In a competitive marketplace, we as marketers are obsessed with how to reach our target consumers.

It’s no secret that content marketing works, but, the real question is, does your content marketing program reach your target consumers effectively? Could you do better?

As someone who has been in the content marketing field for 10 years, I can say without a doubt, the strongest content marketing strategy that I’ve implemented is embracing user generated content or UGC.

In this post, I want to download all of my UGC knowledge so that you can reach your consumers in a really authentic way.

What is User Generated Content?

UGC is simply content created by consumers about their experience with your brand.

From reviews to social posts, UGC embraces a basic brand experience and tells your brand’s story in a way that your brand can’t do itself without sounding self-promotional. Importantly, consumers seek out content created by other consumers like them and they disregard content created by brands.

It’s an easy enough content marketing strategy to understand, but it takes a smart approach to earn this type of content. That’s where this post comes in handy.

Why Your Brand Needs User Generated Content

As I mentioned, UGC is the best way to present your brand in an authentic way. If you’re like me, your marketing strategy is based on data so let’s look at the facts:

  • 86% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like
  • 70% of people say that they trust images taken from people like them over brand created images
  • 61% of people say that they would be more likely to engage with an advertisement if it contains user generated content
  • Customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than marketing coming directly from a brand
  • Two thirds of consumers say that they trust the opinions of other consumers posted online
  • 41% of consumers will be tempted to buy a product with as little as 1-4 online reviews
  • 92% of consumers trust word of mouth marketing more than any type of advertisement

The bottom line is that there is a disconnect with marketers and consumers. Consumers know your brand is trying to sell to them, so they trust content created about your brand from their peers.

Know Your Audience

To make the most out of your UGC program it’s important to get a pulse on the type of content your consumers crave.

Are you trying to reach business professionals? Then set up a program that gets you content on LinkedIn.

What pain points does your brand solve? Make sure your UGC addresses these pain points to reach new consumers and resonate with them.

Do your consumers want to digest a video about the services you offer? Take your UGC program to YouTube.

You get the drift. And if you don’t know the types of UGC that your target consumers want then you can survey your current consumers and check in with your client services team to learn more about the content that will increase sales.

Types of User Generated Content

There are many types of UGC and avenues that consumers can post their experience with your brand. The most common types of UGC include:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts
  • Consumer reviews on a third party site
  • Consumer reviews on your site
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Published survey results

Consider the Buyer’s Journey

From brand awareness to a purchase decision, UGC supports every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Consumers are savvy and they like to do their research about brands themselves. So, it’s your job to make UGC easy to find.

Sourcing the Content

It’s crucial to develop a plan to source UGC.

One of the most effective ways is to incentivize consumers to post online or provide your brand with a quote. A little goes a long way so you can offer free products or an exclusive discount.

You can also work with influencers. Influencers have a large following and they can review your product for a fee.

Sometimes UGC happens organically when a consumer shares their experience with your brand on their own. So, make sure you are embracing social listening.

Leveraging User Generated Content

Since consumers prefer to do their own brand research, it’s important that you make your UGC easy to find. Here are some ways to leverage and feature your UGC:

  • Publish quotes on your homepage
  • Create a testimonials page on your website
  • Use UGC in your social media posts
  • Utilize UGC in your email marketing strategy
  • Incorporate UGC on your marketing materials

Let’s Talk Budget

A UGC program is uber effective and better yet, cost effective.
The costs associated with a UGC program are the incentives that you offer consumers for posting and a budget for promoting your earned media on social.

Final Thoughts

Consumers don’t want to hear about your brand from your brand, rather, they want to hear from their peers. That’s where UGC comes in. It’s an authentic way to promote your brand in a really effective manner.

The authenticity associated with UGC is what makes it powerful. Using the tips I provided, you can start your UGC program today and start earning a higher ROI from your content marketing strategy.

Do you implement UGC in your content marketing strategy? I would love to hear your tips in the comments below!

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