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In today’s online world, unique branding and strong marketing campaigns are not enough to stay competitive and stand out as a company. Relevance requires not only finding and keeping consumers’ attention, but enlisting the help of those consumers to promote your brand.
Whether you realize it or not, this may be something you’re already doing in the form of user-generated content (UGC). UGC is content, such as videos, photos or reviews, posted by all types of online users on Internet platforms. Although this type of UGC is brand-specific content, it is usually original and created by people rather than brands.
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Sponsored TikTok influencers who use specific products or YouTube unboxing videos are good examples of UGC that, overall, drive 29% more web conversions than campaigns and videos without it. Also, consumers spend an average of over five hours a day engaging with UGC across platforms. Apart from increased visibility, content created by real customers provides a kind of authenticity that is almost a prerequisite for successful branding these days.
Finding quality UGC isn’t always easy, but there are ways to take advantage of consumer promotions without faking user-generated content. Here are five ways to find and benefit from UGC:
1. Promote your customers
A good way to take advantage of UGC is to help promote people who already want to promote you. Benefit from loyal fans and shine a spotlight on people who are already talking about your business online.
Film a video of customers talking about their experience. Even if promotional videos aren’t perfect, showing potential consumers examples of everyday people being satisfied with your products will make your brand feel more relatable. And, any extra personality you can give your video will contribute to the overall feeling of authenticity. Showing your product in use will give potential buyers a better idea of the product they’re getting and whether it’s right for them.
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2. Measure the ROI of UGC
Quantifying the benefits of UGC is helpful for many reasons. You want to find out how brand promotion from outside your company is contributing to customer growth or conversion rates. View your engagement metrics across platforms. That way, you can perform a cost-benefit analysis that can help inform future marketing decisions.
The return on investment (ROI) for UGC can be determined by calculating the value generated from the amount you paid to promote and use the UGC. A way to measure this might be:
ROI = (Revenue generated from UGC – Investment in UGC) / Investment in UGC
One goal is to determine if good customer testimonials increase the profits of the products you sell. This can help you decide whether to send free items to influencers or other online customers.
It’s also important to note that measuring the ROI of UGC can be difficult. But watch out for a range of potential benefits, including brand awareness, improved customer loyalty or increased website traffic.
3. Get reviews
Almost every business can collect customer reviews in one way or another. Whether it’s online at the end of an email campaign or through a Yelp campaign at your place of business, there are many ways to encourage customers to leave reviews
Reviews not only help you improve continuously, but they also keep you informed about how satisfied your customers are. Additionally, reviews give potential buyers more insight into the product and whether it is reliable. After all, reviews give you potential promotional material that you can use on different content. Regardless of the feedback, it’s always worth asking clients or buyers for reviews.
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4. Include UGC in your plan
Whether it’s a dedicated hour each week or a quarterly review, making a deliberate effort to take time with your team to talk about UGC can make a big difference. Thinking of new and different ways to engage customers, shine a light on them, and improve your brand is a process worth continuing.
Not only can efficiency and success improve through ongoing communication, but you can redefine your goals and innovate at a higher rate. UGC can improve engagement and it’s worth companies’ time to find better ways to use it.
5. Take time to be authentic
It may sound simple, but be patient and take time to be real. Cultivating an authentic brand takes time and there are no shortcuts. UGC requires an active and engaged customer base and people can tell if the content is really practical and relevant.
Take the time to strengthen your brand image and identify the real users of your product so you can target them and others with the right content. Patience, focus and adaptability are the key attributes of your marketing efforts here.
In a market oversaturated with products, consumers crave products made and used by real, everyday people. Authenticity is the new synonym for success, and UGC is one of the most effective ways to be authentic when promoting your brand. Finding and taking advantage of UGC can be daunting, but making the effort can bring quantifiable, tangible, results and a healthy bottom line.
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