We can all appreciate the world around us changes in the blink of an eye, especially as marketers! We’re here to lend a hand to those looking to get to grips with user-generated content. Here’s a little rundown of what we’ll focus on:

  • What is user-generated content?
  • Who creates user-generated content?
  • How can user-generated content be used in marketing?
  • Is user-generated content credible?

What Is User-Generated Content?

Simply put, user-generated content (also referred to as UGC) is any form of content produced by the audience of a specific brand rather than being created by the brand itself. For example, an individual who documents their experience of a product/service is user-generated content. This can take shape in the form of leaving online reviews, ‘how to use video tutorials, unboxing videos, contributing to wiki pages, tagging pictures on Instagram, and even writing blogs!  The endless list goes on. So, remember, the next time you write a review on Deliveroo or tag Converse in your latest shopping spree, you’re contributing to user-generated content.

Who Creates User-Generated Content?

Well, the user! On the surface, this seems like a no-brainer as the answer is in the title. But it’s worth segmenting (posh word for grouping) the users who are most likely to contribute towards UGC.

Here’s who we’ve boiled it down to:

Users

Most times, user-generated content is created by your average Joe and posted online on their preferred platform. But who are these people? Businesswire identified our ‘average Joe’ as Gen X, Gen Z, and Millennials as being the most active generations when it contributes to UGC. They’re your best bet when it comes to sourcing UGC for your marketing tactics.

Brand Fanatics

We’ve all seen the queues outside the Apple store when a new iPhone gets released. These loyal customers are usually super excited to be some of the first to get their hands on new products. A high percentage of individuals within this group are likely to share their experience by creating content around ‘first impressions’, unboxing, or expectations vs reality. Dedicated fans are a source of great UGC as they’ll have more brand knowledge and insight than the average Joe, but they might also have a biased view depending on how die-hard they are.

Team Members

Ever heard of EGC? No typos here, we’re talking to Employee generated content. Customers love transparency, and what could be more transparent than allowing your audience an insider view? Offering an all-accesses backstage pass to your brand, product or service gives your audience the transparency needed to create a stronger bond. The human factor plays a huge role within marketing, and with an insider, perspective brands are less distant and more relatable. Imagine how Charlie must have felt when he won the golden ticket…

Employee-generated content also has a subtle psychological influence on the consumer.  Being empathetic is part of being human and we automatically relate to people who we share similar experiences. Because of this, we’re likely to purchase from a company that holds strong values and treats its employees well. People feel good when doing good and purchasing from a brand that cares for its employees, makes us feel good too.

How Can User-Generated Content Be Used In Marketing?

When it comes to advertising, marketing is known to show new products through rose-tinted glasses. It bigs up a product’s USPs (unique selling propositions) to attract the consumer’s attention, convince them that the product/service is worth buying, and will satisfy their need.

Paid marketing campaigns shy away from mentioning anything which could damage a consumer’s perception of the brand and interrupt their buying decision. This is why advertising is often taken with a pinch of salt. It’s no wonder consumers are less likely to pay attention to paid advertising efforts. A brilliant example of this: fast-food burgers images vs what you get!

By including user-generated content in your advertising, you give your consumers a genuine unpolished window into your brand, products, or services. It provides a no-frills style of marketing, which helps to present your brand in an authentic light. People value honesty and transparency, by including both UGC and EGC into your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to connect with your audiences on a deeper level.

Think about at what touchpoints would it be useful to include UGC and EGC, potentially in your social content? Product page? Email campaign? The choice is yours!

Is User-Generated Content Credible?

Yes! UGC retains its authenticity much like word of mouth. When a recommendation comes our way from a friend or family member, we are more likely to pursue these recommendations over advertisements.

84% of consumers trust word of mouth over advertisements. Why? Simply because the individual doesn’t benefit from sharing their experience (they weren’t paid to advertise). For example, remember a time when you’ve suggested a restaurant, you weren’t paid by the company to promote them, but you did because you enjoyed food/service. This honesty is valuable for brands, products, and services as it’s the purest form of promotion. Not to mention it’s cost-effective.

User-generated Content Takeaways

We all love takeaways, so here are our key points briefly summed up:

  • UGC is any content created by the product/service user
  • Gen X, Gen Z, and Millennials are most likely to create UGC
  • Both user-generated content and employee-generated content promote brand transparency, brand relatability and deepens the connection with your audiences
  • Both UGC and EGC can be used throughout the customer journey at various touchpoints
  • UGC is a cost-effective way to help portray authenticity and credibility

Until next time

We hope you’ve found this useful. If there is any topic you’d like to learn more about or if you need help with your marketing, give Famous Wolf a howl.