Content creation has become an area of interest, enabling brands to improve their online presence and visibility. When done right, content comes with multiple benefits for your business. However, generating quality content can be expensive, time-consuming, and can at times, amount to infringement of people’s personal space.
But what if you could create high-quality content at minimal costs? What if you could leverage an already existing strategy, one that is more authentic and powerful than the conventional content-creation techniques?
Video user-generated content (UGC) is a solution to cost, efficacy, and other issues associated with digital marketing. Many brands are now adopting the strategy due to its simplicity and ability to achieve the desired results effectively. Indeed, a report by Adweek shows that 85% of social media users find visual UGC more persuasive compared to brand photos and other content generated by eCommerce businesses.
To gain the most from this content marketing gold, keep reading this article where you will learn what user-generated content is, why it is effective, and how you can encourage user-generated content.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content (UGC) refers to content developed by your customers targeting your brand. You can run UGC either through a branded contest or by requesting submissions. The content created is based on your customers’ experience with your brand.
User-generated content refers to content developed by your customers targeting your brand.
Social media pages contain all manner of UGC, but video content is proving to be more effective than photos and reviews.
For instance, when you scroll through social media feeds, you often see fans featured in videos marketing a brand’s products or services. A brand like GoPro uses user-generated video content to share and promote impressive videos created by their customers.
The GoPro: Pelican Learns To Fly, for example, has enabled the GoPro videos to gain popularity as fans are excited at the idea of creating mini-films showcasing five minutes of fame. The brand’s objective is not only to create the videos, but to also promote the GoPro products, such as cameras and video-editing software, which customers can use to make videos of their preference.
Your brand will gain more engagement and attract more customers if the marketing videos are original and authentic. User-generated videos serve this purpose, but for a number of reasons.
Let’s have a look at them.
Why is User-Generated Content Effective?
Marketers are switching from traditional forms of digital advertising as consumers seek authentic and reliable content based on user experience.
There are a number of reasons why your brand should use user-generated content:
User-generated video content helps convince customers that your product is authentic because such videos are not done by employees who are likely to be biased.
Stackla Survey – The content marketers deliver vs what customers want
According to a Stackla Survey, 92% of marketers hold the belief that their content is authentic. In contrast, 51% of consumers report that only less than half of brands develop content, which can be perceived as authentic.
Authenticity is crucial, now more than ever, because it drives up to 90% of consumers into following or supporting a brand. Indeed, consumers are 2.4 times likely to consider user-generated video content authentic as opposed to content developed by brands.
UGC carries social proof, which is the idea that customers are influenced by others’ actions and opinions. Humans are social beings, who are drawn to groupings; hence, a brand using UGC in its marketing strategy is highly likely to attract more followers who view it as credible.
Consumers of today have a tendency to trust what they see more than what they hear or read from blog posts. Research shows that 18-35 year-olds, who comprise mainly millennials, get food ideas by browsing images on Instagram – notably, 30% of the millennials will avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence.
Such shoppers will only trust your brand once they see other people using your products successfully. Thus, brands using user-generated video content can easily reach social media users in need of social proof.
According to Nielsen’s advertising reports, 92% of consumers indicate that they can only trust recommendations from people they know, while one-third of global consumers imply that they trust video and banner ads displayed on smart devices as opposed to text ads. The findings indicate the benefits of using user-generated content, including the ability to garner a loyal client base.
Square, a payment software, runs user-generated video content, enabling customers to tell unique stories about their experience using the software and how it helped them grow.
The stories are relatable, creating the impression that Square is a trustworthy brand whose products are changing experiences and helping businesses grow.
Drive purchasing decisions
According to BusinessWire, about 80% of people indicate that UGC helps influence consumer purchasing decisions, compared to 13% and 8% who support the use of brand- and social media influencer-created content, respectively.
Consumers are finding UGC to be highly impactful, driving the need to use Instagram Stories. Approximately 500 million Instagram users leverage the power of Stories every day, creating a pool of engaged customers for immersive shopping experiences.
58% of these people indicate that they are more interested in brands or products that feature in their Stories, and another 50% report that they have visited a website to buy a product upon seeing a product or service featured in stories.
Adobe has maximized the use of user-generated video content by running the Art Makers Series, whereby experienced artists across the globe present their artistic skills using Adobe products, such as Illustrator and Photoshop. The high-speed videos show brands how to use basic video editing tools; they work as expert endorsements and user testimonials, driving the need to buy Adobe products.
If you’re not using user-generated video content, now is the time to take advantage of the power of this marketing strategy to influence your customers’ purchasing decisions.
How Can I Encourage User-Generated Content?
There are many ways to prompt more online visitors to promote your brand and products through user-generated content videos.
Here are 10 tips to encouraging UGC from your customers:
1. Choose Your Platform Wisely
UGC works best if you already have social media followers. Still, small brands with few fans and followers can benefit from this marketing strategy by studying where their audience or target market group spends most of their time online.
Social media platforms operate differently, and what works for one does not always work for the other. For instance, Facebook is suitable for videos and curated content, Instagram is ideal for photos and stories, and Twitter is good for news, GIFs, and blog posts.
Facebook’s video posts have been generating the highest average market reach when compared to other forms of content on the platform.
Performance of Facebook’s video posts vs. other post types. Source:
Even so, a marketer seeking to promote their content using UGC should ensure that the platform chosen blends well with the business strategy and brand culture to avoid confusing the followers.
2. Create Powerful Hashtags
The next step to encouraging user-generated video content is to design powerful hashtags, enabling your content to reach more social media users beyond your page following.
Hashtags help you categorize your content, and branded hashtags are even better so long as you have sought permission from the content creator to use their video along with your tags.
In addition to giving credit to the video creators, remember to also be specific with what you want in the user-generated videos to ensure the content blends with the hashtag used. Ideally, one to two hashtags are enough to encourage engagement on Twitter, but with Instagram, you can get away with as many as 11 hashtags without affecting the level of interactions.
Nike uses hashtags in its Instagram posts to push the visibility of the company’s products and values. Some of the hashtags focus on societal issues, such as .
Hashtags will help improve engagement levels with your brand followers, as well as other social media users following the hashtags used.
3. Collect Independent Customer Reviews
According to statistics by BrightLocal, 34% of consumers always read online reviews about the business before making a purchase decision. Another 26% do this regularly, while only 13% of consumers fail to read brand reviews.
Overall, as of 2020, 87% of online consumers read reviews regarding their local businesses. This is a 6% rise from the previous year when the figure stood at 81%. Only 48% of consumers will buy products from a brand with less than 4 stars in review rating, while another 12% do not buy from businesses with less than 5 stars.
User-generated video content will give your brand more credibility than generic star ratings. Indeed, 45% of consumers have reported that they must have read a fake review over the past year.
The impact of reviews on consumer perception. Source: Brightlocal
Collect reviews from credible sources to ensure that the UGC used in your marketing campaigns appears authentic to the readers. A brand scoring 5-star ratings all the time raises flags among consumers because such reviews imply data manipulation.
Whether your business is receiving good or bad reviews, it is essential to post all user ratings to help your consumers make better-informed purchasing decisions. Honest opinions from real users are more believable than extra-ordinarily positive user stories.
Encourage your customers to share independent reviews for posting on your social media platforms. Taggbox enables you to collect and assess reviews from platforms like Google. The reviews are then published across marketing channels, such as Facebook and Instagram.
You can also use Taggbox to create a campaign around reviews and link it to your social media platforms. You can embed social media feeds and hashtags on your website, place social media plugins on your website and product pages, or even display user-generated videos from social media.
Remember, your commenting tools should encourage your followers to share conversations and videos using your products. This practice will enhance human-to-human interaction, leading to improved reliability and authenticity.
4. Offer an Incentive
Incentives will go a long way in encouraging customers to share videos featuring their experience with your brand.
One of the best approaches is to run a promotion or contest, whereby you request customers to submit videos showing how they used or benefited from using your product. You should also award the winner(s) with cash prizes, new product releases, or coupons.
You can request that the submissions fit a certain criteria, which suits your marketing strategy, business needs, or company culture.
Incentives will encourage creativity; hence, you will certainly have a variety of quality user-generated videos to choose from.
Foot Locker once ran a one-week contest under #HorseWithHarden, whereby brand followers on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram were required to shoot a video featuring their most creative basketball shots. The shots were to be shared with the hashtag, and a prize would be awarded to the winner.
Such incentives encourage more people to follow the brand, and they can improve your visibility, engagement, and sales.
5. Credit the original creator
Ensure to give credit to the original owners of the content collected via your social media channels. You can tag the owners directly in your post; when doing so, you should indicate if you are using their words, visuals, or both.
Tagging the content creators enables the viewers to know where the content came from, and if it was from an authentic source. It is also a great way of appreciating the content creator and making them feel that they are a part of your brand.
You can reach out to the owner of the content directly and seek their permission to share their user-generated video on your post.
Whole Foods uses the #cartgoals to share photos of other Instagram users with filled shopping carts. The users are credited in the description.
Causes help improve brand visibility and engagement with customers as they carry the social element that you care about your customers, and you are not simply after making sales.
You can encourage your followers to share user-generated videos that support societal aspects, such as weddings, health and beauty, sports, etc.
For instance, during the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Copa90 used user-generated video content to draw 300 users for purposes of covering the sporting event. The Copa90 Creator Network enabled fans from Russia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Egypt, Peru, and other countries to tell stories that matter, the Copa90 way.
Supporting a cause is an effective way of garnering more followers, shares, likes, and conversions for your brand.
7. Make an Example Video
Not all your fans have experience with video production; hence, creating an example video helps in demonstrating what you expect and motivating the content creators to participate in the promotion.
An example video helps minimize the tendency of followers to misinterpreting what you’re asking for. It is also a great way of limiting the content to the goals of your marketing strategy.
You can also spark the perfect idea of the type of videos you are looking for by providing your followers with the training or tips they need to create the desired user-generated video content.
For instance, Canon, a global imaging brand, runs a Quick Tips section on their Instagram page with videos from the company’s experts, whose ideas help followers take the best shots:
Example videos are ideal for inexperienced followers who want to participate in your social media campaigns, enabling you to not only get quality promotional videos, but also gain from improved engagement.
8. Use holidays and major events to gain exposure
You can also encourage user-generated video content by running a social media campaign that is linked to holidays and major events.
Such seasons find people in happy and positive moods; consumers are financially capable and ready to spend money on products and services, making holidays and major events a great time to collect and share user-generated videos.
The Christmas holiday and Independence Day mark some of the major events on people’s calendars, and they are ideal for a brand seeking to promote its content and gain more followers.
Virgin Holidays has successfully used the concept to enhance the impact of the brand’s ads. For instance, the campaign encouraged customers to share their holiday adventures. The user-generated videos and photos enabled the brand to win the Marketing Week’s ‘Campaign of the Year’ award, as well as gain 260% in online bookings.
Holidays and major events are prime times to celebrate with your customers. You can leverage such seasons using user-generated video content, leading to improved exposure, engagement, and sales.
9. Don’t Forget to Engage with the Users
You should not forget to connect with your customers on a regular basis. Ensure you post content frequently to help your brand stick in the minds of your followers.
Remember to also engage in more conversations by asking your customers to share their thoughts and experiences about your products and services.
You should also participate in community forums and respond to comments left by your customers. Be attentive, sensitive, and helpful, while appreciating your fans for their support and contributions.
Keep the content useful and relevant to avoid losing your customers’ interest. Timely, consistent, and valuable content will keep your audience anticipating more.
User-generated content is peaking because, unlike other promotional tactics, the concept encourages authenticity and trust, aspects that drive consumer purchasing decisions. Brands encourage UGC by collecting content from customers featuring their experiences using the company’s products and services.
You can run user-generated video campaigns through a branded contest or by requesting submissions. To keep the content engaging, relevant, and useful, start by choosing your platform wisely, creating powerful hashtags, and collecting independent customer reviews. Encourage users to share quality videos by offering them an incentive, and also remember to credit the original content creator. Inspire your fans to post quality videos that match your marketing goals and company culture by making an example video. Supporting a cause and running user-generated videos during holidays and major events will go a long way in improving engagement and sales. Remember to always post valuable and useful content frequently, and take part in conversations and forums discussing your followers’ recent experiences with your brand.
About the author: Rithesh Raghavan is the Director at , a Digital Agency in India, and the co-founder of , an online store for eCommerce plugins. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.
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