User generated content (UGC) has remained a marketing trend and it is set to continue growing. In recent years it has grown making it rise above other marketing trends, 79% of people say UGC impacts their purchasing decisions (Stackla). It is said that 2019 is the year for UGC. But, what is it?
UGC is any digital content that is produced and shared by users on online platforms such as social media or websites. Some forms of UGC include pictures, videos, blog posts, testimonials and comments. It is highly effective and contributes towards consumer trust and relationship building.
UGC can help improve a brand’s understanding of their audience, by utilising UGC a more authentic relationship is built. This in turn increases engagement and helps build trust, a huge 86% of millennials say that UGC is an indicator of the quality of a brand (Bazzarvoice). This demonstrates the power of UGC and how it plays a role in your brand perception.
In 2011, Coca-Cola introduced personalised drink bottles which had people’s names on the bottles. From this the slogan “share a Coke with..” quickly became popular, coke drinkers were sharing images of their personalised bottles. Coca Cola wanted their customers to feel part of the community and have something to share globally. In Australia alone, 2 out of 5 Australians bought a personalised coke bottle and the company’s Facebook traffic increased by 870% (Optin Monster).
There are many strategies companies can use to gain UGC. Why not create your own company hashtag to be used to identify customer’s images on social media? Or, launch a competition to boost your engagement? Some companies even use UGC as a form of social currency, they offer incentives for customers to participate with their brand. For example, Marc Jacobs has twice opened pop-up shops where customers could purchase goods with engagements. Customers were encouraged to ‘buy’ products by tweeting or uploading photos using a hashtag.
The desire for authenticity is remaining constant, UGC is created by real customers with an authentic perspective which isn’t apparent with branded content. By running campaigns that encourage customers to upload content, this is improving company reach. UGC has the power to boost engagement and provide a cost-effective strategy.