Look at your Facebook or Twitter feed, and count the number of posts you see on your feed. It’s hard, right? Much of what we see on social media is user generated content, things you and your friends post. Question is, can your business benefit from this type of content?
Salesforce released a marketing report that revealed that nearly half of the top content marketers take advantage of user-generated content (UGC). You’re probably asking why. What makes user posts so powerful?
To understand where the power of UGC comes from, let’s define it first. UGC is basically just content made by customers. Anyone can be your customer. That bank teller with a few Facebook friends may have been your loyal customer. She probably doesn’t post about your products, but her friends aren’t paying much attention to her posts anyway. Occasionally, a popular Instagram user stumbles upon your brand and takes a selfie wearing your product. Now that makes a lot of difference.
That popular Instagram user may be well called an influencer, someone people pay attention to, someone whose opinion matters, someone his or her followers look up to. For these reasons, brands have been working closely with influencers, asking them to generate relevant and high-authority UGC. In so doing, they become content marketing influencers. Their content can be anything from blogs, guides, reviews, and videos.
User-generated content vs brand-generated content
→ User-generated content:
→ Brand-generated content:
Brand-generated content is produced by the company itself or its advertiser. The most common example of brand-generated content is advertisements, whose effectiveness has waned over the years, as people are tuning out of company-generated content. People switch channels during commercial breaks. They don’t read magazine and newspaper ads. People hate when you shove your brand down their throats. That’s why they install ad blockers on their browsers. That’s why companies are looking elsewhere to promote their products.
Brands are looking for key people who can generate content for their products on their behalf. The important difference between brand-generated content and UGC is that people pay attention to the latter. In fact, 3 in every 5 consumers think UGC is the most authentic type of content online. In many cases, this type of content comes free. If a popular influencer, for instance, features your product for free, that’s having your cake and eating it too.
Here are the reasons we think user-generated content from influencers is powerful:
1. It is social proof
Consumers look for honest opinions about products before considering them. They won’t take your word for it no matter how much genuine you think your description of your products is. Consumers want to make sure they’re making a good decision when buying something. That’s why they want to know what other people are saying about your brand. While they might trust their friends, they tune in more to influencers, whose clout translates into authority.
When an influencer writes about your product or does a vlog about it, they are in effect encouraging their followers to buy your product. Even if they only mentioned your product once, that’s enough to send the message that someone other than you and your advertiser trusts your brand.
2. Influencers showcase your products to a much larger audience
Of course, your neighbor can record an unboxing video of your sweet potato pie, and maybe 10 or 15 of her friends will like it. Your neighbor might have been really honest in her favorable review, but her influence is small. If you want to take your business to the sky, you have to work with people who can bring your product to the awareness of a large group of people. That’s where the sheer power of content and influencer marketing comes into play.
Influencer-generated content can be reused as branded content ads, which are more effective than traditional ads because a third party is talking about your brand.
3. Consumers trust UGC, especially if it’s from an influencer
As we`ve mentioned earlier, consumers trust content from influencers than content from companies and their advertisers. User-generated content is much more authentic than brand-generated content. At least, that’s according to Stackla Consumer Content Report. Moreover, another reports shows that 9 in every 10 consumers turn to UGC to make buying decisions.
User-generated content humanizes brands. Whenever I see a vlogger feature a brand, I begin to realize how I can integrate that product into my life. That’s what UGC does to basically any other consumer. It makes people realize that something can be a part of their lives. When we see how a product becomes a part of someone’s life, we’re more eager to buy it and incorporate it into our lives as well. The emotional connection that user-generated content brings is where its power rests.
4. It drives traffic
UGC has rescued brands from declining organic traffic and reach. Consumers are harder to please than ever now, and as I’ve mentioned, you can’t just put brand content out there and expect them to check out your websites and social media pages. They’re looking for value, but people want proof that your product is worth their money before they even buy it. The quality of your product does not guarantee its commercial success. Without key people who will vouch on the worth of your product, your chances of driving people to your website and converting them to buyers are low.
Also, search engines and social media giants are constantly changing their algorithms, which determine whether people see your brand or not. With their fresh ideas, content influencers have worked around these systems by providing engaging content that drives traffic to a brand’s site.
One way to increase traffic to your sites and social media pages is to work with multiple content influencers. Crowd-sourced content provides a variety of stories potential customers can pay attention to, thereby strengthening your brand’s reputation.
Are you wondering how user-generated content can take your business to the next level? Do you want to increase your social media reach? Are you curious about how sourcing UGC can drive more traffic to your website? Sign up for a free trial now.