In the digital marketplace, a great way to advertise your products and services is through user-generated content (UGC), which has emerged as a powerful marketing tool to create a personal connection between the brand and its target audience.
UGC is the voluntary buzz that consumers create around a product – this includes photographs or videos, recommendations and reviews, social media posts that tag the brand, TikTok videos or challenges, user testimonials, etc.
According to Nielson Consumer Trust Index, 92 per cent of consumers trust peer reviews over brand-created content. They view UGC as more 'authentic' and trustworthy. Brands that share UGC thus establish a more personal relationship with the customers whose content they share. Sharing UGC also builds up a community of loyal customers. With a single 'share', companies are also able to target the user's social network, potentially reaching out to thousands of other customers.
Online reviews can be a gold mine as consumer surveys indicate that over 91 per cent of people read online reviews, and over 84 per cent trust them. Encouraging your customers to review your product not only gives them a voice and indicates that you are willing to listen to their concerns, but it also allows businesses to immediately address problems and concerns.
Reviews, recommendations and blog posts can also be analysed to gain insights into what audiences seek. This allows companies to narrowly focus marketing strategies to create better advertising content and generate new leads.
Here are some ways to leverage the vast potential of UGC to increase your engagement with your customers and build trust.
Determine your platform and your target audience. What works on Instagram (photos, videos) will not work on Twitter (short posts, GIFs); a thought leadership article that would work wonders on LinkedIn is not a good fit for Pinterest.
Hashtags make it easier for customers to cut through the social media noise. Create a personalised hashtag that is relevant to your brand. Each time a user uploads a photograph with that hashtag or posts a question with that hashtag, your brand is being introduced to all their followers. Do make it clear that any content shared with that hashtag may be repurposed for other platforms.
Millennials are more likely to support a company that stands for a cause. Aligning with a cause that reflects your brand's values creates a better relationship with the customer. For example, 'Rise for Good', the Mahindra Group's digital campaign, tackled social causes that were the closest to people's hearts.
UGC will also motivate other consumers to create content that can be featured on the brand's social media pages. What's more, consumers can view real products being used by real people in real time.
Using UGC, with informed consent from the creators, can increase your engagement with your customers and help improve your brand image and recall-value. It's a smart and strategic way to use social engagement to connect with audiences and stay ahead of your competitors.
For more insights on user generated content, get in touch with us.