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How to Encourage More User Generated Content (UGC)

Clearwater Staff

Why do big brands like Coca Cola, Starbucks, BMW, and Calvin Klein frequently drift away from their usual, manicured marketing material, and instead post images of their customers with their products on social media? Well, this is actually an incredibly effective and lucrative form of marketing known as user generated content (UGC).

In this article, the Clearwater team explore exactly what UGC is, and how you can encourage more from your audience to boost brand awareness, authority and even sales.


What is User Generated Content?

User generated content (UGC) is any type of content, including videos, images, and text, that is created by users promoting or using a brand’s products or services, rather than the company itself. UGC can be a powerful marketing tool, as it provides audiences with a way to interact directly with your brand, and see how others are using your offerings. Additionally, UGC can help businesses to build trust and credibility with potential customers, as you clearly have a range of satisfied customers sharing social proof of their experience.

Why Use UGC?

There are several reasons why businesses should consider using user generated content on their websites and in their social media campaigns.

First, UGC is incredibly cost-effective – it can be created at little or no expense to the business, given how users do most of the work and simply tag you in their own posts.

Second, UGC is highly engaging – it helps to create a two-way dialogue between the business and its audience, showing a genuine uptake, acceptance, and excitement in sourcing your products or services.

Third, UGC is authentic – it provides potential customers with an honest view of how a product or service is being used. This is even better than a review, as it lends the weight of someone completely outside of your organisation placing a first-hand look at their experience.

Finally, UGC can help to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences, as users share the posts on their own feeds and introduce your offerings to all of their friends, family, and followers.


How Can You Obtain More User Generated Content?

There are several ways that businesses can encourage their customers to create more user generated content, including:

Offering Rewards

Businesses can offer rewards, such as discounts or free products, to customers who create UGC. This is the ultimate motivation, and encourages customers to participate in the promotion of the brand’s products and services. This can be just a short video or quick snap, and in exchange for, say, a 5% discount on their next purchase, you can rear significant returns from their efforts.

Running Contests

Contests help create word-of-mouth around your brand and UGC mission. You might have to step up the prizes to entice some chatter amongst your target audience, but be sure to keep things simple. Your customers should only have to perform something simple – like sharing a photo of them with your items in a specific location – to be eligible.

Supporting a Cause

Many businesses support charitable causes, and encouraging customers to generate UGC related to these causes can be a powerful way to promote the business while doing some good in the world. This helps to show you are not just a brand concerned with sales figures, but also social change. For example, for every piece of UGC generated, you could pledge to donate a specific amount to a charitable organisation.

Interacting with Users

One of the best ways to encourage UGC is to simply interact with your users on social media. Respond to their comments and messages, get personal, and ask them to create content about their experiences using your products or services. You might just be surprised by the results!

Creating Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to track user generated content, and businesses can create their own hashtags for customers to use when sharing photos or videos related to the brand. They also help you to categorise your UGC into different campaigns to measure the uptake and engagement.

Sharing Customer Reviews

Positive customer reviews can help to sell products and services, so businesses should share customer reviews on social media as a way to encourage more UGC. Take the time to create some creative imagery that will attract your audience in a scroll-stopping fashion, and cause them to read what everyone has to say about your brand.


Develop UGC Into Your Wider Digital Marketing Strategy with Clearwater

By following these tips, businesses can encourage more user generated content from their social media campaigns and reap the many benefits it has to offer. To learn more on how to build out your wider digital marketing strategy, contact our specialists at Clearwater today.

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