How User-Generated Content Can Help Your Content Strategy

Team TypeStack
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Day in and day out, we are generating heavy volumes of content on the internet. From a photo of the recently purchased clothes that you upload on your social media profiles to a video of unboxing a new gadget, everything that you post on the internet becomes a new type of content. Even a random social media post that you write on any of your profiles is a form of online content. Yet, many fail to understand precisely what is user-generated content. Also, marketers would want to understand how to use user-generated content.

What is user generated content?

User generated content (also called UGC or consumer-generated content) is original content specific to a brand. It is created by consumers and brand loyalists and posted on social media handles or other online channels. It can be anything and not necessarily some written content. A random video concerning the brand can be described as user generated content. Similarly, images, reviews, podcasts, and testimonials are also a form of user generated content. 

What is consumer generated marketing?

Closely related to user generated content is the idea of consumer generated marketing. This is a marketing strategy that focuses on utilizing user generated content to promote and market the brand, and its products.

Positive product reviews, videos, podcasts, social media posts, articles, blogs, photo-tagging, and other such activities are used by marketers to create a positive perception of the brand in question. Such content for brand promotion can either be generated by the users voluntarily or the brand can invite customers to generate such content.

Advantages and Disadvantages of user generated content

Advantages

  • Better SEO
    Positive reviews naturally improve your SEO rankings. Thereby helping you appear higher in search engine results and ultimately improving your click-through rates on Google Ads.
  • Builds trust
    New customers may not trust brand-generated content but they will certainly trust what existing users are saying. UGC can thus produce a higher conversion rate. 
  • Improves online relevance
    Every brand wants to be recognized on the internet, and this can be done by staying trendy in the virtual world. UGC does help a brand stay alive and relevant through popularity on social media and other online outlets. 
  • Low marketing costs
    Conventional marketing can be expensive because one incurs costs in generating and publishing online content. However, UGC is mostly generated without any initiative or financial expense. All that has to be done is to utilize the already generated content.
  • Higher brand visibility and organic growth
    Imagine there was no user generated content! In such a world, your customers and brand loyalists wouldn't even have the chance of praising your products. The word of mouth would have, of course, helped your brand but it was never such a strong marketing tool. However, with piles of user generated content, you can always aim for higher brand visibility and organic growth on the internet.
  • Improved brand credibility
    No matter what a brand says about itself, it doesn't enjoy much credibility unless those using it vouch for its utility. Positive product reviews can therefore enhance brand credibility. 
  • Beneficial to customers
    User generated content is helpful not only for businesses but also for customers. Customers are often confused as to which brand they should look forward to. Product quality and customer service are always the kinds of issues that consumers often face. However, user generated content can help resolve all doubts related to these issues. 

Disadvantages

  • Low autonomy
    This is perhaps the biggest disadvantage with user generated content. When you are producing your own content as a brand, you can decide what to write and what to avoid. However, you have little control over user generated content. There can always be an adverse remark hampering your brand’s image. Moreover, you cannot always trust the existing consumers with disclosing each and every piece of information related to your product/service.
  • Monitoring issues
    Brand-generated content is easy to manage. You just have to generate and publish the content. However, user generated content isn't as easy to manage. You have to constantly look for positive reviews and feedback, and also remain aware of the bad feedback. So, a brand should respond to negative reviews at all possible times and get into damage control mode as and when needed.
  • Managing the online chatter
    The internet is a fast-changing space. You never know where a discussion will lead you and how it will affect your brand's image. So, while you react quickly to negative comments, you still need to ensure that you don't make a hasty marketing decision. Remember, an apology or a stubborn reply can always lead to further negative remarks. Therefore, you will always need a pre-defined marketing strategy for emergency situations. 

Types of user generated content 

User generated content comes in many forms and types, and you just have to identify it. For your convenience, we can consider the following types-

  1. Videos 
  2. Social media posts, updates, and status postings. 
  3. Product reviews 
  4. Live streams 
  5. Blog posts 
  6. YouTube videos, reels, and other content.

Examples of user generated content 

Over the years, several brands have successfully utilized user generated content in their marketing strategy. Here are some examples of user generated content.

GoPro

The video equipment company has a vibrant YouTube channel that utilizes content posted by GoPro users. The top 3 videos on the channel were filmed by the brand's actual users.

LuLuLemon

The Canadian brand is popular for the expensive leggings and yoga clothing that it prepares. It targeted consumers by asking followers and brand loyalists to share photos of themselves while using LuluLemon garments with #thesweatlife. This helped improve their brand's visibility and also led to organic growth on social media.

La Croix

This brand has taken user generated content marketing to another level. It uses #LiveLaCroix to hunt for UGC on the internet. However, it doesn't totally rely on influencers and popular social media users. It shares content produced by any user, no matter what the follower count is. This ensures high organic growth without missing out on any opportunity to expand the brand visibility.

How to use user-generated content?

Remember, user generated content is a reality in an internet-led world. You have to know how to make optimum use of this kind of content, without moving in the wrong direction. Here are some tips on how to use user generated content:

Look for permission 

Try not to use a user's content without permission. This is ethically wrong and legally questionable. Always seek permission before posting content on social media or other platforms. Moreover, when you post someone's content without permission that could easily affect your goodwill or lead to copyright issues.

Credit the originator 

When you acknowledge the creator's innovation, skill and intelligence, you instantly create a bond that can prove useful. The originator could feel obliged to produce more such content and help your marketing strategy. This is how you can also create a pool of loyalists who would further help uplift your marketing strategy.

Tell users what you are looking for 

A clear hashtag or a set of instructions will excite the users to create and share content relating to your brand. It will also ensure that the users don't end up getting confused and avoiding the exercise. Moreover, a successful hashtag can always take the form of an internet or social media trend and popularize your brand. Given the kind of craze social media often creates, you never know when you end up striking a goldmine and get an unprecedented boost in terms of brand value.

Strategize and set long-term goals

Marketing is a game of strategy. When it comes to something as organic as user generated content, the strategy matters even more. So, you will always need a pre-defined strategy for leveraging social media and other forms of user generated content. Moreover, you need to set specific, long-term goals that you are trying to achieve. Accordingly, you can decide what kind of content you will post online and how you will promote it on different online platforms. 

User generated content is here to stay given the dramatic growth of the internet. It will only become more and more important as a marketing tool and therefore using user generated content is an art that every brand should look to master. 

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