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User Generated Content (UGC) – Letting Customers Be Your Best Advertising

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

Jeff Bezos

There are seemingly endless ways to promote or advertise for your company, and countless ways to execute these marketing attempts. In recent times, however, a certain type of advertising has become more and more popular for several different reasons, by the name of UGC, or User Generated Content. This type of content is unique in that it does not, or at least does not appear to, come from the company directly. This is content that is technically provided by other people, customers, fans of the company, or other advocates of the brand. It is effective, simple, and generally inexpensive, as it allows customers and other people to essentially do your marketing work for you.

Types of User Generated Content

1. Organic content directly from customers: These could be positive reviews on reputable sites such as Yelp, Google, etc., or social media posts on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

2. Cultivated content where incentive is provided for the content creator: By providing followers or customers with discounts or free product incentives if they leave a review or social media post, they are more likely to take the time out of their day to do so. In addition, it is possible to utilize social media influencers (people with large online followings) to create content with a monetary or free product incentive.

Why is UGC So Effective?

User Generated Content is extremely effective because people are more likely to trust a product or service recommendation from another person, than advertisements from the company itself. Hearing from another person, even a stranger, that a certain brand is highly recommended and trustworthy builds authenticity. A quality review or social media post is the modern-day digitized version of “word-of-mouth,” and its effects on consumers are immense compared to a calculated advertisement coming from a business directly.

The psychology behind this is that the motive of any company is to sell, and make more money. Therefore, they will always attempt to make themselves look great, and they can and will say anything to bolster that reputation. The motive of a customer is much more humble and honest, as in general we tend not to leave reviews or social media posts unless we’ve had a particularly memorable experience, either very good or very bad.

For example, there could be 20 local auto shops who all claim they are “the best in town,” but if one has significantly more positive reviews and customer testimonies, then it appears as proof that one shop is likely the best (or at least, definitely not the worst). Nobody wants to run into a company that provides products or services that are sub-par, wasting their time and money. By verifying a business’ success with customer reviews and other User Generated Content, a consumer feels that they are doing their due diligence and research in order to find the best company for the job.

Essentially, one of the reasons User Generated Content is so effective is that it’s actually hard to fake. Even if a company offers discounts or free products in exchange for social media posts and reviews, in general, if a company is very bad or provides horrible service or products, people will be much less likely to participate. Bad reviews will still rise to the surface and expose the company to a thorough researching individual, and completely fake reviews can usually be detected. Since User Generated Content is genuine for the most part, not only does it make your business look good, it’s usually not necessarily lying to the customer, either. A good company will utilize this tool to simply spotlight their business and essentially prove to the customer that they provide quality goods or services, making the best companies truly appear to be the best, and bringing more traffic where it belongs.

Ways to Receive More User Generated Content

Okay– so you’re confident in your brand, you’re ready to post more content, and you believe you can receive some great UGC. Now, how do you get it?

1. User Generated Content is created, shared, and seen all through the digital world of social media and the internet. So, in order to receive this digital word-of-mouth, you must make sure to first have a digital following.  Make sure you have active social media accounts. These can include- but are not limited to- Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

2. Utilize digital marketing companies such as Planned Growth to manage these accounts and bolster the number of your followers, keeping your social media pages active and relevant.

3. Create a business plan which includes digital interaction; you can do this by offering a discount if customers follow you on social media, share your company in a post, subscribe to your YouTube channel, etc. Mention these things in your face-to-face interactions as well as online interactions. Be sure when reposting a customer or follower’s post that you give credit to their account and even thank them and ask for permission to repost– considering the customer and making them feel seen and valued can go a long way, and can turn a one-time customer into a dedicated fan.

4. Create a custom hashtag that only refers to your company. Incorporate that hashtag in your own posts, and request that hashtag be used in your UGC posts.

5. Find online influencers who are relevant to your company or products, and contact them to help create some great User Generated Content.  This is a particularly effective mode of advertising because influencers have the ability to reach a much higher number of people than a “regular customer.” Do not be afraid to tell the influencer exactly what you want in a post, even if it may seem very specific.

6. Don’t forget to repost any social media post or online review, spreading your UGC to have the highest effect. Many companies post positive Google or Yelp reviews right on their websites.

As the internet continues to take over in the marketing world, any company could and should utilize the benefits of organic and cultivated User Generated Content. While the tips mentioned above can help to elevate your User Generated Content effectively, ultimately the best solution is to leave your marketing plans in the hands of a reputable digital marketing company such as Planned Growth. This will allow you to focus on the rest of your business while seeing exponential growth in other areas. Contact us today to ask about our User Generated Content and other digital marketing strategies! You can get in touch with us via our Online Form or simply call us at 800-625-4769.