One code that we live by nowadays is that the internet has all the answers. When in doubt, you simply go on the internet. Do you have trouble with your studies? You have online lessons. Do you want to try a new recipe? You have online recipes. And the list goes on. The most delightful aspect of all of this is that most of the content on the internet is created by the users, or, as it is officially referred to, is user-created content. You might have heard of the term before, or you might not have. But since you are here, you will learn all about user-created content. So, dive into the article to understand what it is and how it is beneficial to you.
What is it?
Let us assume that you liked a product so much that you discussed it on your social media. Not as a promotional tactic, because you did not receive any remuneration in return, but simply because the product truly appealed to you, and you felt that others should use it too.
Or, you bought a product from a small business on Instagram, and you noticed that the packaging is super cute and personalized. So you decided to make an unboxing video and shout out to the company for such great efforts in their packaging. Without even realizing it, you have created user-generated content for others to check out.
What user-generated content is, is clear from the name itself. It is any content created by the users themselves. It can come in any form, like pictures, videos, audio, or texts. The users create this content to create awareness about the products and the organizations that produce them.
Since the content is created by other consumers who have used the product themselves, the content is believed to be more authentic. Moreover, users don’t get paid for creating any of this content, so it does not fall under marketing campaigns. It is a truthful review or feedback by the customers favoring (or against) a specific brand or business.
Why is it important?
Now that we understand user-generated content, we should know why it is essential. When it comes to purchasing, consumers always look for a trustworthy and reliable product. For this purpose, brand advertisements are not enough. A brand will always showcase the best of its products without talking about the flaws. That makes it difficult for people to trust advertisements. This is where user-generated content comes in.
User-generated content is by the people, for the people, and of the people. Consumers who have already used the product put their thoughts and experiences on social media through pictures and texts. They might also talk about it on subreddits or wikis, contributing to user-generated content.
A brand or a business that incorporates user-generated content into its marketing strategies is more likely to win customers’ trust. The reason is if an individual is posting something on their social media about a product, it means they have been genuinely touched by the product or been impressed by it. To do that, the product has to be fantastic.
Remember that user-generated content is not paid content, so customers have no reason to lie or paint a rosy image of the product. They express the unadulterated truth, which lends this kind of content a highly authentic tone. This authenticity helps user-generated content shine because it sets it apart from any other type of content.
User-generated content is important because it brings the consumers into the limelight. Consumers feel that their voices are heard, and their opinions matter. Any business which gives importance to its customers would be able to garner a loyal customer base.
What are the benefits?
The popularity of user-generated content is not without reason. User-generated content comes with its own set of benefits. Listed below are some of the benefits of user-generated content, so you can decide for yourselves whether user-generated content deserves the hype it is getting or not.
✅Diversity in Content
Since the content is not being created by a single marketing team but by the consumers themselves, there is no fixed logic behind the content. Each consumer comes up with their ideas, which results in exciting and unique content, which customers highly appreciate because it breaks the monotony of coming across similar content. This helps you appeal to larger masses because not everyone likes the single ad format laid down by the marketing team. Having content from different kinds of people allows you to impress the various types of people.
✅Establishing Social Proof
If a brand has user-generated content to its name, it has social proof. Social proof is a psychological concept that believes humans tend to imitate other humans in a given situation. This means if one customer talks about their satisfaction from using a particular product, other customers would want to use it too because another fellow consumer has appreciated it.
Since user-generated content comes from the users themselves, they have used it beforehand. What they have experienced and what they think of the product is subjective and would vary with each user. This leads to a personalized approach to their content because they present the product to you in a way they perceive it. When a marketing team comes up with content, they are forced to develop something universal that all consumers can feel or experience. But users are not under any such obligations. Coming across user-generated content from different users would paint a picture of the product that is richer in detail as compared to a mere brand advertisement.
✅Engaging the Users
If you want to increase user-generated content for your brand, you can come up with campaigns. Various brands have asked users to share their product experiences with a certain hashtag. These campaigns not only bring in more content but also help in engaging with the users. Consumers feel heard, and your product gets further approval in the eyes of the audience.
✅Get Audience Feedback
User-generated content comes from the consumers themselves. Since they have no reason to present a good image of the product unless it is excellent, you can take it as feedback for your product. They point out the good features and the flaws in the product. You can use this feedback to improve your product further. Since the input comes from the consumers directly, there is no loss of information that would take place in a long chain of communication.
Today, Search Engine Optimisation is the way to go. When people present their queries to the internet, the solutions are displayed based on the search engine optimization behind the question. Search engines are optimized to display user reviews as a part of the results to improve authenticity. So, if your brand has user-generated content, it will work in your favor when they look you up on the internet.
Some examples of brands that are leveraging it
If user-generated content is so popular and cost-effective, it means brands are already using it to their advantage. Many brands use user-generated content to leverage their position in the consumer market. Here are some brands that use user-generated content to improve their image in the public eye.
You must have heard of the brand name, but you must have come across the various Doritos-themed memes that consumers put across from time to time. Doritos launched the site ‘doritoslegionofthebold.com’ to encourage users to create content using Doritos, and the results will leave you in splits.
✅Citizens of Humanity
This renowned denim brand started a campaign where users were asked to use the hashtag #weareallhumanity to post about the product. Every time that hashtag was used, the brand donated $10 to the UN refugee agency. They managed to create user-generated content, but they also successfully took care of their social responsibility and improved their image in the eyes of the customers.
Various other brands have used user-generated content to their advantage in recent years.
As you can see, we come across user-created content daily without even realizing it. User-created content gives consumers the power to learn from other consumers and make decisions accordingly. As a consumer, you are more likely to trust another fellow consumer, which is why you look for recommendations and reviews on the internet. If you are a consumer, and you genuinely like a product, go on the internet and talk about it via social media, blogs, or videos.
You would be helping many people choose a good product. If you are on the other side of the situation as a producer, you should look out for user-generated content for your product. That means you have to work hard and deliver an excellent product to appeal to the masses and compel them to create content for your product (of their own accord). Get a good marketing team that can quickly spot user-generated content for your product and put it to good use. No matter which end of the consumption chain you are on, user-generated content would help you.Tags: Brand strategy, branding, Branding Startegies, Content Marketing, User-Generated Content