Have you posted your delicious meal from a restaurant on your Instagram story? Or have you made a TikTok video showing off your new car? Well whether you knew it or not, these are both examples of user-generated content (UGC).
Most people know, content is everything when you are trying to reach your target audience. The position of where your account or website appears in a search engine relies heavily on the content you are publishing. However, content is not just created by site owners, but can be by any regular user.
Here we will break down what user-generated content is, how it can benefit search engine optimization and tips for using it:
What is user-generated content (UGC)?
User-generated content is all original content created by customers and published on their social media platforms or other channels. The content can be images, videos, reviews, podcasts, or testimonials. UGC can be easily distinguished from traditional content such as tv, radio, and newspapers that are created by professionals. It is important to understand that UGC can be published by anyone, therefore, not everyone is an expert in what they are sharing.
Where does UGC come from?
In recent years the use of ‘social media influencers’ have become more and more popular and valuable to businesses. Why is that? Well, potential clients want to hear the opinions of customers using the product or service. UGC can be created by people who were asked by the business to share their product or service experience.
For example, Under Armour will pay and ask Tom Brady to endorse their products on his social media because they know he has a large following. It is even better for businesses when people create UGC organically because they genuinely use and benefit from your brand.
These are people who are enthusiastic about your company and are constantly advocating for your brand. These loyal customers are passionate about your brand so it is important to get UGC content from them. This audience segment can create beneficial UGC content through reviews or testimonials. Often when you ask loyal customers to create UGC they are willing and eager to promote your business because they understand the benefits.
UGC from employees truly shows the personality and clear value of the business. For example, this content can be videos of employees working together or a team member sharing why they enjoy working for your company. The behind-the-scenes content puts an identity to the business and dives into the authenticity of your business.
Why Is UGC Important For Your Business?
It showcases authenticity on a new level.
Since every business is marketing its brand on social media and other platforms it is important to stick out to the consumers. Businesses must grab the attention of their customers before their competition does. With access to so many different businesses from your phone, buyers are more selective than ever. People can see right through a company that is fake and not authentic its published content. No other content is more authentic than UGC because it comes from customers, loyal clients, and employees. UGC is a new form of word-of-mouth marketing and purchasing decisions ultimately come down to trusting what others are saying about the business.
UGC gives customers a unique opportunity to be a part of the brand’s growth. They say people love to be a part of something greater than themselves, and creating UGC allows them to have a role in the business’s growth. UGC also increases interaction between customers and the business which helps grow engagement. Overall, this drives more brand loyalty because customers feel like they are truly a member of the brand.
Builds customer trust.
Before making a purchasing decision do you listen to others’ recommendations or look for customer reviews? Yes, because people struggle to fully trust everything they see online, therefore, businesses need to work harder to establish themselves as a reliable company. If the customer is hesitant to trust a business, they probably are more willing to trust the customer's created content. That is why UGC has a major impact on customers’ purchasing decisions because it is basically a personal recommendation.
UGC connects with social commerce.
Platforms have helped the e-commerce industry grow by allowing users to directly engage with a product or service simply by tapping on the content. Social media platforms allow businesses and customers to directly add links and websites to their content so users can immediately find out more information just by tapping on the UGC published. This not only increases engagement but drives conversions for the business.
Tips for UGC
Credit the original creator. Always give credit where credit is due. This not only is respectful to the content creator but ensures that they will continually create content and positively promote your business. This verifies that the UGC was truly original and authentic.
Monitor comments. When posting any type of content that allows anyone to comment it is important to monitor the comments. Make sure you are deleting spam and bot comments, especially ones that can be offensive to others.
Consistently check and respond to reviews. Both negative and positive customer reviews should be acknowledged. People like to know that their opinion matters and that the business cares what they have to say. This builds relationships with the clients and shows unhappy customers that you value their opinion.