User Generated Content
Written by Deanna Melanson
User-generated content (UGC) is essentially using unpaid content from consumers with their approval. It can be pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, etc. It’s the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself. This can be as simple as Starbucks reposting a photo to their Instagram that a customer took earlier that day.
In this generation, consumers are more likely to research something before purchasing than not. In fact, the majority of consumers rely on the internet to research their purchases. Most of them look to reviews to help them with their purchase decision. According to a survey, over half (51%) of consumers trust UGC more than other information on a company website (16%) or news articles about the company (14%) when looking for information about a brand, product, or service.
Statistically proven, UGC gets a higher response from consumers with 86% of consumers saying authenticity is a major deciding factor when choosing brands to follow. People prefer authenticity over high-quality content due to the genuine connection the consumer can feel toward the business. 57% of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic. On average, 60% of consumers say content from a friend or family member influences their purchase decisions, while just 23% of consumers say content from celebrities influenced their purchasing decisions.
UGC is typically the best way to gather content that feels real and authentic to your followers. The average person wants to feel a real human connection to your brand before agreeing to buy from you. Consumers browse through social and digital news feeds on their mobile devices to research new and interesting content. If the content is rich enough to capture their attention, they’re more likely to click on offers or promotions.
Keep in mind that using content that was originally created by someone else, you must first get their permission before posting. Some businesses create hashtags that anyone can use to give consent, and some businesses will directly message/comment asking to use the content.
Arguably, the best part of UGC is that you won’t have to pay a cent. Users create content consistently for their own use, which provides free content for your business. Some people may decline the use of their content being used by a business, and there may be instances where the original person to post wants to be paid for their content.
Know your market
To properly utilize UGC, it’s essential to know and understand your market. Whether they fall into a specific generation, where they’re from geologically, their purchase behaviour, etc., will depict how and why they post the content they do.
Stackla Data found that 68% of 18-to-34-year-old social media users surveyed were somewhat likely to make a purchase after seeing a friend’s post. However, 78% of social media users 65 and older said they were not likely to make a purchase based on what they saw on their friends’ feeds.
Inappropriate content from consumers
Sometimes there is the chance that consumers will post content about your business that is inappropriate, or generally unappealing to be associated with your business. Once it’s uploaded, and if it’s not breaking any laws/regulations, the consumer is allowed to keep the content available to their followers.
Verifying the content that you’ll be using is legitimate, is crucial. Depending on your business, this can be of high or low importance to you. People edit photos, reupload without the original users' consent and find photos online through various sources. If you’re worried that the photo may not be credible, your best bet is to find another.
Before launching your UGC campaign, you’d be wise to consult legal counsel on the rights you’ll have with any content submitted to your promotion. You need to inform participants about what will happen to the content they create.
If you’re using their content after it’s already been posted and there’s no indication you’re allowed to use it (specific hashtag, captions, etc.), then send a direct message or comment on the post asking for permission.
Taking advantage of UGC has never been easier. Businesses such as Apple, Target, and Google have utilized UGC to its full potential. By connecting with consumers and providing the authentic feel, even corporate businesses are finding UGC to work in their favour. Maybe it can for yours too.