User-generated content (UGC) feels like one of the biggest trends in marketing right now — it's considered the most authentic and trusted form of media available. What does this mean for your brand? That the content your customers post about you online can be your most valuable marketing asset. Wondering how to get started with user-generated content? Pixlee's three simple steps are all you need to revolutionize your business with UGC.
What is UGC?
User-generated content (UGC) is any online content created by users instead of by the brand. By definition, this includes social media posts, reviews, and testimonials.
While it has to be created by users, it is possible to prompt the creation of user-generated content. Ways to do this include creating CTAs on your social posts that mention your brand hashtag or by sending customers well-timed emails asking for reviews after a purchase.
The statistics: Why you need UGC
Some may doubt UGC's impact on their bottom line, but these statistics reiterate its importance:
25% of search engine links to the world's 20 largest brands are to UGC
85% of users find visual UGC to be more influential than brand-made images
64% of Millennials actively seek out UGC and customer reviews before making a purchase
One study even found that UGC was ranked higher in emotional intensity, key message communication, relatability, and importance than professionally produced content
If you're struggling to find an initial pool of UGC related to your brand, don't stress: nearly 70% of all consumers between the ages of 25-54 create content about the brands they love on social media. You just have to know how to nudge these users in the right direction.
#1: Create campaigns to drive UGC creation
If you want users to create UGC, you need to run UGC campaigns. These campaigns are designed purely to increase your pool of UGC to later use across your marketing channels.
To do this, you'll first need to create a branded hashtag, like #LoveLoft or #beagoddess. You'll promote these hashtags everywhere; attach them to all your social posts, post it on your site near all social content, and place it prominently on your social channels. Post Instagram or Facebook updates with the sole purpose of asking for UGC.
Include CTAs for users to create and share their own content, reminding them to share it with your branded hashtag attached. Sometimes specificity here can be helpful since plenty of users actually like to know what types of content you'd like to receive. You can ask them, for example, to post a picture with their favorite flavor of your ice cream and an explanation of why it's the best or to post a photo of themselves doing an inversion in your brand's top-selling yoga pants. Create CTAs that are specific enough for people to act on.
#2: Curate UGC
Once a customer starts posting UGC, you'll need to find it, permission it, share it, and measure its impact.
That's where Pixlee [now Emplifi] comes in.
Pixlee's UGC tools can automatically find and curate content created by users on social media. We can collect it across multiple online channels and pull it into one feed for you to moderate and get photo permission rights. When selecting which customer photos to represent your brand, keep your brand style guide in mind. Try to choose content that is inspirational, educational and that contextualizes your products.
#3: Share UGC everywhere
Once you've curated your UGC, you need to share it everywhere. The more you share your UGC, the greater your brand reach and the higher the likelihood that more customers will post under your brand hashtag. Make sure to credit the original poster to celebrate your customers.
Pixlee helps you to create dynamic galleries of real customer photos for your homepage, product pages, email marketing, and even live displays. We even let brands tag their product SKUs in each customer photo so that marketers can track the exact revenue that each piece of user-generated content brings in.
No matter where you share your UGC, you should always attach a CTA that includes a reminder to "share your experiences with us by using #ourbrandedhashtag!" This will keep the UGC creation cycle in motion, keeping your campaign momentum going.
The UGC examples and statistics above prove that this content is not only beneficial, it's necessary. While it may take a little while to get things moving, once it does, it's easy to keep the momentum going.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.