In the earlier days, many businesses relied on word-of-mouth and traditional marketing methods to survive in the market. With the introduction of the internet, marketing methods evolved into digital methods. Subsequently, word-of-mouth evolved well into the digital era.
Modern-day word-of-mouth includes sharing product reviews, blog posts, and photos about products on social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter. It is categorized as user-generated content (UGC) and is the most prominent method of promoting a brand or business.
UGC helps establish a vote of confidence with the target consumers regarding products and services. According to an established survey, it has been found that over 93% of customers believe what existing customers say about a product or business over flashing advertisements.
What Is User-Generated Content?
As mentioned earlier, user-generated content is content produced by existing customers of a business. It is content in various forms, such as product reviews, images, videos, or simple text. They are created by the customers and not by the businesses.
Customers who create original content about a product share them on social media channels and are seen by their followers. As a result, UGC is a great way to indirectly build an online brand presence through satisfied consumers.
Where Does User-Generated Content Come from?
UGC is provided across different channels from different communities of people. It is commonly generated by the following groups –
In recent years, the e-commerce industry has significantly grown with good and tough competition in the market. Many brands started selling their products online, but not everyone survived. It happened because customers started purchasing products from only trusted brands.
Hence, customers measure the quality of a product from other brands by going through its customer reviews and testimonials. Therefore, UGC came from customers in the form of unboxing videos, product ratings, social media shares, and other forms.
There are customers, and then there are brand enthusiasts. These are customers who remain loyal to a single brand for a major portion of their lifetime. Some common examples include customers of Apple, Nike, and Puma.
They are very dedicated and passionate about the brand and always provide UGC across various social media channels, including YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Hence, businesses can get user-generated content whenever they release a new product.
Businesses can also get UGC from their employees in different forms. It helps to showcase the brand’s passion for quality and a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes factor of a product. They provide UGC in the form of videos or photos during the production process.
They can also provide UGC by offering honest insight into the products and business. Therefore, it is a good way to build brand identity and show consumers that they are trustworthy company.
UGC creators generally consist of influencers and prominent digital content creators. It can be sponsored by the brand or generated by them on their own. Most UGC creators offer a deep insight into the product and weigh the pros and cons from an impartial point of view.
Customers mostly prefer UGC creators as they already have a loyal fanbase. Hence, they turn to these creators to make the final decision to buy a product. Businesses can also produce user-generated content from the creators by asking them to try out their products and offer honest opinions.
Top 5 Benefits of User-Generated Content
Besides advertisements and promotions, user-generated content is a great way to increase traffic and conversion rates. It offers genuine personalization from existing customers to sway the target consumers towards a brand or business.
Some of the main benefits of user-generated content for a business inc:
1. Authenticity and Credibility
Online businesses face tough competition in the e-commerce industry to sell their products and be seen by the target customers. There are several options available for buyers to choose from. Hence, selling can be difficult if the customers do not know the business. Although advertisements and promotions help to a degree, user-generated content offers a great deal of credibility and authenticity to a product.
Product reviews and testimonials left by customers help to build the trust of quality with other customers. It offers a personalized approach toward a product that doesn’t come off as a generic sales pitch. As a result, it helps to provide trustworthiness to the target consumers.
2. Customers-first Approach
User-generated content is a win-win approach for both customers and businesses. It helps the customers give honest opinions and tell the brand story themselves. Hence, it acts as an indirect form of advertising that is not done by the brand.
Additionally, it helps to offer important insights that the target consumers may need to make the final buying decision. It also helps to urge target consumers to visit the product and build online relationships with the brand.
3. Social Media Proof
Content generated by customers acts as good proof of product on social media channels. Hence, it helps to build an online brand image by showing that they have a loyal customer base and that their products are worth buying. It helps to show that their products live up to the brand’s promise.
Subsequently, it helps businesses get more followers and grow their social media channels. Businesses can further grow their brand by sharing user-generated content to establish and build customer relationships.
4. Complement Advertisements and Promotions
All businesses have a limited marketing budget to run online ads and promotions on different channels. Hence, user-generated content goes hand-in-hand with the existing marketing campaign as an organic marketing method.
Moreover, businesses do not have to incur any costs on UGC as customers provide them on their goodwill. Additionally, businesses can use images and customer reviews to design campaigns for a greater impact.
But before that, it is suggested that you get your content audited to find gaps where you can work on adding the required user-generated data.
5. Get Noticed by Target Audience
Nowadays, customers are constantly bombarded by both offline and online advertisements. As a result, they have built ‘banner blindness’ in response to ads. They have learned to shut off advertisements by completely ignoring them. However, user-generated content is different and overcomes banner blindness easily.
The target audience notices it due to its personalization from existing customers. Therefore, businesses can greatly profit from UGC since it is not considered a sales pitch and offers genuine insights into their products. Additionally, it has been found that UGC offers four times more click-through rates compared to normal advertising.
To summarize, user-generated content is an organic method of promoting a product or business. It offers authenticity, credibility, and trustworthiness to the target audience to encourage them to try or buy their product.
Most of the UGC are offered by customers without any intervention. However, brands can get user-generated content via employees or UGC creators. It incurs little to no cost and helps to create strong customer relationships. It helps promote and increase the success of existing marketing campaigns as well.