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How to Use User-Generated Content in Marketing.

The success of any business is hinged on the business having a clear vision and also planning and executing effective marketing strategies. One of those effective marketing strategies is to use User-Generated Content in marketing.

UGC is basically self-defined. It is any content such as images, videos, text or audio distributed by users. It is most of the time generated via social media platforms. UGCs may or may not exist prior to running a campaign, however, using UGCs in campaigns often helps generate more UGCs.

One of the obvious or maybe not-so-obvious benefits of UGCs is that it gives your audience a sense of belonging. Customers like to feel acknowledged, they like to feel that you consider them a vital part of the business. So, involving them in marketing, and using their content will make them more likely to engage your content and product. 

Also, customers are likely to trust other customers before they trust any perfect ad you put out. It is easy to distrust that you will not offer what you promised, but when the promise is coming from another customer, you are likely to get them to respond faster. And since marketing is all about getting people interested in your goods and service, UGC remains an effective instrument in humanizing your promotions. It helps you to enhance consumer engagement, highlight social proof and even build an online community.

All the explanation above definitely begs the question, “how to use user-generated content in marketing” because you really could be doing it wrongly and not get the required result. So, in this post, I will be showing you some effective ways to use user-generated content in marketing to get optimal results. 


Effective Ways to Use User-Generated Content in Marketing

Identify Your Target Audience

One of the first things any successful business should do is to identify their target audience, which is basically the demographic they wish to attract. This simple step is also relevant for UGC. To ensure that your use of UGC gives the desired effect, you have to be able to determine who will be using your product. This step, if properly established, will help you make an accurate selection of who you should be speaking to and how to connect to them. You would be able to answer questions such as ‘what speaks to them?’, ‘how do I speak to them?’ and  ‘where can I effectively speak to them?’ 

Remember that what works for A might not work for B, so you need to identify what works for your target audience. You need to know what will get them to respond, what kind of content they would respond to and what kind of content you are likely to get from them. Having an answer to these questions will help you properly come up with a UGC strategy. 


Establish Your Goal

A rule of engagement with UGC is in the form of the question ‘what is the goal?’ This helps you not only recognise why you are doing it but also what you should be doing as well as what you should look out for when doing it. When you establish a goal, you are able to correctly visualize a strategic approach with your methods. With a goal in mind, you will be able to filter correctly, the reason you need UGCs. Are you looking to improve brand awareness, boost website conversion or simply educate more users? Either way, having a goal is crucial to ensure you are productive with the UGCs for your marketing campaign. 


Curate Content

Curating content, in this context, simply means having a collection system. By having a collection system, you keep things better organized. A great way to achieve this is to put in place a method that puts together UGCs. For example, you can dedicate a page or portal on your website where submissions for say, a contest can be entered. The outstanding submission(s) can then be used in your marketing campaign(s). This way, you can get a waiver and own the rights to the creative and intellectual rights of submissions. You can also harness free platforms such as Reddit, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Reviews and other sites where first-hand user reviews exist. This can help you make an informed decision on what to address/emphasize when planning your marketing campaigns.



Engage Your Audience

One rule of engagement everywhere – and definitely on social media – is that if you want your content to be engaged, you have to engage other people’s content. It is that simple and it works. If you want users to engage, you have to engage them as well. And the first place to start is by responding to their comments on your posts. Then, you need to practice adequate social listening, so you can respond when your brand is mentioned, positively or negatively. Engage and acknowledge a positive mention. And, seize the opportunity to straighten things out if negative or even build relevant content around it. Now, this doesn’t have to be for every mention but when you are intentional about responding to brand mentions, you give an impression that you are in tune with the needs of your audience. 

This way, when you actually need them to go out of their way to create content for you, they’d be more than interested to participate. Of course, sometimes, you might need to add incentives or create a competition that would interest them. But even if it’s just a social campaign that is fun, they’d be more inclined to participate if you are a brand that is known for engaging them. For example, a user on Twitter mentions a positive or even negative thing about your brand.  


Clarify Precisely What You Offer and What Will be Benefited

A dominant factor in the success of any form of marketing is what problem the product solves and how said product solves a problem. With that said, when using UGCs, always be honest about what users or participants (as the case may be) will be benefiting from their engagement with your marketing campaign. This not only publicizes your product or brand, but it also boosts engagement with said campaign. After all, the best kind of marketing is a satisfied user. Use this to your advantage.


Lawyer Up

And lastly, do not forget to look out for your legal safety. This is more of a friendly advice than a method. Now, there are some UGCs that don’t need legalities like in the case of trending hashtags or participating in a fun social media challenge. However, if it concerns intellectual property, then you need to sort out the legal aspects. 

For instance, if you organized a competition for writers to share their content with you and the content is going to end up being for the brand, you need to make that clear in the Terms and Conditions, so they know what’s at stake. That way, you’d be saving yourself a lot of stress. Because even if you win a suit, you don’t want that stain on your brand. So, you need to put that in mind when using UGCs in marketing. 

On a final note, what’s worth doing is worth doing well. Considering the benefits of using UGCs is to promote your brand, it is important that you do it well to get the best results.  


And that is a wrap on how to use UGCs in Marketing. Let us know in the comment section if you enjoyed reading this post. 


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