7
min read

The Role of User-generated Content in Content Marketing

Published on
June 1, 2024

Table of contents

Key Takeaways

  1. User-generated content is any content that is created by your users to share their experience using your product/service
  2. You can repurpose the content to promote the UGC with your brand values
  3. Well-known brands like GoPro use user-generated content to promote the values the brand stands for
  4. User-generated content can help with trust, brand loyalty, and authenticity. All these together help improve the conversion rate

What is User-generated content?

User-generated content is any content that is created and published on public platforms by your users. The format of the content varies according to the platform it is posted on. It can be image, video, text, or audio. Brands can leverage the UGC to build trust among new users. User-generated content acts as word of mouth that promotes your brand for free. 

Sam Altman says “Create a product so good that the users tell their friends about it”. When this happens, you create a viral loop that works in your favor.

Types of user-generated content

To leverage user-generated content, you need first to understand the basics of UGC. User-generated content can be of great use for marketing. Setting up channels where users can create content around/for your brand requires knowing what types of UGC you should expect. Let’s explore those one by one 

#1 Multimedia (images & videos)

When users create content talking about your brand in the form of images or videos, it can be of great use. You can use this to build trust among potential customers. Humans are visual beings, you retain more of what you see than what you read. Images & especially videos visually represent what it’s like to use your product. This makes it easier for potential customers to relate.

#2 Testimonials and comments

Testimonials are textual endorsements from existing customers who advocate about your product or service. Something similar to what LinkedIn does with endorsements on your LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, comments are user-generated text responses to content that you create. This can be social posts, blog posts, or product pages. 

Read our article on how to ask your clients or customers for Testimonials.

In most cases, comments are not reviews. If you’re active on social media, consider creating engaging content that encourages your users to share their views about your products or services.

#3 Reviews

Reviews are the most important part of any sale. Be it online or offline, we don’t buy without checking if it’s worth the money. It’s so important that Google updated the search algorithm with reviews in mind and called it the Product review update.

With reviews, users evaluate the product or service before purchasing. Reviews add on to the confirmation bias for those who are planning to buy your products or services. Encourage users to leave reviews on platforms where you get most purchases from. It can be on Google Maps, Yelp, or your own website. Make sure you do not mess with the reviews. The whole reason why Google updated the algorithm is because they don’t want to show fake reviews on Google search results.

Benefits of user-generated content in marketing

#1 Building trust

The thing with running a business online is a lack of trust. You can get in front of an insane number of people, but would they buy it? Definitely not. The purchase journey is very complicated and time-consuming. The UGC that you create for marketing, can be used to build social proof (link the post on social proof to the bolded text). When the users create content praising the product/services, it is considered more valuable than the content created by the brand, that is, you. 

The ROI is insanely high and the value of which will be known only upon encouraging UGC in the first place. Furthermore, the user-generated content also helps potential customers compare your products/services with that of competitors. Imagine if your competitors are too lazy to work on UGC and since you’re reading this post, you chose to work on it. Who do you think will be seen as a more trustworthy brand? You guessed it right. The classic example is GoPro using user-generated content to promote their brand. In fact, the top 3 videos on GoPro's official YouTube channel are that of the users.

#2 Creating brand loyalty

What comes to mind when you see Nike's swoosh logo? One of the top 3 things would be loyalty. Nike has one of the most loyal user bases, especially for Air Jordan sneakers.

And no, the reason why Nike has such a loyal customer base isn’t user-created content. The point I’m trying to make is the impact of brand loyalty. Customers get involved in several aspects of Nike’s content because they have a sense of belonging to the brand.

Nike incentivizes its customers by speaking their minds in their commercials. People feel connected with the brand because of their content. They have an emotional connection with the brand which makes them loyal. Furthermore, it's not that Nike isn’t leveraging UGC. With Nike+, the brand encourages users to connect with each other which strengthens brand loyalty and image.

#3 Authenticity

User-generated content creates authenticity that potential customers buy into. The testimonials that you have on your product/service page(s) create an authentic aura for your brand. The real-life experience that the users in the testimonials share speaks volumes about your brand. Your potential customers, especially first-time buyers are skeptical before making the purchase.

User-generated content, such as video testimonials eliminates that skepticism. On top of that, video testimonials, or any testimonials in general not only help with authenticity but also help you understand how existing customers think about your brand. You can also check out our article on How to collect Video Testimonials.

You can also use platforms like Testimonial Donut to simplify the testimonials gathering process. We offer easy-to-use interfaces, templates, and guidance, which make it convenient for your customers/clients to share their thoughts and experiences about your products/services seamlessly.

#4 Improving conversion rates

Now that your brand has trust, loyalty & authenticity, converting visitors into customers is a walk in the park. Of course, not every visitor will convert into a paid customer, but depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in, they will eventually convert without much effort. You can create content for each stage of the buyer’s journey so that you can control the conversions even better.

Visual content (images or videos) adds on to the trust, loyalty, and authenticity of the brands and helps in even better conversions. Netflix is a prime example of a brand that has built trust and loyalty among its customers. Their personalized recommendations, high-quality original content, and user-friendly interface have contributed to their success. Netflix has an astounding conversion rate of 93%.

Sources of user-generated content

To leverage the UGC you must know the sources and double down on that. Here are some sources you can get user-generated content from

#1 Customers

Encourage your existing customers to share their experiences in the form of text reviews and testimonials. You can request the users to share the impact that your product/service has left in their lives.

You can even highlight in the form of case studies and paid ads the anecdotes that demonstrate the authenticity of their feedback.

#2 Brand loyalists

Brand loyalists are those who advocate your brand via word of mouth. To leverage the brand loyalists, identify the reason why they are advocating for your brand. This becomes your positioning for targeting new brand loyalists.

You can promote real-life examples of how existing customers are using your products/services. This will enhance the brand reputation and build long-term relationships with your customers.

#3 Employees

Employees are the best promoters of your brand. The corporate culture is in such a mess that employees never advocate the company they’re working for. Imagine what it would mean if your employees started promoting your brand. Leveraging employee testimonials is a great strategy that you apply!

Source

Encourage your employees to get active on social platforms, LinkedIn should be the top priority. 

Best practices for user-generated content

To make the best out of the UGC, I’ve gathered some best practices for you to use.

#1 Define clear guidelines for UGC

To maintain the quality of the UGC and align with the brand values, create clear guidelines for everyone to follow. Specify what types of content is acceptable and what is not. This will save a lot of time for both your moderators and the users.

#2 Build an engaging community

Building a community and a newsletter is the best way to sustain any business in today’s fast-changing world. Social media is way too cluttered to foster an engaging community.

A public community will attract a lot of UGC that you can leverage for your brand. Monitor and moderate the interactions happening in your community to know what’s working and double down on that.

#3 Curate UGC strategically

Based on your analysis curate similar content as the best-performing content in your community. This will do two things for your brand, keep the users engaged and get the attention of those you’re curating content from.

You can consider Testimonial Donut to gather your UGC better. We allow submissions through different channels like email, intranet, or dedicated platforms, making it effortless for people to submit their testimonial content.

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