You may have heard of user-generated content and wondered exactly what it is, and why people like us are raving about it. In a world where we rely on reviews and recommendations from from our their peers – afterall, we know they’re authentic and credible – the content they are publishing on social media then becomes something known as ‘user-generated content’ for brands.

In a nutshell – it’s a fantastic tool to communicate the value of your offering to your audience through a reliable and trustworthy source.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is any form of content that has been published by the public, and it comes in many forms such as images, videos, audio clips and online reviews found on Google or Trust Pilot. Often referred to as UGC, it provides brands an opportunity to share trustworthy and reliable content with the added benefit of not consuming as much of your resources.

Consumers have taken to share their experiences with brands online, whether that’s through buying a product or a service, they are talking about it and people are joining that conversation. Just as we’re more likely to take recommendations from people we know, we’re also more likely to take recommendations from online influencers over brands themselves.

It’s by repurposing this content, a brand can boost their own word of mouth through their own marketing channels.

Not only is user-generated content more trustworthy, it is also more memorable to consumers than traditional advertising. Research conducted with millennials found that UGC was 35% more memorable than any other source.

Successful user-generated content strategies

Airbnb

A fantastic example of utilising user-generated content at the heart of your marketing strategy is Airbnb’s ‘Made Possible by Hosts’ campaign.

In the campaign, the brand highlights different homes and experiences made available by its hosts, using user-generated content in the form of guest’s photos and videos to showcase the variety of locations, style and hosts available via the platform. Airbnb recently adapted the campaign to capitalise on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, using USG from athletes staying at various properties, all with differing features to help them train. Swimmers searched for properties with pools, while athletes travelling with their teams made use of family homes with large outdoor spaces.

Schuh

Polished photography can be hard for people to relate to and see what the product actually looks like. By combining professional content with USG it provides the opportunity for Schuh’s audience to connect with the brand on a deeper level, with real people wearing real products. Schuh has leveraged imagery taken by their customers to boost their organic strategy to successfully a share their wider portfolio of both products customer reviews.

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A post shared by schuh (@schuh)

Getting the most out of user-generated content

Engagement rate

Due to its authenticity, on average USG gets a much higher engagement rate compared to other types of content. Setting yourself a new engagement rate benchmark for USG will help you track not only your overall performance, but the effect it is having across your social media platforms; you’ll be able to answer how many more conversations is it starting or if it is reaching a wider audience.

Conversion rate

Track to see if you have started to get more clicks through to your website and how this has impacted your conversion rate. Research shows 53% of consumers like or follow brands on social to learn about new products and services, and this provides the opportunity to boost your online sales as a direct result of this.

Resources

Adopting a USG strategy will also help save time if you are limited on resources. Aggregating not only the creative content posted online, you can also collate hashtags and comments in the process.