user-generated content, social media marketing, social commerce, engagement

How can user-generated content help your social media marketing campaign?

If you are running a social media marketing campaign, no doubt you’ve come across the idea of user-generated content. It can be very helpful to a social media marketing campaign and takes a bit of work off of the hands of social media managers. But what is user-generated content, and can you encourage it?

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is content that serves your purposes but is created by your users. Think of a book review on TikTok or a product placement in an Instagram post. People weigh in with mentions of your brand or products, without the input of a commission, separating it from affiliate marketing. These users might simply like your product and want to recommend it, they might be pitching for an affiliate deal (you often hear YouTuber’s saying, “I use this all the time, sponsor me please”, for example), or they might just need content for the day. No matter the cause, at the heart of it is usually an endorsement of the product or brand in question.

User-generated content can come from customers, like the mention of a product in their content, brand loyalists, who are long-standing fans, and employees who might create products around the story of your brand, like the team and production process.

Why is user-generated content important?

User-generated content serves a lot of purposes. The first has already been alluded to, in that it is an endorsement that comes for free, but are there other benefits?

Well, for one thing, user-generated content is considered very authentic. In all the examples given, the creator genuinely enjoys the product, enough to recommend it to a wider audience. This allows the user consuming the content to really have faith in the product. The most valuable words that can be uttered in the same content are “Not a sponsor”.

Authenticity is particularly important today due to the internet’s general dismissing of big influencers. The “fake it ‘til you make it”, “swag” and “lifestyle” cultures are going out as TikTok rises with their influencers that are performing out of their bedrooms in their pajamas. Big influencers, complete with scandals and scams on their fans in their history are being seen as very disingenuous, and therefore not to be trusted when it comes to recommendations. User-generated content solves this problem by making it clear that there is no monetary reason for these users to boost your brand.

User-generated content is also very good at generating a conversation, which in turn becomes a community, and soon you have an army of followers backing your brand, creating brand loyalty. A few posts that feature the piece spark conversations in the comments that outline why the user likes the product and why they buy it, which will soon turn into brand loyalty from an engaged community. It means people from all over the internet are engaging rather than just your core demographic.

It also works hand-in-hand with social commerce. A lot of users since 2020 have turned to not only finding what they want to buy on social media but also buying it from social media. With the introduction of Instagram shops to profiles and tagged products, this is easier than ever. User-generated content can create organic buzz around a product and direct users to where they can buy it in the same post.

How can you encourage user-generated content?

You can encourage user-generated content in a number of ways. The simplest is asking. Set your followers a challenge to fulfill, like “how do you use [insert product]?”, “What’s your favourite [brand] lipstick colour?”, etc.

Or you can reach out to established content creators for more high-quality content. Engagement creates engagement so once you get going you’ll

Once you’ve got that ball rolling, you can use user-generated content to fill any gaps in your content calendar. Share user-generated content as proof that your brand does have a loyal following, does work, and is worth it, “but don’t take our word for it…!”

However, be aware that consent is mandatory and you will have to ask permission to use the content and you should be crediting the original creator. This is just as useful to you, as your profile will then show up in their tagged content.

To push it to the next level, give out guidelines on what you’re looking for in user-generated content. It will establish a standard for what you’re willing to share and users will feel better knowing exactly what they need to do to get a share.

If you are interested in more information on all things affiliate marketing and social media marketing, take a look at our blog or book a free call with a member of our team for a more personalized experience.

Or to dive right into the best marketing advice, get your tickets to the Elevate Summit in June.

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