Crowdsourced Creativity: The Power of User-Generated Content
2021-04-13==================================2021-04-13========================April 13, 2021
As businesses grow day by day, they are always searching for new ways to connect with their customers and keep them happy. You might have heard about something called “User-Generated Content” or UGC, which is a bit like when your friends share their thoughts or pictures on social media feeds.
Well, businesses are doing something similar. They ask their customers to share their thoughts, photos, or videos about the products or services they use. You can simply call it feedback. But the big question is, how does it help? Does it really do something for your business?
In this article, we’ll learn more about how UGC helps businesses and how you can encourage customers to create UGC.
So, let’s get started — hey, wait, it’s pretty simple!
What is User-Generated Content?
“User-Generated Content, is a content created by users like you and me on the internet. It can be in the form of pictures, videos, words, or even just a sentence”, explains Graham Grieve, Scottish Travel Blogger at My Voyage Scotland in an email interview. For example, imagine you run a coffee shop, and when one of your customers shares a picture on Instagram Feed, Facebook Feed, or send snaps to their friends – that’s UGC.
Or think about when you read reviews before buying something online – that’s also UGC.
Now, you might wonder, why is it important? Well, when we see real people sharing their thoughts and experiences, it feels trustworthy. It’s a bit like asking a friend for advice because you know they’re not trying to sell you something.
Businesses love UGC because it’s like their customers telling everyone how great their products or services are. It’s like free advertising from happy customers — not words from a company trying to sell something.
Now, let’s learn about the types of User-Generated Content (UGC).
Types of User-Generated Visual Content
There are various types of User-Generated Visual Content. Here are some types you can watch:
1. Customer Photos
Customer Photos, a type of User-Generated Content (UGC), are images shared by everyday people who have used a product or experienced a service. These photos provide a genuine peek into how customers integrate a brand into their lives.
When asked, Ritika Asrani, Owner and Broker of Century21 St Maarten Real Estate, shares, “When someone shares a snapshot of themselves enjoying a meal at a restaurant, wearing new shoes, or using a newly purchased gadget, it’s an example of UGC in the form of customer photos.”
2. Product Videos
Product Videos, another category of User-Generated Content (UGC), consists of videos created by ordinary individuals showcasing their experiences with a product or service. These videos serve as practical demonstrations or personal testimonials — providing potential customers with valuable insights.
“Visual storytelling through UGC not only humanizes a brand but also bridges the gap between consumer skepticism and trust. When real users share their genuine experiences, it resonates more deeply than any polished advertisement ever could”, says Emily Watson, Chief of Marketing at Funky PINS.
For example, when someone records a video unboxing a new gadget, demonstrating its features, or sharing their thoughts on how a product has improved their daily life, it falls under UGC as a product video. In addition, check out how to create a video marketing strategy to boost sales.
3. Reviews and Ratings
Reviews and Ratings are part of User-Generated Content (UGC) — where people share their opinions and give scores about products or services. It’s like when you ask your friends if they liked a movie and they tell you if it’s good or not.
“Reviews have become our virtual word of mouth. They hold the power to influence decisions, shape perceptions, and build trust in a brand, all based on the shared experiences of fellow consumers”, says Sumeer Kaur, Founder of Lashkaraa.com. For example, when you’re thinking about buying something online, and you see stars and comments from other people who bought it, that’s Reviews and Ratings, and it’s UGC. Businesses really like this UGC because it helps other customers decide if they should buy something. It’s like getting advice from lots of friends at once.
Graphics in User-Generated Content are like digital artwork that regular folks create and share online. These graphics can be anything from stunning illustrations to informative infographics or even funny memes. People make graphics to express themselves, share information, or just have some fun.
“UGC graphics stand out as genuine expressions of creativity and sentiment. They are the heartbeat of online communities, reflecting the zeitgeist and fostering connections through shared humor, insights, and passions”, says Nathan Evans, Co-founder & CXO at FICTIV.
For example, imagine someone sharing a meme about their love for coffee. It could have a funny picture and some witty words. That’s a UGC graphic! It helps them express their feelings and connects with others who share their coffee enthusiasm.
Graphics are versatile. They can explain complex ideas in a simple way, making them great for tutorials or educational content. Plus, they catch our attention quickly because, well, pictures speak louder than words sometimes.
Screenshots in User-Generated Content (UGC) are like digital snapshots of what someone sees on their computer or phone screen. It’s like taking a quick picture of what’s happening on your device. People use screenshots to share interesting or important things they’ve found online with others.
“In a digital world that never stops scrolling, screenshots are our way of saying, ‘Wait, look at this!’ They’re the pause button for moments worth sharing.”, says Steven Seth, Digital Marketer at Loft Insulation Grant.
Let’s say you come across a hilarious conversation on social media or a helpful step-by-step guide. You can take a screenshot to capture that moment and then share it with your friends or followers. That’s UGC through screenshots.
How to leverage User-Generated Content creation?
Encouraging customers to create User-Generated Content (UGC) can be a fantastic way to boost engagement and build trust. Here are some simple and effective strategies to get your customers involved:
- Ask nicely
Ask nicely means being friendly and polite when you want your customers to share User-Generated Content (UGC). It’s like saying, “Hey, if you have a moment, we’d love to hear what you think about our products or see how you use them in photos.” In fact, Kyle Mills, Client Experience Director at Fire Warden Training, says “Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge and a warm smile to get someone to share their story.” When you’re friendly and respectful, people are more likely to be happy to share their thoughts or experiences.
- Create Contests or Challenges
Hosting contests or challenges is an exciting way to encourage User-Generated Content (UGC). You can set up fun competitions where participants submit their UGC entries for a chance to win prizes.
“Who doesn’t love a good challenge? Stir up the pot, throw in some prizes, and watch the magic of UGC unfold!”, says Brandon Armstrong, CEO of Quinable Inc. People enjoy a bit of friendly competition, and it motivates them to get creative and engaged with your brand.
- Share UGC Stories
Sharing User-Generated Content (UGC) stories means showcasing what your customers are saying and doing with your product or service. It’s like letting others see the cool things people are experiencing. By highlighting real-life UGC examples, you inspire more customers to share their own stories. As Tiffy Cu, Travel Blogger at Asiatravelbug, says, “Stories are the threads that weave us together. By showcasing them, we’re not just building a brand; we’re building a community.”
- Use Hashtags
Think of hashtags as labels for your User-Generated Content (UGC). When you create a unique hashtag related to your brand or campaign, it’s like giving everyone a common tag to find and share content. As Cole Vineyard, CEO and Founder of Teach Simple, explains, “Think of hashtags as the secret handshake of the digital world. It’s our way of saying, ‘Hey, you’re part of the club!” For example, if you’re a coffee shop, you might have #MyCoffeeMoments. It helps organize and spread UGC — making it easier for others to discover and join in the conversation. You can visit here to learn the art of YouTube hashtags.
- Offer Incentives
Incentives are like rewards for your customers when they create content. It’s saying, “Hey, if you share your thoughts or photos, we’ll give you something cool in return!” These rewards could be discounts, exclusive access, or even recognition. Incentives motivate people to participate because they get something valuable in exchange for their UGC. Michael Hess, at Code Signing Store, says, “A little ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Whether it’s a discount or a shoutout, it’s our way of celebrating the creators among us.” And it’s a win-win — they’re happy, and your brand gets more engaging content.
- Make It Easy
Making it easy is all about simplifying the process for your customers to create content. “Life’s complicated enough. Sharing your story? That should be the easy part.”, says Eric Eng, CEO & Founder of AdmissionSight. It’s like saying, “We’ve made it simple for you to share your thoughts or photos — no complications!” Provide clear instructions and user-friendly tools, so they don’t feel confused or frustrated. When it’s effortless, more people will be willing to join in and share their experiences with your brand.
- Engage and Respond
“When customers share their content, it’s best to engage with them and respond. It means having a friendly conversation.”, says Katie Devoe, Co-Founder & CEO at CBD Nationwide. Reply to their comments, show appreciation for their contributions, and make them feel heard. When you actively participate in the UGC conversation, it encourages others to get involved too.
- Tell Them Why
Explain to your customers why their content matters. Let them know the value it brings. When people understand why their contributions are important, they’re more likely to participate. Adam Fard, Founder & Head of Design at Adam Fard UX Agency, says, “Everyone wants to be part of something bigger. By sharing the ‘why,’ we’re inviting them to be part of our journey, our story.”
It’s like showing them the bigger picture, saying, “Your UGC helps others learn more about good things if you believe our products benefit them.” This clarity and purpose can motivate more customers to share their thoughts and experiences with your brand.
These are some simple tips that you can follow to leverage content creations. Now, let’s move on to learn what the benefits of content are.
The Benefits of User-Generated Visual Content
Content provides several benefits to any business, such as creating authenticity, increasing engagement, and building trust, among others. Here are some key benefits of using UGC for business:
1. Authenticity: Content is the real deal because it’s made by regular customers, not the brand itself. Think of it as your friends giving honest opinions. When you see photos, reviews, or videos from everyday people using a product or service, it feels trustworthy.
For example, if you’re going to buy a new phone and you see photos and reviews from people who already have it, you know it’s not just the company saying it’s great — real people are vouching for it. This realness in UGC builds trust and gives you a more accurate picture of what the brand offers.
2. Increased engagement: UGC can boost engagement by inviting customers to join in on the brand’s marketing efforts. It’s like an open invitation to be part of something. This creates a sense of community around the brand and deepens the relationship with customers. When people share their experiences, more people find the brand valuable — increasing the chances of new customers joining and encouraging existing customers to stay connected.
3. Cost-effectiveness: It is a cost-effective way for businesses to acquire high-quality content. Unlike professionally created content, UGC is generated by engaged customers, leading to significant savings in time and resources. It allows businesses to tap into the experiences, reviews, and testimonials of satisfied customers, reducing the need for in-house content creation. UGC offers authentic insights and fosters trust among potential customers — helping companies establish a credible online presence without excessive costs.
4. Increase conversion rate and revenue: It is a proven way to increase sales in online stores. It helps build trust with customers because they see real people sharing their thoughts and showing products. This means fewer people will be unhappy with their purchases and return them. By using UGC, businesses can get more people to buy their stuff online, which means more money for them.
5. Enhanced Online Visibility: It is a practical way to get your brand seen by more people online. UGC can be easily shared on social media, review sites, and other places on the internet. When customers share their thoughts, it helps your brand reach more folks who might not have heard of it otherwise. This expanded visibility not only makes more people aware of your brand but also creates chances for growth and interaction. You can also check social media marketing strategies to enhance your brand awareness.
6. Improved SEO: It can give a nice boost to your brand’s SEO. When people create fresh and relevant content, it can help your brand appear higher in search results. This means more people can find your brand when they’re searching online. UGC brings a steady stream of new material that search engines like, ultimately improving your brand’s visibility on the web.
7. Deeper Customer Insights: It serves as a valuable resource for businesses seeking to understand their customers better. Through the analysis of UGC, companies can access a wealth of information about customer opinions, preferences, and behaviors. This rich data isn’t just informative; it’s a goldmine for shaping marketing tactics and product improvements.
Accountant Glasgow concludes “content, is a powerful tool for businesses to increase their reach and build trust with customers. It consists of content created by regular customers, not professionals, often shared on social media or other platforms.” It offers authenticity, fostering trust and deeper connections with customers. It’s also cost-effective, bypassing the need for expensive content creation. Businesses can follow simple tips to boost UGC, like hosting contests, adding UGC stories, or using hashtags. UGC content not only increases brand reach but also contributes to revenue growth.
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