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How Small Businesses Can Capitalize On User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) is unique content made by customers specifically for a business and shared on social media or through other channels. UGC can take on many different forms, such as pictures, videos, reviews, or even a podcast.


UGC marketing relies on clients to produce content and generate buzz. So, this form of marketing is centered upon the target demographic interested in your brand. UGC is typically sustained by those who follow your business in contrast to traditional marketing, which assists in minimizing the unnaturalness of brand marketing showcases. Instead, UGC provides your brand with a more approachable content element, which can lead to the attraction of new customers and brand familiarity.


Hiring an influencer can typically cost a ton, while the average cost of asking your customers to share photos of themselves enjoying your product on social media is close to none at all. Connect with those who are most important to your business, your audience. The majority will be thrilled to be highlighted on your brand's public platform.


UGC is less expensive and easier to manage for smaller brands or those just getting started rather than investing in larger-scale brand awareness campaigns.


Social media is an influential method that unlocks access to new customers, a simple way to gain a rewarding outcome. Creating a personalized hashtag for your brand is one of the simplest techniques to start on your user-generated content path.

A wonderful example of a UGC marketing strategy was Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” social media campaign. This Coca-Cola campaign encouraged customers to purchase bottles of Coke with their names on them and promote the sharing of bottles that relate to friends, family members, or just about anyone. The Coca-Cola hashtag #ShareACoke became the No.1 trending topic in the world and heightened consumption from 1.7 billion to 1.9 billion a day.

Hashtags are a great way for consumers to post UGC in one outlet. La Croix, a sparkling water company, used the hashtag #LiveLaCroix to collect user-generated content on their social media channels. La Croix shares material created by anyone, regardless of their number of followers.

Audiences will see themselves mirrored in these photographs rather than brand spokespeople or ardent creators with more followers. This makes their user-generated content extremely relatable. That's why it is very important when prioritizing UGC to show your customers that anyone is capable of having their content highlighted. It may sometimes be discouraging to followers if they only see the content of famous influencers being highlighted or reposted.


UGC serves as real-world social proof that your product is worthwhile to purchase. For instance, when they see people who resemble them using or utilizing your product, your audience may be more likely to make a purchase.


Brands may include UGC photographs in an email sent to a customer who has abandoned their shopping cart to encourage them to buy something, or you could incorporate user-generated content into important landing pages to boost conversion rates.


A great way to create UGC is to ask your customers, social media followers, or email subscribers personal questions. For example, “How has our product impacted your life,” “How have you enjoyed using our product or service” or “Would you consider recommending a product or service to a friend or family member?”


Online shopping and UGC complement each other well, too, since over 80% of users agree that UGC influences their purchasing choice– especially during the last phases of the buyer's journey when you are trying to convert an audience and persuade them to make a purchase.


Online reviews are another great form of UGC. According to Inc.com, over 91% of consumers read internet evaluations on a regular basis, and 84% trust those online reviews as much as they would a personal suggestion.


This valuable user-generated material can persuade purchasers more effectively than any marketing. You can leverage this valuable content by incentivizing your consumers to submit product evaluations with incentives such as gift card giveaways and discounts on future purchases.


You don’t want it to seem your reviews are inauthentic, though, so it is important not to conceal negative reviews from the public. Instead, use negative feedback as educational criticism to better develop and change your brand's product or service.


Interviewing specialists within your brand's field is another simple UGC technique to produce content, gain industry knowledge, and inform your current and potential customers. Most of this kind of UGC is delivered by the individual being interviewed. So, the brand’s main responsibility entails creating the video of the interview, recording it as a podcast, and, if desired, writing up a transcript of your interview.

But, be sure to confirm that the expert you choose to interview is someone your audience will view as interesting and will respect overall. Selecting an underqualified “expert” can backfire– leading to disapproval, negative attention, and the potential spread of misinformation.

TikTok features allow your customers to contribute to the story of your brand as well. Features such as the stitch and duet allow users to collaborate on content creation with fans.

A TikTok study on BM Collagen found that “The brand encouraged followers to take videos of themselves opening and using BM Collagen’s beauty supplements. This gave users a personal stake in the brand and created memorable experiences worthy of being passed from consumer to consumer.”


BM Collagen also used these video components in an ad campaign and noticed that, within two months, “sales grew by almost 200%.” The ad also attracted over 361,000 clicks and 57 million impressions.

Finally, if your company’s main goal is to improve website conversions with your campaign, a great method is to add UGC in various regions on your website. Power Reviews investigated the value of UGC by looking at 1.5 million product pages and over 1,200 retailer and brand websites. The study identified “an 8.5% increase in conversion among visitors who are served up some form of UGC on product pages.”


A helpful tip from Tracy Ring mentioned on Jessica Thiefels Consulting's blog was to perform "a quick Google search of your company or product name and see if it comes up anywhere else." This is a great way to find reviews of your brand, mentions, and other posts. Setting up a Google Alert for your brand is an additional step you can take to ensure you never miss out on quality UGC.

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