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What Is User-Generated Marketing and How Can Your Business Implement It?

4 Mins read
  • User-generated content should be a core component of your marketing strategy for 2021.

User-generated content is very important in modern marketing. What is user generated content, though? And why is it so important?

Role of User-Generated Content

With so many marketing strategies to choose from, picking the right one for your business can be an overwhelming task. As you think ahead to your 2021 marketing plan, don’t overlook the budget-friendly and effective option that scores of industry experts swear by: user-generated marketing. If you’re ready to put your customers at the very center of your strategy, then user-generated marketing needs to be part of your plan.

Brands and businesses only sharing content they’ve produced themselves is so 2020. In a user-generated marketing strategy, brands and businesses share a curated selection of content that real people have made about their products and services. This strategy resonates with consumers because it’s seen as more personable and honest.

What is User-Generated Content?

Apps are used on a number of social media sites that enable us to share between loyal customers and the brands they love easier than ever. The open line of communication has helped boost the popularity of user-generated marketing, but many businesses have yet to implement this powerful strategy. If your business sees the value in letting the customer do the talking and connecting with your target audience through a more authentic approach, it’s time to dive deeper and see what user-generated marketing is all about and why it is effective.

What Is User-Generated Marketing?

If up until now, you’ve relied on traditional marketing techniques, the idea of handing over promotion to the customers themselves might be throwing you for a loop. Even if you’re familiar with how to use content marketing for your business, you might still be unsure of how customers can play a role as creators. Before you can see how your business can implement user-generated marketing, you need to understand what exactly this strategy entails. Spoiler alert: it really is as simple as it sounds.

Historically, brands and businesses devote an abundance of resources to marketing their products and services. User-generated marketing flips the script and shines the spotlight on content that real people have created. From pretty flatlays on Instagram to detailed YouTube reviews, customers love your business so much that they are inspired to create content about it to share with the world. User-generated marketing takes that content and repurposes it for your business goals.

Businesses of all sizes and industries can benefit from prioritizing user-generated content (UGC) in their marketing strategies. On its most basic level, incorporating UGC will help to lighten your content creation load, which is good news for smaller organizations who need to focus on other aspects of their businesses. Other benefits of implementing user-generated marketing include increased authenticity and more sales. The pathway to these benefits will become clear once you examine why user-generated marketing works.

Why User-Generated Marketing Works

Today, consumers are constantly inundated with marketing messages. Younger generations who grew up with the internet are particularly wary of traditional marketing efforts. Unlike the artificial or manufactured marketing messages that Generation Z and other savvy consumers can spot from a mile away, user-generated marketing is viewed as more authentic.

In fact, according to a 2019 Stackla survey, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to the content brands create themselves. User-generated marketing works because it boosts credibility, and consumers are more likely to buy from a business that they trust. The Stackla survey found that nearly 80% of respondents said UGC has a high impact on whether or not they ultimately buy.

Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and imagine you’re weighing a purchasing decision. Who would you rather hear from? The business that will directly benefit if you decide to buy or a real customer who once stood exactly where you are now and is just sharing their honest opinion? It won’t come as a surprise that potential customers are more likely to connect with a real person.

User-generated marketing is successful because it capitalizes on consumers’ love for word-of-mouth recommendations. Some in your target audience will take your word that your product or service will impact their lives, but many more will believe it once they see genuine customers benefiting from it in UGC. The effects are even greater when the user generating the content is a trusted influencer with a loyal following of their own.

How Your Business Can Implement User-Generated Marketing

With a clear understanding of what user-generated marketing is and how it works, you can now make a plan to implement it in your own business. The best and easiest place to get started with user-generated marketing is incorporating it into your social media strategy. On Instagram, hashtags and tagging make it simple to find the content customers are creating about your products and services. After getting permission from the original creator, you can repost photos and videos to your grid. Another option is to share UGC to your Instagram Stories.

Depending on the size of your business, there may already be UGC that you can make a part of your marketing strategy. You’ll want to spend time consciously building a content library and curating the UGC to find images, text, videos, and reviews that align with your marketing message. What’s great about user-generated marketing is that it’s a form of content marketing. Either it can co-exist with your current content marketing strategy or take the lead as your business’s exclusive form of content marketing. Just about anywhere you’d promote your content is a chance to share UGC instead. Think social media channels, your website, and email campaigns.

To increase your chances of having relevant UGC to share that aligns with your marketing message, you should establish a campaign to encourage loyal customers to create content about your products and services. You should approach them with a clear ask for the type of content you’re most likely to share.

One way to make the kind of content you’re looking for clear is creating a branded hashtag and promoting its use. You could also run contests to get more exposure and spur your followers to create more user-generated content. When you decide to share a piece of content on your own platforms, be sure to get permission and properly credit the creator. Not only does this help to avoid copyright issues, but it’s proof to your audience that the content is user-generated and, therefore, authentic.

With a quick search on Instagram, your business can begin implementing user-generated marketing today. When used in combination with your own branded content, UGC can boost credibility, build trust, and drive sales. User-generated marketing is the answer to how to connect with today’s savvy consumers without making more work for yourself. In 2021, you can utilize this budget-friendly and effective marketing strategy to showcase your business’s authenticity and connect with your audience on a deeper level.

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About author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn. 
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