Online Marketing March 17, 2024

User-Generated Content For Marketing Applications

Writen by rawal

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User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. The Internet is rife with communities and tools that, when put together, allow for impactful content. However, this requires time, dedication, and a bit of know-how. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of how to become a UGC creator.

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What is User-Generated Content?

UGC is a means of creating content with the help of a community or user base. The Internet, as one would imagine, has enhanced the capabilities of doing this through social media or other channels. This can involve multiple types of media, from videos to images to website content. It can also serve as a form of community management which can drive engagement.

In some sense, we live in a world of user-generated content. Think about it: most of everything on social media is usually common people or app users doing the work for free or personal incentive. However, that casts too broad a brush so when referring to user-generated content, we’ll be referring to brands and companies leveraging their user base to promote a product. This won’t apply to companies whose entire business model is user-based content (like your social media giants or Google).

User-generated content can come from several places:

  • Customers: a decent customer base can be an opportunity to generate rave reviews or social media buzz. An example of this can be prompting users to share reviews of your product on social media.
  • Brand loyalists: a subset of customers that can act as brand ambassadors. The difference here is the level of devotion to the product. If there is a segment of customers who can act this way, you can get more predictable positive responses from them.
  • UGC creators: these are professional creators who make content that looks authentic but is often brand-sponsored. This would be anyone who receives a financial incentive from promoting the product and creating content professionally or semi-professionally. Many product review channels operate in this way.
  • Client base: this might seem strange until you think about it. Companies often ask their clients for reviews or co-write case studies with firms they’ve worked for. This would be more applicable to B2B user content.

Benefits of User-Generated Content

One of the main benefits is authenticity. When companies put out their marketing campaigns, they can come off as unrelatable. However, users have more of a rapport with each other allowing you to harness peer word-of-mouth. It is a far more organic form of promotion that lets the audience speak for itself when done right.

It can be cheaper, and in some instances, allow for practically free UGC media creation. If you can get your user base to share positive product reviews or help with idea crowdsourcing. For example, user-generated video campaigns can be far cheaper than shooting them yourself compared to outsourcing to private users.

UGC video content can especially go viral on TikTok or YouTube. In general, it is highly popular because it is an organic form of virality if done well and, since it is being circulated by your audience, it will find its way in similar target groups and attract them as well. When you share user-generated content on social media, there is already an in-built audience for it, i.e. fans of fashion or consumer electronics.

How to Make UGC (For Businesses)

Here are a few UGC crowdsourcing ideas:

  • Solicit customer reviews: Ask your customers after they purchase to leave a review. This could be via set emails or webhooks.
  • Leverage shareable hashtags: Create something that users can associate with your brand and put on their content. Nike fans will often put their campaign slogans on their own content.
  • Create contests and competitions: Game companies often give out free games for people who share their posts. These giveaways act like a lottery and can generate a lot of buzz.
  • Reach out to influencers: While different from the average UGC creator due to the scope of the audience, influencers still count.
  • Create an employee engagement program: Employees can be a faithful look that humanises your brand. While there is some debate as to whether employees count as users, the content they generate leads to similar effects, so try it out if you can.
  • Build a loyalty program: Fostering loyalty with certain perks like occasional discounts, early access, or other incentives. This can lead to a certain class of your customers sharing content and reviewing your company positively.
  • Offer perks for sharing content with your products: Many companies offer customers discounts for providing reviews or sharing their content.

The main thing to avoid: Make sure you don’t create a beast you can’t control. When it comes to the Internet moderation is highly necessary. So, why is content moderation important for user-generated campaigns? Just ask the event planners behind “Agile2013” who let Twitter (and incidentally, 4chan) run amok on their live feed. The Internet can be a cruel place and it’s always important to keep that in mind.

UGC Creation & Hiring Creators

If you can’t go the organic route, you may have more luck hiring a UGC creator. This can have its benefits as this is far more controlled as a process. A business can guide the process more but that can also make the content feel artificial. It can also be considered inauthentic if you make it feel too much like branded content. It’s best to find UGC creators that are fans and understand your brand.

So, how much do UGC creators make? Some creators have claimed making $1,000 USD and upwards in a week. Other sources indicate that beginner UGC creators take $150 to $250 per video. This can depend on their popularity and how extensive the work is.

Brands looking for UGC creators can look to Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. However, this depends on what the audience of the creator is. They don’t all have to be massive influencers (in fact, it often helps if they aren’t).

Case Study: Coca Cola

Coke user generated content

Coca-Cola faced the challenge of needing a comprehensive solution to generate genuine and captivating content for their consumers that could be applied to all of their brands. In response to this need, they sought a partnership with Social Native, aiming to enhance content creation across multiple brands.

This collaboration was intended to cover a range of Coca-Cola’s portfolio, including well-known names such as Coca-Cola itself, Smart Water, Powerade, Sprite, Coke Zero, Fanta, Minute Maid, Ciel, and Vitamin Water, highlighting the diversity and breadth of their brand family. One of the ideas was simple and effective: have names printed on your bottles so that users feel the need to share it on social media with friends and family.

The partnership between Coca-Cola and Social Native bore fruit, leading to the creation of a significant volume of content. Specifically, it resulted in the generation of over 3,500 images and in excess of 500 videos. This content was distributed across nine of Coca-Cola’s brands, leveraging Social Native’s capabilities to enhance consumer engagement and affinity towards the products.

The content created through this collaboration was utilized across various platforms including social media channels, paid media, Coca-Cola’s official website, email campaigns, and more, indicating a wide-reaching strategy to connect with and engage their target audience effectively.

Case Study: Meller’s Instagram Success

Sunglasses case UGC

Meller, a brand known for its digital watches and sunglasses, has embraced the power of User Generated Content (UGC) by incorporating it into their Instagram Stories ads. To measure the effectiveness of UGC compared to their traditional branded content, Meller conducted an A/B testing strategy. The objective was to determine whether ads featuring content created by customers would outperform those with professionally produced brand images in terms of engagement and cost-efficiency.

The results were clear: ads utilizing UGC achieved a 13.9% lower cost per click (CPC) than those featuring branded content. This experiment underscores the effectiveness of leveraging real customer experiences in advertising to connect more authentically with the target audience.

Meller’s initiative to test the impact of UGC against professional brand imagery was part of their broader strategy to optimize their online customer acquisition channels. By focusing on Instagram stories for the A/B test, the aim was to drive users to a specific landing page, providing a straightforward metric for comparison—click-through rates.

The outcome of the tests across all markets confirmed that User Generated Content not only won in terms of lower cost per landing page view but also suggested a significant insight for Meller’s advertising approach. Given the brand’s substantial investment in social media advertising, these findings offer a compelling argument for the value of UGC.

The social proof inherent in customer-created content appears to resonate more effectively with viewers, encouraging them to engage with the ad and explore further. This experiment demonstrates the changing dynamics of consumer engagement and the growing importance of authenticity in digital advertising strategies.

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