User generated content (UGC) is the MVC (most valuable content)

October 23, 2015Uncategorized
People Celebrating Holi Festival

By Catalina Beltran, B2C Social Media Community Manager

If you don’t know the meaning of UGC you should start to worry. Or better yet, keep on reading.

What is UGC?

UGC (user generated content) is content created by your customers and potential customers, normally shared via social media. The BBC defines UGC as ‘citizen journalism’. An interesting concept to me.

Audiences are increasingly becoming the broadcaster, and they are doing it with a total sense of freedom of expression (at least in Australia). How we consume news and recommendations has transformed, thanks to social media. The public has become the source of ‘news’, the source of recommendations, the source of credibility. There is an opportunity for brands to use the content they are creating to generate brand awareness, so why not take it?

Why is it valuable for your brand?

UGC is 50 per cent more trusted than other media by millennials, according to a survey by Ipsos. Brands losing credibility is not new. It’s a trust issue. Most people wouldn’t trust a brand that says it’s the best at something, but they would trust someone who recommends that brand. It all comes down to authenticity: UGC is perceived as authentic, and because it comes from their peers, people can trust it.

But UGC does not only generate trust in your brand. It will help organically increase brand awareness in a world where marketers are fighting for organic amplification. Customers rely on reviews and recommendations in their shopping journey. Increased visibility of your brand means more people will start to see it and consider it in their steps towards decision-making. Businesses using UGC on their marketing channels have seen higher conversions, click-through rates to product pages and average order values.

UGC has the power to influence. It can engage an audience in a way they trust. It can influence them to make a decision about your brand.

UGC allows you to gain a better understanding of what customers and potential customers think of your brand.
It has the power to inform you about the real conversations and stories being told around your brand, so listen closely!

How to obtain UGC?

Be creative:

– Create competitions on social media.
– Start joining the conversations that are already happening around your brand.
– Ask the right questions – ones that can generate valuable insights.
– Post photos similar to what you want to see replicated.
– Inspire users to leave comments on your posts.
– Create clear CTAs to encourage them to share their photos or videos.
– Ask your customers directly.

The key is to have an incentive. Users need encouragement to start generating their content. There must be an added value, a reason for them to create UGC.

1. The Human Brochure – Australian Capital Tourism

Australian Capital Tourism wanted to change the way Canberra was being perceived. It created a campaign where it invited 500 ‘humans’ to visit and share their experiences via social media. The campaign was impeccable and the results outstanding.

2. Ideas Brewery – Heineken

Heineken took UGC further. It asked the audience to submit product innovation ideas by creating several annual open innovation challenges. The campaigns helped introduce as a ‘vibrant and upcoming innovations hub’. It later evolved into Innovations Brewhouse. Incredibly valuable.

Integrating UGC into your content strategy will give your brand immeasurable value. Your customers and potential customers are probably generating content around your brand anyway, so take advantage of it. Let them connect and interact with your brand. Leverage the content and use it to create conversations. Be creative. Inspire them. Be smart, and let your new-found MVC help your business grow.

Have any questions? Ask our strategists here.