UGC: How to Encourage & Utilize Customer Feedback
March 1, 20236 minute read
- Digital Marketing
Can you believe the leggings in this video have completely sold out more than 6 times since the video was posted? And at one point, they had a waitlist of over 150,000 people? Or that the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, launched in 1971, had found a completely new demographic that made it almost impossible to buy because of its popularity?
It’s not a result of some well-planned or well-funded marketing campaign. In fact, the credit for the success of these products can’t be attributed to one person or a team of extraordinarily talented marketers. Instead, it’s a result of thousands of users sharing their thoughts on these products with millions of people. Yes! The users. Not influencers or celebrities with paid posts that consumers can smell from a mile away. With the ease of sharing your thoughts on social media and reaching millions of people, the influence of ordinary users has never been greater than it is today.
We call this type of content user-generated content, or UGC, for short.
What is UGC?
User-generated content is content that the users of a particular brand create. This can range from social media comments, reviews, pictures, or videos. While there may be other content available online about the brand, the critical difference lies in who makes the content. UGC is made by people not associated with your brand: they are not representatives of your brand or a paid influencer or celebrity. Which means it’s free! It can be made unprompted or through the subtle nudging of the brand, which we’ll discuss more down below.
Why should you use UGC?
IT’S VERY COST-EFFECTIVE
As mentioned, UGC is basically free content for your brand! Except, of course, when UGCs are a result of a giveaway or a contest you’ve hosted, or if you choose to integrate UGC into a paid ad. Either way, user-generated content is much cheaper than other advertising channels.
There’s no better way to put your customers front and center than highlighting what they think of your products. Remember the customer journey? The last phase of the journey is “promote.” It’s when customers actively promote your brand and share it with their friends, families, and people on the internet. You are making the product for the customer; the promotional content is made by a customer, which then helps gain new customers! The customers are in every part of the process.
IT HAS A HIGH ROI
Compared to traditional campaigns, the production costs of using user-generated content are almost always zero. Imagine having a video produced without the company having to shell out costs for a camera or the labor to brainstorm a script, to shoot the video, or who’s in the video. The authenticity of user-generated content also translates to higher conversion rates. When a potential customer interacts with a UGC, their chances of converting increase by 11%.
IT’S AUTHENTIC AND HELPS FOSTER TRUST
It’s the modern equivalent of the traditional word-of-mouth strategy but amplified with the reach of the internet. People tend to trust people, at least when it comes to shopping. So, the fact that people recommend your brand unprompted is highly likely to increase people’s trust in your brand. Added to the level of authenticity that comes with these recommendations coming from ordinary people who have virtually no stake and nothing to gain by promoting your brand. They just genuinely love it! They love it enough to share their opinions with the internet.
IT CREATES A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
People try to emulate the video or share their thoughts when a piece of UGC goes viral. This helps build a community of people who like and trust your brand. A community of advocates and promoters, if you will. It’s your job, or your marketing team’s job, to help build links between these people, encourage discussions and have them interact with each other. Show the human behind the brand. There’s nothing more loyalty-inducing than a community that shares your thoughts and values.
DIVERSIFY YOUR STRATEGY
Lastly, utilizing UGC helps diversify your marketing strategy. While making campaigns that are so undoubtedly your brand helps prospects recognize your brand is essential, mixing it up once in a while wouldn’t hurt. Your users will definitely have different tastes and will not be as curated as your posts might get. Content gathered from contests, or giveaways will also excite your consumers and showcase different ways of presenting your brand.
How to “get” User-Generated Content
This content is usually a byproduct of a challenge issued by the brand, which the customers take on. The following example may be a bit old, around 9 years old, but it is definitely still a good example to use. T-Mobile encouraged prospects who want to transfer to using their service to write “break-up” letters to their current service providers. Over 150 000 letters were written! Now that’s a viral strategy!
Ask for Feedback
This is probably the most straightforward way of getting a review or a testimonial from your customers. This type of user-generated content is usually quoted throughout different campaigns. To make it easier for you, you can put a form or a link to the form on an exit pop-up or a pop-up when they’ve made their purchase.
Hashtags help you curate all the content related to your brand. Branded hashtags also give your followers a chance to discuss your brand and for the brand to interact with them. Often, other types of UGC such as brand-user collaboration and contests or giveaways come with a hashtag that participants need to use. Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke, Adidas’ #HereToCreate, and Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt are some of the most successful campaigns on Instagram.
Contest or Giveaways
Who wouldn’t want to win? Even before the internet and social media, contests and giveaways have been a common strategy among brands. However, sending back bottlecaps or parts of packaging is long gone and replaced by more interactive versions. For example, Lay’s have the “Do Us a Flavor” campaign. They encourage consumers to send in flavor ideas. The top three flavors will be produced and sold in stores and the consumers will vote on the best one. The campaign allowed the brand to interact with consumers, had a person win 1 million dollars, gave Lays an idea of consumer preferences, and boosted brand popularity. It’s a win-win all around!
Keep your ear on the ground (listening to social media conversations).
This is probably the most time-consuming (but with search options, not really). But this might be the most organic of all these options. This strategy of finding UGC does not require any effort from the brand except, of course, providing quality products. What we mean by this is that a lot of users, specifically on TikTok or IG Reels like to make new pieces of content “reviewing” a new product they just purchased. Maybe it’s an unboxing video, or maybe it’s a video showing how to use a product. Either way, this is a very common type of UGC that should be “acted” on by the brand. If your customer made a video reviewing your product, show that video on your website! Most of the products that have become viral, especially on TikTok, started from ordinary users sharing their thoughts about them.
UGC Best Practices
Ask for permission and give credit
Remember the trust we mentioned earlier in the post? You wouldn’t want to lose that because you used someone’s picture or video without permission. Sure, some would be delighted and wouldn’t care as much, but it’s still safer (and more respectful) to ask for permission. Make sure also to credit the original creator. They’d love that shoutout!
Integrate into your social media strategy
Sure, using UGC can be very helpful, but it can’t possibly be your sole source of digital marketing content. A healthy mix of your posts and UGCs would be best. Integrating UGCs in your overall social media strategy would help you systematise your efforts, set goals, and decide on the KPIs to assess performance.
Right content to the right platform
Maybe an image would work best on Instagram, a short video would be better received on TikTok or a longer one on YouTube. Whatever type of content it is, you need to make sure you post it on the right platform. To learn more about social media marketing, we have a post on making a Social Media Strategy and other posts on specific platforms on the Strikepoint Media Blog.
Add a call to action
Your consumers who make content related to your brand do not necessarily have the goal of selling your product. They’re simply sharing what they think. So, unsurprisingly, these posts do not have a call-to-action. As a marketer, though, you know that a call to action is imperative to the success of a campaign. You need to tell people what you want them to do clearly. So, add it to the UGC! When you repost a UGC on your brand’s social media profile, make sure to include a call to action.
Brands have long discovered the importance of integrating customer views and opinions into their campaigns. Reviews and testimonials have been used in traditional media like newspaper and radio ads. However, the internet has increased our ability to reach millions of people. People can now share their thoughts on products without the brand’s involvement. So, you should take advantage of that! It’s a good way to promote your brand and showcase consumers that are loyal to you!