User generated content marketing is white hot in the marketing realm right now, but many professionals are still trying to figure it out. This guide will get anyone started with UGC marketing from creation to implementation.
What Is User Generated Content?
From the name, you can probably guess the basic definition of user generated content. It’s simply a form of content found on the web that normal users had a hand in making. A normal user is basically anyone working outside of a marketing department.
When you have a team of knowledgeable marketing and design professionals on your team, why should you opt for a user generated content marketing plan?
A Few User Generated Content Marketing Statistics…
Frankly, the marketing field is changing and the rise of the Internet is to blame. Users are no longer satisfied with a picturesque ad featuring an idealized setting. Users these days value a more authentic relationship from their brands.
Millennials are turning into the most influential consumer base as they grow into their professional careers. According to Crowdtap statistics from Megan Mars’ blog, millennials believe:
-UGC is 20 percent more influential
-UGC is 35 percent more memorable
-UGC is 50 percent more trustworthy
Additionally, Andre Bourque points out in his blog that millennials spend 30 percent of their media time consuming peer-created content. Bourque also highlights a Forrester study that states:
-Customer reviews strongly affect the purchasing decisions of 70 percent of consumers
-In the US, 14 percent of consumers trust a traditional brand-made ad.
-In the US, 48 percent of consumers trust UGC
In the constantly changing world of marketing, no one can predict what will be effective in ten years. However, these statistics send a clear message:
Today’s smart marketer understands user generated content marketing and uses UGC effectively.
Where Is UGC Found?
When marketers can’t go to their team for the content they need, where do they look? There are two methods to getting UGC:
Ask for it. Give users a fun photo filter or make a contest for best meme. Don’t beg for content, but inspire an environment that controls content creation.
Dig for it. Online, many content sharing communities exist. When photos are needed, start with Flickr or Instagram. When memes or gifs are the rule of the day, try Tumblr and Imgur.
In the world of user generated content marketing, you have to work for your content. Roll up your sleeves and get cozy with your favorite search bars.
Popular Types of UGC
When starting a user generated content marketing strategy, become more familiar with the types of content commonly used:
Pro Tip: Prepare mentally before going into any comment section.
These sections can be filled with plenty of nonsense. However, it is the first place to test the waters of any audience. The comment section is a great way to gage a reaction to a UGC campaign and get inspiration for the next step or plan.
Comments are perfect as an initial step for audience engagement. If you look to YouTube, the most popular content creators frequently end with a fun or important question. They then ask users to respond in the comments.
Plenty of Q&A videos pull questions directly from user comments, which is a great way to drive users to other platforms. For example, a YouTube creator might only field questions from their Instagram account. This serves to drive users toward an account or platform that needs growth.
Reviews and Blog Posts
The Forrester Research study pointed to how important online reviews are. Because reviews are largely unregulated and online reviewers are beholden to their audience, a brand gains credibility with a positive user review. The same uptick in credibility can come as the result of a positive blog post from a powerful online voice.
Photos, Memes and Gifs
If you want to tap into the millennial crowd with your user generated content marketing plan, photos, memes and gifs need to be in your arsenal. Allow users to make fun of the brand a little to showcase good humor. Plus, since nearly every modern phone has a camera, snapping a quick photo with your product is simple and easy.
With video content, keep in mind that either form abides by different ‘expected content’ guidelines:
Short Videos: These are Vines, Twitter and Instagram videos. Typically, these videos aren’t more than 30 seconds, but they are a great chance for a collage of UGC. Many of them are more humorous in nature.
Long Videos: Vlogs and anything beyond the 30-second time frame is usually considered a long video in the Internet world. These videos can be funny, inspirational or something else entirely.
Taking a Look at Successful User Generated Content Marketing Campaigns
These companies understood the importance of user generated content marketing early and have successful campaigns to show for it:
In 2013, Belkin released an iPhone case in conjunction with Lego. The product alone was cool enough, but the user generated content marketing truly capitalized the momentum. Using #LEGOxBelkin, the company encouraged an Instagram trend that essentially did all the marketing legwork for Belkin.
The battle between the cellphone networks has been an especially captivating show. In the past, T-Mobile had a great idea: the breakup letter. Using the Facebook app, T-Mobile launched a custom break up letter feature that could be shared on social media. The campaign came with a promise to pay for the contract cancellation fees. The Valentine’s Day only campaign was an incredible success with 80,000 posts.
The Hallmarks of a Successful User Generated Content Marketing Strategy
Experience is the best instructor for user generated content marketing, but here’s where the campaign should start:
Easy Content Generation
T-Moblie gave users a template and Belkin used a simple Instagram post. When in need of content, make it simple to generate. A quick picture is the obvious go to, but a fun filter can spice it up.
The Right Platform
Social media these days is expansive and every platform has its own unique flavor. What works in a short Twitter message will need some careful reworking for an Instagram photo. Choose your platform wisely. If your Pinterest account isn’t thriving, it might not be the best mine for UGC. Take your audience, your platform, and your reach into account when planning.
User generated content marketing plans should be scalable. If a post gets 1,000 comments, what does the brand do with them? When all the photos with customers and a new product have posted, what’s next? With the comments, pull a page for the YouTube creators’ handbook and do a Q&A. With the photos, why not a heartfelt video showing how the product impacts consumers?
As with any marketing campaign, there always needs to be a next step.
User Generated Content Marketing Toolkit
1. Online Influencers
Every platform has its stars, as does every niche. Get in touch with influential creators and consider a cross promotion deal. Gain the advantage of tapping into an already cultivated following. Plus, these creators have a keen sense of what will work in the UGC realm.
2. Content Control
UGC takes away a great deal of control over the content generated. Initially, this is a daunting pitfall to navigate, but think back to T-Mobile’s example. The company gave users a template for the ‘break up letter.’ Users had the opportunity to personalize, but every post featured the T-Mobile colors, logo and promotional offer. T-Mobile retained a great deal of control over the content and message with some key strategic planning.
3. Content Range
Consumers get bored easily so don’t be boring. Use all the content forms available to craft a dynamic and consistent campaign. Use videos, gifs, photos, reviews and the rest whenever applicable. If you don’t understand a content type, learn more about it instead of skipping over it. In social media, the new and confusing names are often industry leaders a few years down the line.
4. Personalized Interaction
Use the repost, like and comment features on social media platforms. Users want a personal connection with their brand. They also want the 5 minutes of fame that comes with a large or respected company reposting their comment or giving individualized attention. Give your consumers both.
Many products have a dedicated community that can serve as an incredible UGC resource. Users will repost other UGC content regardless of whether the company’s accounts interacted with the post. With a strong community, the brand doesn’t have to do as much legwork.
Consumers despise when their favorite content creator is obviously promoting a product. On the other hand, they praise when their content creator can incorporate a product naturally. Don’t constantly repost UGC every 60 minutes on the dot to get into feeds across all times zones. Regardless of the rigidity of your strategy, the users want it to feel authentic.
Many ad campaigns try to get a laugh. Others focus on pulling heartstrings. In user generated content marketing campaigns, there is plenty of room for both. However, both don’t necessarily fit into one campaign. Define the message and focus of your campaign early to effectively guide your strategy. Also, try tapping into a message your audience wants or craves but isn’t getting elsewhere.
8. New Game, No Rules
User generated content marketing is relatively new and it’s taking the marketing world by storm. When a niche is new, that means there are few, if any, rules. Furthermore, the age of the Internet highly applauds shocking and meaningful innovations. Look for something that hasn’t been done and adopt that strategy. Take advantage of creativity without too many obstacles.
User Generated Content Marketing Takeaways
What are the lessons and takeaways from this user generated content marketing guide?
There is no UGC trick. You get what you put in.
UGC marketing doesn’t have a formula or a solidified playbook. UGC marketers need to focus on creativity and being aware of the trends. Study what’s worked in the past, but don’t focus on content templates or posting strategies. Remember, it’s not the posting or content strategy that is really working with UGC. The connection with the audience is what wins the day. Figure out what the campaign was tapping into and why the audience reacted. In the future, use what you know and dare to try something entirely different. That’s the secret behind UGC.
Get More Value From Your Links, Join Start A Fire Today
At Start A Fire, we are here to help users get value from the links they share. We offer badges that go alongside user content and unique recommendation systems that ensure the content that goes viral is brand-worthy.
See how adding a branded badge to the content you share creates a trustworthy, reputable image for your company today.
Sign up for Start A Fire now and see how we can help.
Latest posts by Jack Collins (see all)
- 15 Pinterest Ideas for Great Social Media Posts - March 6, 2017
- How to Create a Social Media Campaign that Delivers Results - February 6, 2017
- Fascinating Pinterest Marketing Tactics That Can Help Your Business Grow - October 31, 2016