Experts’ Hive #8: User-Generated Content: A Hidden Marketing Strategy

In this ever-growing marketing field, customers’ behavior is constantly changing. What all marketers or brands can do to survive is to be on their toes and adapt quickly, looking for the best way to get their messages heard among the noise.

From video marketing campaigns to social media strategy, savvy marketers are fighting tooth and nail to keep up with their target customers’ habits and engage them seamlessly. They tap into different social media platforms just to share engaging content, such as compelling explainer videos, interactive pollings, and thought-provoking images.

However, we don’t talk enough about another powerful marketing strategy: user-generated content strategy, or UGC for short.

In this post, you’ll learn more about this type of marketing campaign and why it becomes a powerful weapon that every marketer needs to have in their arsenal.

Let’s dive in!

What Is It All About?

It gets its name, user-generated, because of how it comes to inception. By all means, it’s not created by the brand or the business itself, but by really anyone out there other than the brand.

Let’s get more in-depth.

Have you seen your followers on social media posting a picture of them trying a brand and giving their honest opinion about it – and it’s not even an endorsement? For example, a picture from one of the Krakow tours your business is offering?

That’s what we called UGC is. 

Simply put, UGC is any content that has been created and shared by unpaid contributors. More often than not, the contributors are fans of the brand. So, instead of brand bragging and talking about themselves, they have some people who are willing to give them a shout out on their social media account.

In this matter, UGC can be content of any type (and not just images), including videos, blog posts, tweets, testimonials, mentions, and any other type of social media posts.

The Importance of UGC For Businesses

At this point, you must be wondering, “What’s the big deal about user-generated content, and why should I care?”

Before I give you some valid reasons, let’s take a look at these fascinating numbers of the latest UGC statistics:

  • 48% of customers claim that UGC offers them an easy way to discover new products.
  • UGC is 20% more powerful and significant than any other kind of media when it comes to millennial buyers.
  • More than 86% of businesses today use UGC as an integral part of their overall marketing strategy.

From those numbers, it’s easy to see why UGC is so powerful. 

However, to make you even more convinced about the power of UGC, I’ll break down some of the most obvious reasons why this type of marketing is successful and why brands turn to their customers to share their products instead of utilizing their own ads.

Gives an Authentic View of Your Brand

It matters because it gives an authentic view of your brand. When you’re a business yourself, you can easily spread good words about your brand all day. But, if your customers tell others about you, they’ll believe it. Remember that at least 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations online?

By all means, it can help you to get an accurate representation of what you can offer and provide as a brand and business.

Builds Your Community

Your UGC campaigns can bring your customers altogether in one big happy family. It means that they can share emotional connections, too.

Having such a solid community helps you to increase your brand’s online visibility– not only on your website or ecommerce.

Not to mention it can also be the most valuable and genuine source of feedback for your business – so you can seamlessly adapt your marketing strategy to your current customers’ behavior.

Reduce Costs

UGC is all about people talking about your brand. And you don’t pay them. So, it’s obviously cheaper and more effortless than crafting your ads on TV commercials or even Times Square billboards. That can cost you a thousand bucks, if not millions.

In this case, the beauty of UGC is that you can get “free ads” that work even better than the paid ones. Isn’t it great having people promoting your brand, and you don’t have to pay for it? What else could you ask for?

Brands That Have Used UGC for Their Campaigns

Now that you understand what exactly UGC is, it’s time to look at stunning examples to get you more insights. Below are some of the most successful UGC in the marketing industry that you should take note of.

#1. Coca Cola

(image source)

It started in 2011, where the company decided to print out about 150 popular names on the bottle, encouraging the customers to share the coke with their loved ones. 

In no time, the “Share a Coke” campaign became a hit. People start posting photos of them drinking the coke that has their name printed on it with their friends or even strangers.

#2. Starbucks

(image source)

During the Christmas season, Starbucks red cups are a signal that the holiday season is upon us. To celebrate the season and add more holiday cheer, the company created a Red Cup Contest campaign back in 2015, where their customers can design and doodle all over their red cups.

The customers can post or submit their masterpieces through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #RedCupContest. Thus, the company will pick some of the best and give the winners some grand prizes.

#3. Adobe

It might seem quite hard for software companies to do UGC campaigns since their product can’t be displayed or seen in action. But, Adobe nailed it. The company uses the hashtag #Adobe_Perspective to share its customers’ work using their software.

By sharing their creators’ or customers’ posts, they won’t only get free promotional materials but also showcase their customers’ or creators’ talents.

Wrapping Up

The competition in the online store or marketplace is only getting fiercer and fiercer out there. The key to winning it is to stay relevant so you can engage customers better. And it’s not all about working harder for your marketing campaigns – it’s now about working smarter. UGC shows you how to get maximum exposure with less effort and, of course, less cost. 

So, suppose you’re looking for a handy, effective way to build your brand awareness and community, as well as increase your sales. In that case, the UGC strategy is definitely worth considering for your next marketing campaign.

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). 

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