How to Drive Organizational Change With User Generated Content in 2021
User generated content (UGC) is becoming one of the most popular marketing tools to date. As this form of created content continues to grow, it’s becoming harder to ignore its impact on consumer behaviors and motivations. For example, in a 2020 study, 79% of consumers said that user generated content impacts their purchasing decisions. And in the same survey, consumers also shared that they find a UGC strategy 10x more impactful than influencer marketing efforts. Given that it’s a significant influence on consumers, you can’t help but wonder — what is all the buzz around user generated content?
We’ll explain what UGC is, why it’s an important marketing strategy for business growth, and how to leverage the insights to improve your organization's performance.
What is user generated content?
User generated content is any content — text, review sites, images, and videos — created by a brand’s shoppers, according to Hootsuite. UGC can be your friend's Instagram stories of their favorite Starbucks drink or a detailed restaurant review on Yelp. It can take many forms across the internet.
Why is user generated content important for business growth?
As social media platforms played a bigger role in our lives, they also became a vehicle that has driven increased user-generated content. With UGC becoming clear across many channels, we have also recognized brands benefiting from a strong UGC campaign. These benefits include:
Build brand authenticity
Brand authenticity plays a critical role in driving business growth. About 86% of consumers say that authenticity shapes what brands they support. Also, Remesh data showed that 70% of consumers don't interact with branded content because they find it hard to connect. It’s no secret that brand authenticity can increase a brand's value and profitability.
Strengthen brand awareness organically
88% of U.S. consumers trust brand recommendations by their family and friends. UGC is an innovative way for your consumers to put your product before their family and friends. You can do this through hashtag campaigns, referrals, and more.
Improve social media engagement
User generated content can also boost your organization's engagement within a social network. UGC campaigns can drive engagement by requiring followers to interact with social media posts.
Departmental impact of UGC insights across your organization
Like customer insights, UGC insights help you understand what your customers think. These insights also reveal white space opportunities to improve your business strategy. But who exactly can enjoy obtaining these insights? Here’s a deeper look at three teams within your organization that can leverage UGC data:
Search engine optimization (SEO) and user generated content insights go together like bread and butter. 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are links to user generated content. So this can also be a great addition to your link building strategy. Integrating UGC into your SEO strategy can also boost your rankings and visibility. You can put in place review pages, testimonials, or general chat forums on your website. Here, customers can share content with related keywords, which improves your rankings. Also, customer content on these channels reveals keyword gaps. Performing a keyword gap analysis on their content can reveal profitable keyword opportunities.
As before mentioned, customer reviews are a powerful source for marketing teams to enhance their SEO strategies, but that’s not all. Customer reviews can also be a great source for uncovering new target markets and product use cases.
To illustrate this idea, take a look at the contact lens solution above. When you think of how consumers use this product, you may think of rinsing, storing, and cleaning contact lenses. While that’s true, it’s not the only use case.
In this next photo, we can see a customer product review. Here, the customer does not mention rinsing, storing, cleaning contact lenses anywhere. Instead, the customer shares how they used the solution to create slime — a popular homemade children's toy. We can begin to understand two things from this example. First, the contact solution has a new use case that’s far removed from its original design. And second, contact solution has entered a new market — children’s entertainment and crafts.
So how does this affect the bottom line? As the age-old saying goes, you’re now “killing two birds with one stone.” Thanks to this review, customers looking to create slime can find it valuable. The product diversified and entered a new market without you lifting a finger. Sales teams can also pitch the product’s values to prospects by leveraging this new use case into a sales tool.
User generated content is also a valuable tool for product development. UGC is filled with rich and actionable insights that innovation teams can use to enhance their product. They can analyze customer feedback reviews to address opportunities for product development.
In this customer review of a protein shake, the customer shared that they add cinnamon or nutmeg to their shake to develop a more “Fall-like taste.” Additionally, 75 people found the customer’s review to be helpful. With the aid of these insights, product teams can uncover new opportunities for product ideas where there’s already a demand.
In this customer review for water balloons, we see that the customer was dissatisfied with the product. This is due to the product's lack of durability. Negative reviews are harmful to the business, as they chase away prospective customers. In fact, Forbes reports that negative reviews made 94% of consumers avoid a particular product. But, negative feedback does not mean your business is bad but rather learning opportunities to ease improvement.
In this case, product teams should survey existing negative customer reviews for opportunities to learn the shortcomings of their products post-market. Negative feedback can offer insight into improving your product or service while uncovering and resolving key consumer pain points.
User generated content is on the rise. In fact, research shows that in 2020 alone, it’s been estimated that 1.7MB of data was created every second for every person on earth. And by 2025, it’s predicted that 464 exabytes of data will be created each day globally — equal to nearly 213 million DVDs per day!
We learned that UGC is much more than a photo of a friend's favorite Starbucks drink. Instead, it’s a valuable marketing tool that can drive impact across your organization.
As consumers continue to play an active role in the product journey, businesses must take advantage of the unmistakable benefits of honing UGC and establishing new and deeper relationships with consumers.
Learn how you can optimize your customer insights with artificial intelligence using our free resource guide below!