Today, modern-day marketers are increasingly veering towards content marketing as their preferred marketing tool.
However, the proliferation of the brand’s content in the form of sponsored content, influencer-generated content, sponsored Instagram posts, social media ads, etc., has made things difficult for both marketers and consumers.
It has become difficult for marketers to differentiate their brands in the large volume of available content and to convey a sense of authenticity. Consumers, too, find it challenging to navigate through the mass of content to make a purchasing decision.
In such a scenario, User Generated Content (UGC) enables marketers to be authentic and establish a connection with the consumer. It has the potential to be the future of marketing and connecting with the consumer in a meaningful and authentic manner.
What is User Generated Content?
It is produced by an unpaid user and posted on social media sites.
The brand’s followers/buyers generate content and post it on platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, company blogs, its website, etc.
The content could be in the form of text, pictures, audio clips, and videos. Zomato is an apt example of a brand that leverages UGC to build trust and drive up consumer engagement and sales.
Notably, UGC connects better with other potential consumers because it comes across as more authentic than the content put out by the marketer.
For example, positive reviews on products by customers on Amazon have a greater impact on a customer’s purchasing decision than advertising by the seller.
Another example is that of travel websites that display consumer ratings and reviews of hotels. Such UGC helps customers assess their choice of available hotels and pick the one best suited to their needs.
Who uses UGC?
Usually, the UGC strategy is launched by a marketer. She/He/Them invites consumers to share content about a specific product/service.
This content can be posted on social media sites. The company can use it to aid its marketing efforts.
In addition to being extremely effective, it is also extremely low cost since it costs the brand nothing to produce.
Interestingly, UGC works well for B2B businesses as well. Employee-generated content enjoys greater engagement and tends to be shared more as compared to the content created by the company itself.
Such content, generated without any compensation, is perceived as being more authentic.
Why is User-Generated Content the Future?
User-generated content builds greater engagement because it helps a brand foster a sense of community within the audience that consumes the content.
This community of potential consumers perceives a feeling of kinship with the brand via the content’s message.
The brand, in turn, is presented with the opportunity of nurturing the consumers in this community until they are ready to make the purchase.
This is a more effective path to a successful sale than delivering some curated content that will not generate the same level of engagement with the consumer.
Such content is more authentic than brand-generated content, which is perceived as being motivated.
A study shows that 57% of consumers think brands do not produce authentic content. The same study also found that for 86% of consumers, the brand’s authenticity is the most critical factor determining their purchasing decision.
Also, 60% of the respondents in the study felt that user-generated content is more authentic, whereas only 20% of the responses favoured brand-generated content.
Consumer preferences are constantly changing. It, therefore, does not make sense for marketers to try and second guess what consumers want and then create content to appeal to those perceived consumer preferences.
It would be more prudent to rely on consumers to generate content. This is likely to be more closely aligned with consumer preferences.
UGC can be an especially powerful marketing tool for startup firms because of the zero or low associated costs.
The brand’s credibility is enhanced since the consumers are promoting without being paid to do so. This accords social validation to the brand.
Traditionally, marketers and advertisers enjoy low levels of trust with consumers. On the contrary, UGC created by a fellow consumer, without any compensation, evokes greater trust and has a higher chance of triggering a purchase.
Things to Watch Out For
It can be a slippery slope. UGC is often confused with Influencer Generated Content (IGC). A brand pays for IGC.
When content is paid for, ASCI regulations stipulate that disclosure of the fact be made in the content. Consumers are suspicious of paid/sponsored content because they are not sure if the opinion expressed by the influencer via the content is genuine.
In addition, there is no control by the brand over the quality/content of the message being posted. If the quality is poor or the messaging is negative, it adversely impacts the brand’s image.
TagMango helps brands and creators navigate the challenges of creating and using UGC. TagMango is a SaaS platform that helps creators monetise through online workshops and courses. Subscribers of the Creators on the platform share their testimonials and experiences of the workshop or the course they attended. This helps build the credibility of the Creator and add authenticity to their craft and content.
To sum it up,
- UGC is an integral part of all future marketing campaigns across industries.
- The power of user-generated brand content flows from the sense of community that it helps build.
- This sense of community drives first-time as well as repeat purchases.
- It helps marketers reach a wider audience by being authentic and trustworthy.
At TagMango, we aim for just that and more! Our Creators enjoy the freedom to create content. And their subscribers leave raving reviews of how a certain workshop or course enriched their lives.
You can begin your Creator journey on the platform. Create a workshop or sell a pre-recorded course that will add value to your community. And, in turn, help you monetise your expertise.
Edited by Rachna Srivastava