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Businesses are constantly looking to gain an advantage over their competition and to improve the overall success of their company. While this means improving the quality of their products and customer service, it also means making sure their marketing is carefully crafted and targeted at the right audience. After all, how can you boost sales and revenue if no one can find you? However, the way businesses market their services and products has shifted in recent years. Thanks to the digital revolution, the way consumers interact with brands has fundamentally changed. The introduction of computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has given consumers access to hours of content and advertising. Marketers have had to change their strategies to match this change in consumer behavior.

As time has passed, consumers are not responding to traditional forms of media like they used to. More customers aren’t trusting highly manufactured ads from businesses, feeling as though they are exaggerated to convince a consumer to choose a specific product or service. Not only that, but the way customers consume marketing has also changed. After all, since 2018, over half of all internet traffic is done through mobile phones. Customers are responding and interacting with different styles of marketing. In recent years, user-generated content has gained prominence among consumers, driving their decisions to make purchases. However, many businesses haven’t adopted this tactic yet.

ARYU Advertising prides itself on staying up to date on all the latest trends in digital advertising and consumer behavior. User-generated content is just one of many concepts that we have kept an eye on. Today we will be looking at what this content is.

Understanding User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC), which is also referred to as user-created content, is an extremely effective way of marketing your brand. Not only is UGC a great way to boost brand awareness, but it is free and easy to use. To put it plainly, user-generated content is content created about your brand by an individual that is not an official representative of your brand and is in no way associated with your brand. Something as simple as a review, social media post, a video, a podcast, and much more can be examples of UGC. If the contents of the post are about your brand, and no one from your brand created the content, it is user-generated content.

UGC is incredibly useful, as well. After all, 90% of consumers state that user-generated content influences their decision to purchase a product or service, beating out search engines, email marketing, and more. However, even though more consumers reported that they respond to UGC better than other forms of marketing, studies show that only 16% of brands have a system in place to manage user-generated content.

Why is UGC Successful?

Unfortunately, in the eyes of customers, brands are untrustworthy. They don’t believe that advertisers and marketers are being honest with them, only selling them a fabricated image of their brand to convince you to make a purchase. According to a survey, only 4% of respondents believe that advertisers and marketers practice integrity. However, respondents stated that they believed that “you yourself” practiced integrity, meaning customers are more likely to believe each other than they would businesses and brands.

Other ways user-generated content helps your business are:

  • Boosts Authenticity: As we have stated already, consumer behavior has changed. They would rather see a low-quality video on social media than a high production ad. Authenticity holds more weight. Customers would rather hear from someone who has tried and used a product rather than the entity trying to sell it. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say UGC is more authentic than ads by a brand.
  • Inexpensive: Since UGC is created by your customers, you do not need to do anything yourself. You will not need to commit much of your ad spend on user-generated content. Your customers will create assets for your brand, bringing in their audiences without you needing to spend any money.
  • Boost Brand Awareness: One of the greatest ways UGC helps your business is by boosting your brand awareness. With more people creating content about your business, they market your brand to their personal audiences, spreading information about who you are to new users.
  • Increases SEO Value: If your customers are posting your content on different blogs, videos, and other media, you can analyze the most used words and terms used by your target audience and use that information to research and improve your keyword optimization.

Best UGC Practices

It is in the best interest of every brand to take advantage of user-generated content. It is an effective and inexpensive way to improve brand loyalty, trust, and revenue. However, there are some important steps that each brand should follow to successfully utilize UGC. Some of these include:

  • Always Ask for Permission: Using a branded hashtag is a great way to collect UGC to share with your audience, but it’s always a good practice to ask for permission before using these posts. Using this content without permission is a sure-fire way to ruin any goodwill built and irritate loyal customers.
  • Credit Users: Once you’ve gained permission to use these posts, you must always credit the user. You must credit their image, caption, and any other content they created. This builds on brand loyalty and excites others to use and post about your brand. Plus, it shows that someone other than your brand posts about your products.
  • Run a Contest: Running a social media contest is a great way to create a substantial amount of UGC. Furthermore, 32% of consumers said they were interested in winning a prize, while 60% said they were more interested in getting likes or having their content feature by a brand, which means you can regularly run contests without needing to offer large prizes.
  • Be Clear About What You Want: Customers want to share content with brands and other users, but they also want to be told exactly what they need to share. Don’t be afraid to be specific about what you want. Like with any marketing campaign, you need a strategy and need to know what you plan on doing with this content.

As technology progresses, so does how consumers interact with brands. More than ever, users are creating content about companies without being directly associated with a business. User-generated content is just one of many new ways brands are boosting their revenue and increasing brand awareness. ARYU Advertising prides itself on being on top of all new trends in strategies in the world of marketing.