In Internet Marketing, Social Media, Tech Trends

Both time and business trends move at lightning speed, and businesses large and small must keep pace if they are going to be successful. The current rage in social media is User Generated Content (UGC), and we’ve discussed this in recent blogs. But it bears repeating, especially in regards to how it can be leveraged for small businesses. So let’s take a closer look!  

What Exactly is User Generated Content in Marketing?

As the term indicates, UGC is social media content created by customers of specific brands in support of that brand, that they share on social platforms. Of course other users will see this content and it can act as marketing in its own right, but many businesses will share it and leverage it as free marketing. 

The content itself can be a number of things, including still photos or videos, as well as first-hand testimonials or reviews. The fact that it comes directly from real customers makes it completely authentic, which we have often said is the biggest goal when it comes to any business’s marketing. Authenticity speaks volumes to potential customers, so UGC can be the best marketing tool for any business.

Benefits and Disadvantages of User Generated Content

No matter how you approach digital marketing, there are always benefits and disadvantages with any strategy. The benefits of using UGC include social proof of the product’s usefulness, trust building among potential customers, easy curation of content, and increased customer engagement. All of these benefits speak to the authority of the brand, and it doesn’t hurt that it doesn’t cost the business extra budget. 

The biggest disadvantage is the fact that the business cannot control the content itself, nor rely on the provider of the content. If the content is negative in any way to the brand, it is very hard for the business to prevent harm or misinformation being spread about the brand. The best way to deal with this is to have a strategy ready which should include respectful and timely responses, and encouraging customers to share their satisfied experiences to counteract the content.

User Generated Content Marketing Examples

As we’ve mentioned, there are a few types of UGC that businesses can incorporate into their marketing strategies. From still images to videos, and user reviews and testimonials to blog posts, anything created outside of the company can be considered UGC. Businesses can take this content and embed it into their own social platforms and websites, encouraging others to create more, and therefore creating a cycle of UGC that supplements the marketing work of the business. But the big question you should be asking is, how do you even begin to get UGC?

How to Get User Generated Content

Of course you can’t incorporate UGC if no one is creating it, so you need to entice your user base to get involved. An easy way to start is to encourage user reviews and testimonials, making sure that users know to properly include the business’s handle and appropriate hashtags. Speaking of hashtags, a fun way to get UGC is to start a branded hashtag campaign – Apple used a #ShotOniPhone campaign where followers could show off their videography skills with content shot on an iPhone. After a few years, they are just shy of 30 million tags just on Instagram!

A more old-school way is to incentivize the campaign, offering discounts or recognition to those who get involved. Featuring the content on social platforms or even within product pages can take UGC to the next level! Something to keep in mind is that while Influencers technically create UGC, UGC is not Influencer Marketing. Influencer Marketing is an agreed upon contract between the brand or business and the influencer, while UGC from customers or followers is a good-faith agreement where the goal is to collect content for perks or simply having their content featured. 

If your small business is interested in involving UGC within its marketing strategy, contact Blink;Tech today! As your Tech Partner, we are here to help you succeed!

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