When looking for a way to boost your social media marketing, user-generated content (UGC) is key. First, it’s an excellent way to generate customer engagement. With today’s technology, using old marketing techniques isn’t enough. People have lost their faith in companies. They view traditional advertisements as bragging or exaggerations. However, if they see their Facebook friend rave about a beauty product or post a picture wearing their new favorite outfit, this is perceived as more trustworthy and generates word of mouth marketing.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any type of content information that is created by the users of your products and services and is posted to an online platform. Therefore, making it available to other users. UGC is produced in the form of photos or videos that are posted to a social media platform. There are multiple strategies for UGC on social media. For example, develop a new challenge and encouraging people to post their attempts on YouTube. Or create a picture contest they can participate in on Instagram.

Getting your customers to produce their own UGC, will outperform any other types of content that your company produces.


How to Use User-Generated Content Successfully

Companies large and small have been using UGC campaigns for years. One good example is Coca Cola’s personalized bottles. Coke bottles had consumer’s names printed on them. They were launched as part of the company’s “Share A Coke” campaign. People around the world took part in this Coca-Cola campaign as they found bottles with their name or loved one’s names on it. The consumers then took pictures posing with their bottles and shared to social media. In this case, customers themselves advertised the company. This campaign generated millions of dollars for Coca Cola.

In 2014, the ALS Association developed its famous Ice Bucket Challenge. That challenge is one of the most successful UGC campaigns to date. Around the globe, people poured ice-cold water from a bucket on themselves and uploaded the videos online. In the video, they named other people and challenged them to try it out as well or make a donation to the association. The challenge went viral, raising awareness and millions of dollars. In other words, they let people make the campaign a success for them.

In both cases, neither the Cocoa Cola Company nor the ALS Association paid users to advertise their brand or spread awareness. Instead, they simply asked users to post pictures and videos. These businesses were able to launch successful ad campaigns that captured attention around the world.

So what are the specific benefits of user-generated content?

It Gains More Trust

Marketers aren’t trusted anymore. The traditional methods of bringing in customers have slowly faded. Marketing people are seen as only wanting to make sales. Even to the point, people feel they are hiding anything negative about a product or service from the consumer. A 2013 survey showed that almost 75% of consumers believe ads are exaggerated in order to convince buyers to make a purchase. In addition, if they make a decision based on ads it leads to reluctance. Instead, customers want to hear from people who have already used your product—not from the people who are trying to sell it.


It Offers Buyers Proof

People look to social media to find proof of quality. When they see reviews from real consumers who are using the product or service it increases credibility. Consumers are also aware people are more comfortable sharing their honest opinions online.


It Costs You Less Money

Launching campaigns with user-generated content is much more cost-effective. This is especially true when it comes to your audience reach. Your consumers become your biggest asset as they extend your reach to their own audiences. That increases your visibility at a lower cost to you.


It Aids In Market Awareness

Using UGC brings you information, which is the key to a successful business. You’ll be able to see, first hand, what works. Plus what your audience enjoys about your product or service. You can then apply this to your marketing strategies. It will continue to boost sales and leads. You’ll also be able to see honest reviews that will help you continue to improve your business.


It Builds Your SEO Value

UGC boosts your SEO in several ways. You are able to keep track of the terms and words used most by your target audience. You can then incorporate those into your own content. When customers post on their own blogs, backlinks to your company’s website improve SEO ranking.

In conclusion, a successful business requires creative marketing strategies. There are many benefits of using user-generated content to your advantage to launch a marketing campaign. Hundreds of companies have already done so. Try it for yourself. Put your trust in your consumers, and watch your reach extend.


Written by Laura Myers