AS BRANDS CONTINUE TO NAVIGATE THE CONSTANTLY CHANGING WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA, IT IS IMPORTANT TO UTILIZE CONTENT THAT BREAKS THROUGH THE BARRIER OF ADVERTISEMENT OVERSATURATION.
Incorporating user generated content (UGC) into a brand’s social media strategy creates a new opportunity to spark interest with the target audience and foster a like-minded community. As its name implies, UGC is provided by a brand’s consumers. This content includes photos, videos, hashtags, reviews and more. The importance of social media marketing continues to grow and transform. Read below for four reasons why brands should utilize UGC as a social media marketing strategy.
1. UGC Provides Creative Opportunities to Encourage Content
UGC allows brands to not only view its audience as customers but also as co-creators. However, this audience must be provided an incentive to encourage content production. Brands must understand the importance of developing a social voice and nurturing a collaborative community. The routes a brand can take to generate UGC are endless. Brands can create a dedicated hashtag for followers to use or adding the call to action in its social bio. Brands can also incorporate the UGC campaign in brand packaging, utilizing email support, or providing social incentives like giveaways. Once a brand identifies its social voice and goals for UGC content, creative opportunities appear to properly engage with the audience.
For example, Kirkland’s encourages its followers to share their #kirklandsfinds by posting photos of how they decorated their home with Kirkland’s items.
2. UGC Increases Social Engagement
In a world of complicated algorithms, figuring out what type of content resonates with a specific audience can be crucial to success. A Comcore study identified that brand engagement increased an average of 28% when social media strategy included both user-generated visuals and professional content. Finding the proper balance between these types of content allows an audience to gain a better understanding of the brand and provide new opportunities for engagement.
For example, Edley’s Bar-B-Que emphasizes the use of UGC because this type of content provides the opportunity to reach new audiences by tagging the creator of the photo. Additionally, incorporating UGC into social media plans helps a brand stretch out the lifespan of professional content.
3. Trustworthy Content Influences Purchasing Decisions
Social media platforms have generated a negative reputation due to the overwhelming amounts of targeted advertisements. Because of this, 92% of customers trust authentic UGC more than traditional advertising, according to Nielsen. While building trust is an important part of brand strategy, a brand must capitalize on this trust to generate revenue. According to PR Newswire, 90% of U.S. shoppers say UGC is the most influential aspect of their purchasing decisions. By properly utilizing low-cost UGC and supporting it with product tags or links, brands can increase social media sales conversions.
The connection between UGC and purchasing behaviors can be further examined outside of the social media scope. According to Salesforce, email click-through rates increase by 73% when UGC is included, and website visitors spend 90% more time on the site when UGC galleries are available.
4. UGC Builds Community
A social media relationship between a brand and consumer should be a two-way conversation. This helps give consumers a voice. By utilizing UGC in social media strategy, the audience understands that a brand values consumer opinions. Additionally, UGC supports the authenticity and credibility of a brand. It promotes the brand-consumer relationship, instead of only promoting a transaction.
For example, Camping With Dogs solely relies on UGC by only posting content provided by the strong community of people who love the outdoors and their pets.
By properly understanding the target audience, UGC can bridge the gap between brand and consumer and help build a unique community.