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With the advent of social media, brand marketing has changed radically. Marketing campaigns are no longer limited to brand-created content, and consumers not only utilize but often rely on user-created work to determine what products, services, and brands they follow. The introduction of user generated content means there are new ways to market your brand.

What Is User Generated Content?

User generated content refers to any work that is created not by brands but by users. It can include text, videos, images, reviews, or anything else. Whenever someone who is not part of a brand posts any type of content about a product or service, it’s UGC.

Why Is UGC Important?

People generally trust work that’s user-created over material created by brands because it comes across as more authentic. People naturally want what others have, so it’s more likely someone will purchase a product or service if real people are talking about their experiences with it.

What’s more, people enjoy creating and sharing content, and the majority of creators of this type of work are willing to let brands use their material for marketing purposes. In addition, users are more likely to engage with brands that utilize this material in their marketing.

How Can You Encourage UGC?

The first step to using other peoples’ work in a marketing campaign is to get users to create it in the first place. They won’t create any content if they’re not engaged with the brand. If you already have some presence on social media, such substance may come more easily. If you don’t yet have a community that favors your brand, you’ll need to reach out and create one.

To create a presence conducive to user generated content, engage with the customers or clients who use your brand. Take part in discussions that relate to your products. If people find they can rely on you for advice, this can be a basis for requesting more material for your campaign.

Why Would People Create UGC?

To get UGC, you need to create an incentive for others to make it, and make it often. This means incentives that are repeatable and consistent. Doing big giveaways and contests may help in the short term, but these are neither sustainable nor do they allow for consistent production of UGC.

A simple discount on items is an incentive that’s more likely to work. Provide this bonus to people who leave you constructive feedback and they’re more likely to create UGC. You may have to scale back the incentives later, but the hard part is getting the initial surge of material. More will be easier to come by once you’ve established a foothold for your brand.

What If You Get Negative UGC?

While glowing reviews promoting your brand is great, you’re likely to get some negative user generated content, too. Negative content doesn’t have to be bad for your brand, however. By engaging with the criticisms and addressing and showing appreciation for them while explaining that you’ll do better in the future, you can turn around negative posts into something that reflects positively on your brand.

Should You Ask Permission Before Using UGC?

Since hashtags can be used for a variety of reasons, any material that has the hashtag is not necessarily meant to be used in a marketing campaign. Always ask permission before using it. Utilizing any content that users don’t intend to be used by you is a surefire way to get on users’ bad sides and harm trust in your brand.

Asking permission also demonstrates that you appreciate the work someone has created and helps avoid any copyright problems.

How Should You Go About Sharing UGC?

Always give credit to the original creator of the work when you’re using it for your purposes, and make sure the credit is obvious and easily noticed. Specifically identify what type of material that user created for you to share, whether it’s images, videos, or words.

Take care of the little details that matter to users when you share their content on other platforms. Check how the creators of the work want to be credited if you’re sharing a photo from Instagram on Facebook. If they have a Facebook page, they may want you to credit that instead.

Going out of your way to make the creators of user generated content happy is infinitely worth it, as they will be more inclined to create marketing materials in the future.

How Specific Should You Be About Types of UGC?

UGC creators typically want you to share their content, so it helps to be specific about what it is you’re looking for. This is beneficial for both the creators of the work and your brand and helps you get the exact type of substance you want. Not all UGC is equally useful for your brand, so have a strategy in mind for your marketing campaign.

Is Social Media the Only Place To Find UGC?

There is likely more user generated content for you to use than just what’s under a given hashtag. A lot of great material isn’t tagged at all. Use a search stream to find work that isn’t tagged.

While these creators may be less likely to agree for their material to be used by you, it doesn’t hurt to ask permission. If they say yes, let them know the hashtag you would like them to use in the future.

Does UGC Have Other Uses Besides Marketing Campaigns?

Even if you find material that doesn’t work for marketing purposes, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it. User-created work at its core is feedback about your brand. You can learn new things about your product and see how your product is being used; it might be in unexpected ways.

Pay attention to the nuances of the content you find. The kind of language creators use can offer hints as to how your brand or product is perceived, which may not match your expectations. Check hashtags that are commonly used in addition to your UGC hashtag and look for any extended communities of which you may be unaware.

How Can You Start Using User Generated Content for Your Marketing?

Because user generated content is more effective than brand-created material to promote your product, it can be exceptionally useful for marketing purposes. If you’re interested in using UGC for your brand, contact us at MatchPoint Studio to get started.