Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, you’ll likely see branded posts from the companies you follow, and personal posts from your friends and family, all within the same space. What kind of posts do you pay the most attention to?
If you’re a company trying to grow your audience and revenue through social media marketing, it’s important to post content that social media users will remember, and content that will positively influence their opinion of your brand.
User-generated content is a powerful way to improve your social media marketing campaigns. Let’s learn about this kind of content and how it can help you grow revenue, online authority, and brand loyalty.
Types of User Generated Content
User-generated content is any type of content that’s created by a brand’s customers, rather than the brand itself.
This kind of content can appear as:
- Online reviews and testimonials.
- Images of people using your product/service.
- Videos of people using your product/service.
- Unsponsored blog posts.
It’s important to note the difference between user-generated content and influencer content. Companies pay influencers to post something positive about their product/service. Legally, influencers have to disclose that they are being paid for the promoted post.
On the other hand, user-generated content is created without any outside influence or payment. User-generated content shows authentic reactions, which can be positive or negative. This kind of content can provide valuable insights into what people love about your company and what they don’t like.
Why User-Generated Content Is Important
It’s important to include user-generated content within your social media strategy for a couple of reasons:
It Builds Authenticity and Trust
User-generated content can build authenticity and trust better than branded posts. Eighty-five percent of consumers say they find UGC more influential than brand-created content, and 90 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
It Provides Social Proof
Social proof can greatly influence purchasing decisions. Eighty-two percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase.. User-generated content is the online version of an in-person recommendation or referral, and can provide the same benefits.
It Strengthens Customer Relationships
By noticing and interacting with followers who have posted about your company, you can show that you care and value their opinions, which can encourage brand loyalty.
How To Grow and Gather User-Generated Content
One of the easiest ways to find user-generated content is by searching for hashtags associated with your business. If none exist, brainstorm hashtags that you can use within your marketing campaigns, and encourage your followers to use these hashtags when they post about your business.
Some brands make this into a contest at first and promise a prize or promotion as a reward for using their promoted hashtags. Over time, these hashtags may be adapted organically.
For example, Whole Foods Market uses the hashtag #wholefoodshaul within its Instagram influencer marketing campaigns, and the hashtag is widely used across the platform organically as well.
Branded hashtags can increase brand awareness among posts shared with family and friends, and are an easy way to source user-generated posts to use within your brand’s social campaigns.
Reviews and Testimonials
Another form of user-generated content is reviews and testimonials about your business. These can live on review platforms, such as Google My Business or Yelp. Sharing positive reviews on your social channels is an easy way to use user-generated content to promote social proof.
A great way to grow to manage online reviews is by using Top Rated Local®, a review platform that monitors and consolidates your online reviews across the most important online directories.
Incorporate User-Generated Content Into Your Social Media Strategy
User-generated content can improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns by promoting trust and increasing authenticity. If you need help coming up with your social media strategy, contact us at Marketing 360® today!