting about a brand’s product just like a recommendation from a friend.

In some cases, the advertised brand doesn’t sponsor user-generated content, but someone who finds inspiration in the brand or its products creates content about it. This makes it, oftentimes, feel more authentic and trustworthy than traditional advertisements. Brands can also pay for user-generated content, but this can cross over into sponsored content territory, which doesn’t touch audiences in the same organic way.

Top 4 reasons brands should implement user-generated-content

01. User generated content promotes authenticity and trustworthiness

In an age where most people perceive the staging and photoshopping associated with traditional advertising as inauthentic, user-generated content shines through as more transparent and trustworthy. Brands today cannot afford to overlook authenticity. In fact, 86% of consumers say authenticity drives them to decide which brands to support, and a further 81% agree that they can’t purchase from a brand that they don’t trust. Using user-generated content in campaigns to promote their brand, companies can prove their authenticity.

02. Allows potential clients to evaluate your brand

93% of consumers read reviews before committing to make a purchase. To grow a successful brand, you must collect online reviews, but that doesn’t mean you have to do with a cut-and-dry product review page. While these help customers, clients can learn about a brand or product in more engaging ways.

User-generated reviews are powerful, and their unfiltered nature resonates well with audiences. Whether an Instagram user uploads a story about their favorite coffee brand and explains what they like about it, or a YouTuber films themselves unboxing a product and showing off its features, UGC highlights the visual. It gives a potential buyer a close-up, unfiltered look at the product or service.

03. Highly affordable and effective

User-generated content won’t break the bank. Rather than pouring your social media marketing budget into creating ads, your users do it for you. Unless you offer sponsorship in exchange for content, organic user-generated content doesn’t cost a brand anything.

Given this fact, user generated content can produce a high return on investment (ROI). Asking clients to share free content online can result in increased brand awareness for your business, influencing audiences that haven’t yet converted.

04. Inspires brand loyalty