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User Generated Content – How to Use it to Grow Your Business

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Brand building is what every business aspires for these days and User Generated Content delivers you just that. From a Twitter post to a customer review, everything that user posts online can be treated as a UGC waiting to be used by respective brands.

So, what do you mean by UGC first of all? UGC or User Generated Content is any type of content created by unpaid contributors by posting images, videos, reviews, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, etc. about your products and brand on social media platforms. People actually post these to maintain their own social media profiles but latently they do the act of promoting your brand, you can use social media aggregator tools to fetch, curate and display all of these user-generated content on your website or event together at one place!

Having said that, let’s learn how to utilize User Generated Content (UGC) in business marketing to grow your business to exponential heights.

CHOOSE THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM FOR YOUR UGC CAMPAIGN

It should be based on your target audience and the goals you want to achieve. Don’t just select Instagram because it is easier to post visuals there. Research and know where your target audience resides and where your potential advocates could have the most influence.

SET YOUR UGC SPECIFIC GOALS

Before you start your UGC campaign, you need to define your goals about what you want to achieve out of this campaign. A well-defined strategy takes you a long way while a wrongly played UGC campaign might result in your followers leaving you.

Some general goals that most of the marketers wish to achieve through a UGC campaign are increased user engagement, higher brand engagement, increased conversion rates, building brand trust, awareness and educating customers more about your brand, saving time and money on content creation, etc.

ASK FOR AND REWARD THE TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Everyone on social media loves being featured by a brand. This benefits not only your brand but also gives your contributor recognition in front of a larger audience. But how would they know if you won’t tell them?

Be clear and specific about the kind of content you want to display that resonates well with your brand. Also, strategize your content plan for the long term because it takes time for a UGC campaign to gain impetus and popularity. Frequently changing content plans would negatively impact your UGC campaign and also your brand image.

HUMANIZE YOUR CAMPAIGN, BUILD A COMMUNITY

Use your UGC campaign to align your brand with a current social issue that relates to your brand industry. The issue you choose could be social, ethical or any current one, but related to your industry. Humanize the non-human element of your brand. This marketing strategy has always proved itself in driving more user engagement whenever used.

You could also create a community with the help of a UGC campaign around the issue. As a community manager, you must create a persona that connects your brand with the potential customers and the existing customers advocating for it.

E.g. In 2014, An inspiring UGC campaign #AerieReal gained impetus when the brand refused to use photo editors to retouch the images of models in swimsuits. For every time, a user posted an unedited picture of them wearing a swimsuit, Aerie donated $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

ASK BEFORE YOU TAKE

Well, Basic Manners! Don’t take something without asking permission for it. That goes for UGC too. After all, it’s your user’s creation. You don’t own it. You can’t simply take images and later give credits to the site or photographer for it. That is simply wrong.

Asking for permission doesn’t necessarily mean that you would have to pay for every user-generated post. Just make sure you are in agreement with your users about using the content of their images. You could either work out an agreement or look for users who would voluntarily share their content with your brand in exchange for recognition.

SUMMARY

So what are you waiting for! Don’t miss the great opportunity to use UGC to engage more users around your brand and build a dedicated community out of it.

Carol Sobers
Carol is an enthusiastic content creator who loves to write anything and everything about social media and digital marketing. Follow her write ups here and do comment what you feel a bout them!

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