4 Ways to Generate User-Generated Content (UGC) to Market Your Business

Contributed content / By George Mathew / 25 February 2020

User-generated content (UGC) is content that normal consumers create and distribute. Learn how this effective, grassroots marketing effort can help your business.

What’s UGC? It stands for user-generated content. UGC helps you drive more traffic, creating more trust and growing your brand.

Broadly, user-generated content refers to any content that regular people create around a brand. People trust user-generated content way more than they trust brand created content. In this post, I’ll discuss ways in which you can generate UGC for your brand.

1. Use UGC to Create Content

UGC videos get 10 times more views than brand-generated videos on YouTube. More than half of customers (52%) of customers say that user-generated product videos make them more confident in their purchase.

People like stories. And, if you use video to tell these stories, so much the better. It’s possible to tell a compelling story in your social media posts. Make sure you provide a unique angle for your unique situation.

If you’re a marketing agency, you may want to pitch a story of your employees or client success stories. Some agencies love to use their employees as UGC in their posts. This way they showcase the human side of their brand.

But, people tend to share stories on social media they can relate with. It’s the same for any brand. Employee stories may help. They exhibit the brand’s human side. But those images or videos won’t make a strong enough case.

UGC Content Belongs on Social Media

Imagine that you’re in the life coaching business. You may want to share a story of a successful student. This can be in the form of a testimonial video. This technique lets you create content end users can relate with. This makes it more likely for them to share a story like this in social media.

Alternatively, you can offer a reward to users so that they create more content. A coupon code that gets them a discount in lieu of a testimonial or a review works. Users will most likely choose this route over any other one. Such testimonials can work in any niche.

For example, LifeLock asks its users for testimonials where they share their experience with LifeLock.

lifelock review

Another way to do this is to ask customers to create a video using your product. Then upload that to YouTube. LifeLock uploads all videos to YouTube. Uploading content to YouTube gets the content before more people.

This is a great way to generate social proof and generate social shares.  It’s also important to note that you should be very careful with content-rich social media posts. Separate yourselves from the process. Let your users be creative and share interesting content.

If this doesn’t work, you can use a form like the one below for getting textual testimonials.

submit your testimonialSource

Then reach out to customers who left long testimonials. Ask them if they’re open to do a video testimonial with you.

Testimonials aren’t the only way.

Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign encouraged its customers to take photos on their iPhone in low light conditions. The team curated all the low-light shots and posted it to YouTube under the campaign “Shot on iPhone."

shot on iphone

This helped customers regain their faith in the brand and feel part of the bigger community.

The hashtag #ShotOnIphone has 10 million posts on Instagram.

#shotoniPhoneSource

Apple’s campaign was a direct result of lots of users posting negative feedback on iPhone’s picture taking abilities. The campaign restored faith.  UGC showcases a product’s value. It’s the first step to finding a brand’s products. In this case, UGC is the visual (real) proof that the product is the best they can buy. That’s how you can use UGC in your inbound marketing strategy.

2. Make UGC a Game

Turn the creation of UGC into a game. This way, you will see sustained customer interest. Here’s an example anyone can follow and apply it to their own sites:

iSeeMe is a manufacturer of kid’s books and personalized gift boxes. In a bid to encourage UGC, the site incentivizes customers to share the story of their purchase. A popup asks them to share why they bought the product. This pop-up appears right after they buy a product.

The reward? A 20% discount on the next order. Here’s the kind of pop up form the site collects feedback through.

order discount

Next, the team grabs all positive comments. These reviews are displayed on product pages.

positive user reviews

The product page has a call to action button that says “Read all Reviews,” inviting visitors to go through reviews. All of these reviews come from real people and build trust.

Gamifying UGC makes it fun for customers to create. This ensures participation.

3. Tie UGC to Loyalty Programs

Encourage users to generate content to win points.

For example, Tarte Cosmetics launched its loyalty program in September 2017. The program has a dual focus: One rewards loyal customers. The second rewards behavior that shows high engagement with the brand.

Loyal customers get rewards for seemingly simple things such as opening promo emails, writing product reviews, reading content, taking a selfie with Tarte products and other small actions.

tie ugc to loyalty programs

For Tarte, all these actions indicate brand engagement.

By rewarding these actions, Tarte cleverly tied in the UGC component to its program. As people take selfies, write reviews, and share those reviews they create free content for Tarte. It’s word-of-mouth marketing for the brand.

The above example may have given you some ideas. Nonetheless, here’s the step-by-step process to integrate UGC into loyalty programs. Most customers are happy to leave reviews.

Offering some sort of reward acts as a motivation booster for them. Strategically combine these processes to achieve your goals.

Use a loyalty software that allows you to integrate UGC. The software should have many capabilities, including:

  • Identifying and isolating foul language.
  • Eliminating reviews with obvious signs of spam.
  • Assigning human agents to sift through the content.
  • Approving posts for points only after these checks.
  • Identifying brand advocates. You’ll identify a set of customers who show high activity. You can explore additional opportunities for collaborating with them.
  • Ensuring that customers understand the programs With a free graph maker you can chart out benefits and features. Compare and contrast different loyalty levels and benefits.

Tie everyday tasks to your loyalty program. In this manner you can generate lots of UGC.

4. Send Thank You Cards

Your customers create UGC when they feel special. If you send them a handwritten note after they make a purchase, it  can go a long way in fostering the connection. Here’s an example where D&D Texas Outfitters sent thank you cards to its customers.

d&d handwritten note

How does a business best write notes to their customers?

  1. Personalize: The letter is handwritten. That’s a lot of personalization baked in. The letter starts with the name of the customer.
  2. Tell them why you’re writing: Mention why you wrote this letter to them. Anyone can send a simple thank you email. That doesn’t inspire loyalty. A handwritten letter that bucks the trend does.
  3. Get to the point: Don’t ramble away whatever comes to your heart. Be short, clear and to the point.

As humans we want to reciprocate. If someone does a good turn, we feel compelled to return the favor. Ask for something simple that allows your customers to reciprocate the favor. You could ask them to pose with your products and post the picture to social media with a particular hashtag.

D&D outfitters went to great lengths to make the customer feel special. Customers feel special when they are treated as unique, valuable consumers.

Your brand’s presence on social media will attract attention. With thank you cards and similar activities that go beyond the ordinary, you stand to create more engagement.

Use UGC to Marketing Your Business

UGC is an effective, low-cost way to market your business. Use social media, personalized customer outreach, and loyalty programs to drive UGC.

With UGC, your business will acquire an organic and effective marketing technique.

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