User-Generated Content (UGC) is content created and published by users online, such as comments on blogs, videos and images, and opinions in online stores and social networks, among other things. This type of content is authentic and reflects consumers' experience with a brand's product or service, making it a valuable tool for better understanding customers and adjusting product or service offerings accordingly.
UGC can also help build consumer trust toward a brand, as authentic and positive content generated by other consumers can be more compelling than traditional advertising or brand recommendations. In addition, it can be used by advertisers to increase reach, engagement and sales by acting as a real demonstration and generating brand awareness.
In addition to being more authentic and valuable to consumers, UGC can also save brands time and resources by eliminating the need to invest in expensive photo shoots and production equipment. By showcasing other users' experiences with a brand's products or services, potential customers can feel more confident in making a purchase decision, building trust and credibility among them.
UGC can also provide valuable insights into customers' pain and delight points, which in turn can help brands improve their products and services. In short, UGC is a great way to create authentic and valuable content for consumers, while saving valuable time and resources for brands.
It takes the shopper on an emotional journey to the idea that what they are seeing is something they must have, allowing them to imagine themselves using the product. Consumers are more likely to engage with content from real people, which can lead to emotional investment in a product or brand.
Creating content takes time and one of the great advantages of using UGC is that much of the work is already done. User-generated content can increase reach and engagement on social networks, as customers can promote the product or brand on their networks. Ultimately, it is an effective way to build an authentic and trusting relationship with customers, while gaining valuable insights into their needs and preferences.
Benefits of UGC
The user creates unique content for your brand
As social media users, we continuously generate content about the brands we like on our social profiles. When a product satisfies us, we share it with our community (friends, family, team...) and become ambassadors. This allows brands to get a lot of unique and exclusive content about their products, as well as data about the audience concerning their products, which in turn allows them to find potential customers.
Credibility and authenticity
User-generated content establishes greater trust between the customer and the brand. It is real and honest content that the potential customer can trust, as it is not the brand's content but is based on the experience that other users have had with the products.
Because of the way we integrate UGC into marketing strategies, it is a new way to attract users to your brand. When a user spreads content about the brand on social networks and you, as a brand, promote that content by including it in your strategy or interacting with the user, you are indirectly motivating the rest of your community to do the same. Therefore, a feedback process is generated that increases the visibility of your brand.
More traffic and conversions
Traffic is a very important KPI for marketers, but there needs to be a conversion for that traffic to be effective. Earlier we highlighted authenticity as a benefit of UGC, and this is precisely the type of content that serves as "social proof" for potential consumers. In other words, user-generated content speeds up the buying process, thus increasing your brand's conversions.
How to use User-Generated Content to increase online sales
Improving the user experience is key to increasing the likelihood of a sale. In this sense, user-generated content becomes a valuable tool. Images that show people authentically using the product have greater conversion power than those that only feature the product itself. To be truly authentic, you need to show real people rather than perfectly Photoshopped models.
Studies indicate that 64% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase, reflecting a clear demand for opinions and recommendations on social media. In this sense, User-Generated Content acquires a special value as it provides certainty. As it is content created by real users who have bought, used, and desired the product, it conveys a message of quality and reliability that is essential for marketing and sales professionals.
User-generated content acts as a visual review of the product, providing authenticity and credibility for consumers. In short, User-Generated Content is a key tool for adding awareness and trustworthiness, two of the biggest challenges facing marketers and sales professionals.
Tips to succeed in your UGC strategy
In this article, we explain some essential tips and recommendations to move from ideas to results.
1. Stop looking at statistics about how well it works, you have to take action. According to studies, brands' websites are the second most trusted advertising format after shopper recommendations. Shopper recommendations on the branded website are relevant to sales. The advantage of a UGC solution is that it is quickly actionable, i.e. if done today it will help the numbers today.
2. Make a list of touchpoints and KPIs where it would add value. Some suggestions:
Aspirational images on the home page to improve engagement and time on page.
Images of people carrying your product on the PDP (product page) to improve both Conversion Rate and Average Order Value.
Images of the last event in your blog to improve loyalty and stickiness.
Attractive images in your newsletter to improve open rate and CTR.
Images in your inbound campaign to improve lead acquisition and lower cost per acquisition.
Images in topic pages to lower bounce rate.
Images in your presentations to improve insights value.
Images in ad campaigns to improve reach or performance.
or all at once to improve Customer Lifetime Value...
3. Focus on the objective: engagement, sales, or both. Do a simple search: followers and volume of mentions on each social network.
If the volume is low, take the opportunity to grow by impacting with a gallery of the best aspirational photos.
If the volume is high, get the most out of them with galleries showing people enjoying your product and launch them on PDP. And if you want to do both, you can make several galleries of each.
4. Focus where it's relevant. Currently, Instagram is the leading social network for photo sharing by far, and TikTok for videos.
5. Be aware that you need solutions, not tools.
How to manage privacy issues with UGC
Managing User-Generated Content privacy issues can be a challenge for any organization that collects, stores, and uses personal data from its users. Here are some steps you can take to properly manage UGC-related privacy issues:
Obtaining user consent is quite important before collecting, processing, and storing their data. You can require users to agree to terms and conditions before creating an account or by including a private statement on your website or platform, clearly explaining what information is collected, how it is used, and how it is protected.
You must protect the user's personal information by taking measures. This includes appropriate technical and organizational security measures to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification of personal data. Some of these measures you can implement are data encryption, user authenticity, and secure password management.
It is important to monitor user-generated content to detect any content that is inappropriate or violates the privacy of other users. You can do this through the use of content moderation tools that automatically filter out content that may be offensive or violate privacy rules.
Respond to users' privacy requests. Users have the right to access, correct, and delete their data at any time. You should establish a clear process for users to submit privacy requests and respond to them within a reasonable time.
In summary, managing privacy issues related to UGC requires a sound privacy strategy and a proactive approach. When we obtain user consent, we must protect their personal information and ensure that we are complying with privacy standards.