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The Influence of Influencers: User-Generated Content



Imagine you want to buy a product. You've seen some compelling ads for Product A online, maybe even a TV commercial. During a conversation with a friend, you express your interest in Product A. However, your friend suggests a similar product he recently purchased, Product B. He speaks highly of Product B, drawing on his personal experience and emphasizing its exceptional quality and functionality. After this conversation, it's more likely than not that you'll choose Product B over Product A. When someone you trust gives a raving review, it naturally leads you to believe that it's the superior product.


Word-of-mouth marketing has been around since the dawn of sales, and it remains a key player in business growth to this day! A similar tactic to a word-of-mouth review like the one above is user-generated content, which can have a greater impact on your sales than you might predict.


What is user-generated content?

User-generated content, or UGC, is any form of content, such as text, images, videos, reviews, or testimonials, created and shared by users or consumers of a product, service, or brand. Unlike content produced by the company or brand itself, UGC is voluntarily created by customers or fans who have had a personal experience with the offering. Most user-generated content can be found on social media, but it can also extend to platforms such as podcasts or YouTube videos.


Who can produce it?

When you think of user-generated content, paid influencers come to mind. While some influencers may actually enjoy the product they're endorsing, others may create posts that appear genuine but aren’t. It's important to note that this type of UGC promotion can create distrust between your product and potential buyers if it feels ingenuine. If you’re working hands-on with an influencer, make sure to double-check content so anything released is true to your brand image and an authentic show of your product’s capabilities. When constructed correctly, paid content can generate valuable attention from a large audience! If you can find a brand or person whose following might be interested in your product or service, paid UGC may be right up your alley.


UGC isn't solely created by paid influencers! In the context of user-generated content, an "influencer" is anyone who has the power to persuade an audience of any size. While paid brand influencers can play this role well, here are some additional candidates for UGC creators:


- Customers

Reviews are good publicity, but content shared on social media can be even better! When a customer posts something like an unboxing video, tutorial, brand shoutout, or product review on social media, you gain visibility from their friend or follower list. While a review might go unnoticed or only be found through a direct search for your company, these posts spread brand awareness with the reliable, personal feel that the typical review lacks.


Promote creativity when looking for UGC sources! Enticing your pre-existing audience to share your brand through social media can be fun and engaging for everyone involved.


One example to get the ball rolling on UGC would be to ask your followers to share their favorite use of a product through photos or videos using an eye-catching hashtag to pique the curiosity of their followers. Offer prizes for favorite posts if you can!


Even if the audience doesn't know the poster personally, seeing an endorsement straight from a face you’re familiar with rather than an anonymous review behind a screen, can completely change their perspective on a potential purchase. This may seem like it benefits those in the B2C world more, but that is far from the case. Customers of your B2B business sharing your product, brand or content can significantly increase your inbound traffic! Content from another company's page or from one of their employees can drive visibility directly to your target audience.


- Loyal customers

Repeat customers who trust your product or service are an excellent source of user-generated content! A great way to both improve your relationship with your loyal customers and promote further visibility is to encourage them to show their pride with free swag, testimonials, or mentions on their page. Inviting loyal customers to guest-write on your blog or participate in creating your social media posts can boost engagement and grab the attention of their peers or customers! If you’re working closely with a representative from a business your customers may be interested in, this will benefit both parties involved.


-Employees

This is also known as EGC, or employee-generated content. Empower your team to create engaging content that resonates with your audience! Showcase the behind-the-scenes work of your brand and the people who make it happen. EGC allows you to showcase your team, promote employee satisfaction through active participation, and build stronger customer relationships by providing a better understanding of the people behind your business.


Some examples of EGC include photos or videos of your team doing things like working, goofing off, introducing themselves, or giving an office tour. Let your team be your brand ambassadors and share their support! Original content from the minds of your team may be just what you need. Tap into their passion and creativity to leave a lasting impression on your audience.


How effective is it?

User-generated content has proven to be highly successful in both B2B and B2C businesses! According to statistics provided by Hootsuite, 92% of marketers agree that consumer-generated content outperforms branded content because audiences find it more authentic. Not only will your engagement and visibility go up, but your customers will love the chance to be more involved with your brand! UGC can boost the sense of community surrounding your company and increase overall customer satisfaction.


Since there are several methods of sourcing user-generated content, any brand can find the right way to take advantage of this marketing tool. Create engaging, reliable content while building a stronger community amongst your audience with user-generated content; see where it takes you!


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