User generated content: the power of customers

Want unbeatable word-of-mouth marketing? Find out how to use UGC to your advantage.

What is UGC in advertising and how can you harness the power of your customers with your online marketing efforts? Read this guide to delve into the world of UGC and discover how it can transform your brand's online presence.

What is UGC and why is it important?

User-generated content (UGC) means any content created by individuals, usually customers or fans, rather than brands or organisations. It encompasses various forms, including testimonials, reviews, images, videos, blog posts, and social media posts, where customers share their experiences with a product, service, or brand.

UGC is word-of-mouth marketing for the digital age because it allows satisfied customers to become your brand advocates and share their positive experiences with a wider audience. This organic content can be a powerful asset if you’re a business that’s looking to build trust and credibility.

What is an example of user created content?

Think ‘unboxing’ videos on TikTok, or your friend sharing an Instagram selfie of themselves holding a product in order to win a competition.

How do I get UGC for my small business?

Including UGC in your marketing strategy can provide a lot of benefits, which we’ll go into later, but how can you effectively do it?

How to include user generated content in your marketing:

1. Encourage Customer Reviews:

Ask your satisfied customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, or industry-specific review sites. Positive reviews can boost your online reputation and attract new customers.

2. Leverage Social Media:

Create branded hashtags, e.g. #VodafoneVHub, and encourage customers to use them when posting about your products or services. Share user-generated posts on your social media accounts, giving credit to the creators.

3. Run Competitions and Challenges:

Host user-generated content competitions or challenges where customers can submit photos, videos, or stories related to your brand. Offer prizes or recognition to incentivise participation.

4. Feature Customer Testimonials:

Display customer testimonials prominently at the top of your website and marketing materials. Authentic endorsements from real customers can build trust with potential buyers.

5. Collaborate with Influencers:

Are there any social media influencers or micro-influencers in your niche? If so, their followers often trust their opinions and recommendations, so partner with them to create UGC.

6. Create a Community:

Build an online community or forum where customers can share their experiences, ask questions, and interact with your brand. This fosters a sense of belonging and encourages UGC creation.

7. Reward Loyalty:

Create loyalty programs that reward customers for their repeat business and UGC contributions. Discounts, exclusive access, or early product releases can motivate customers to engage.

Benefits of UGC for SMEs and Small Business Owners

Now let's explore the substantial benefits UGC can bring:

1. Brand Awareness:

UGC increases your brand's visibility and reach. When customers share their experiences with your products or services, their friends, family, and followers become exposed to your brand, potentially leading to new customers.

2. 'Free' Content:

UGC serves as a valuable source of free content. Rather than spending resources on creating content from scratch, you can repurpose user-generated content to populate your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials.

3. Authority & Trust Building:

When potential customers see positive UGC, it builds trust and authority around your brand. Hearing recommendations from peers is often more convincing than traditional advertising.

Industry Expert Insight: Neil Patel, a renowned digital marketer, suggests that "your audience would rather hear from your customers instead of you."

4. Engagement and Interaction:

UGC encourages engagement between customers and your brand. When customers participate in creating content, they become more emotionally invested in your brand's success.

5. Cost-Effective Marketing:

UGC is a cost-effective marketing strategy. It minimises advertising costs while maximising the impact of word-of-mouth recommendations.

Fact: A study by Adweek found that user-generated videos on YouTube received 10 times more views than content created and uploaded by the brand.

So, it’s official; user-generated content is a powerful tool that can elevate your brand's online presence and connect with your audience on a deeper level. By actively encouraging and leveraging UGC, you can reap the benefits of increased brand awareness, cost-effective marketing, and enhanced trust among your customers and target audiences. So, don't miss out on the opportunity to harness the power of your customers and let their authentic voices amplify your brand's message.

If you need help with marketing or any other aspect of your business, get 1-2-1 support by speaking to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisers.

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