What is user generated content (UGC)? This refers to any content generated via a product or service and created by users. The meaning of UGC is often misinterpreted since these are not only reviews, as some people think, but also photos, blogs, videos on YouTube and posts on forums. What are the benefits of user generated content for a company in Dubai or any other part of the world? You can use it on social networks to promote your brand.
To understand what UGC is and its importance, let us analyze the behavior of modern consumers. Modern customers do not make purchases without prior research. Before they decide that they’d like to buy something, they go online and perform a little investigation. The size of your company doesn’t matter in this case. The goal of the consumer is to find out as much as possible about the product, its quality and the service they’re going to get. UGC is very convincing – customers have more trust in a website with UGC than without.
If there is too much negative UGC (i.e. negative reviews or posts) related to a UAE or international brand, the customer won't risk buying anything. Therefore, UGC directly influences your business decisions. You can outshine your competitors if you use it right.
The benefits of user generated content are numerous. First of all, it is free – you don’t have to pay customers for creating content. They are simply sharing their experience and opinion. Moreover, when you thank and encourage UGC, your clients will eagerly produce more. This leads to the growth of even more user generated content. The main benefits of UGC include:
- An increase in engagement levels;
- Raising credibility for your brand;
- Boosting your SEO;
- The growth of your conversion rates.
UGC leads to increased engagement as customers, whether they’re in Dubai or anywhere around the world, are more likely to trust other customers. Moreover, customers share UGC with friends and acquaintances with much more enthusiasm than the content produced by the company itself. There is an increase in the level of credibility as UGC makes your brand look more human. In the long run, its implementation leads to strengthening your relationships with clients. As for boosting your SEO, here’s some convincing data: the 20 biggest companies in the world say that 25% of their search results are actually user generated content.
UGC websites result in more organic traffic. UGC also increases the conversion; in some cases, the conversion rate can be up to 10%. All of the above-listed data suggest that brands should do their best to develop well-planned UGC strategies.
Why does UGC sometimes fail to help a business? Because too few companies in UAE and abroad develop clear strategies. With its immersive growth, user generated content does one very important thing for your brand – it gets customers talking about your company.
There are undeniable benefits to user generated content, but you won’t be able to experience them if you don’t have a strategy. There are things you have to know to make your UGC campaign successful. First and foremost, it is necessary to know what you want from the user generated content. You have to be very particular about your goals and objectives so that you know for sure which media platforms to use. Secondly, you will understand what kind of content you should try to get. Will Instagram UGC work for you, or should you focus on other consumer generated marketing examples?
Know your objectives – are you trying to increase the level of engagement or conversion rates? Or should you concentrate on raising awareness about your brand? The choice of social media platform is extremely important in this case. Sometimes the use of user generated media may not be appropriate. Please note that social media platforms are different and serve different purposes. Things that work on Twitter will not do for LinkedIn. Therefore, posting the same thing on several social media platforms might lead to a disaster.
UGC depends on the demographics of each particular social media platform. Your target audience in UAE or abroad is always of primary importance – therefore, concentrate on those networks where your potential customers “hang out.” There is nothing wrong with asking your customers to share user generated content and news. There are several ways to do this. One of the most common ones is to arrange a contest. People will share stories related to the brand in exchange for some kind of a reward. As a rule, customers are very enthusiastic about these contests.
Always be specific when you’re asking clients to share user generated content. There should be no confusion since it may influence the level of participation. You have to be very particular about the rules of participating in the contest you’re organizing. Since social media platforms are open to all, think it all over very carefully, including your hashtags – otherwise, you might simply fall victim to trolls. This will be very frustrating and will lead to a great waste of your time.
It is essential to know what type of user generated content you’re looking for. All of your hashtags should be easily trackable. Would you like your customers to share images or YouTube videos? Or are you looking for other consumer generated marketing examples? User generated content is also about building and strengthening your community. Your UAE or global brand will become recognizable due to UGC and your community.
UGC requires consistency and quality. One more important thing to do is to analyze what you’d like to spread across your channels. Not every kind of content deserves to be shared. Moreover, not all kinds of user generated content reflect the main mission and features of your brand. A UGC website should not be of average quality. What you should strive for is something extraordinary, something truly eye-catching. If you remain indifferent to a particular piece of user generated content, then customers will be apathetic, too. UGC should evoke emotions – this is your goal.
If you want to grow your user generated content, then you should acknowledge the people who share it. If someone has shared something truly remarkable, reward their efforts. Remaining unnoticed can insult your customers who spent their time to do something for your brand. Think of ways to acknowledge these people. Will a prize be enough?
One more thing to take care of is the availability of tools to share user generated content. You want your customers to share it, but have you created channels to make things smooth and easy for them? In fact, less than 20% of brands provide customers with adequate tools to create user generated content.
You also need to keep in mind that UGC is also about sharing stories. This is what truly raises brand awareness. You can share stories via YouTube, Instagram, or other kinds of social media. Storytelling, especially entertaining storytelling, is highly appreciated nowadays. It can help you outperform your competitors.
UGC is not only about content itself. It is also about building rapport and establishing connections. Apart from user generated content created by your customers, you can also think over the option of contacting one of the influencers working in your niche.
When you use UGC, make sure that your customers really need the kind of product you’re trying to sell. Don’t forget about the power of humor. The stories you share with the help of UGC websites and social media platforms should be warm, well-made, and positive. There are numerous examples of successful use of humor for raising brand awareness. Proper use of humor can help you significantly increase your sales. Try it out and see for yourself.
There are several very important questions you have to answer before developing a UGC strategy. You have to know if you aim to create content that would entertain people or inform them about something. You have to be aware of where your customers spend most of their time online regarding social media. Finally, be honest with yourself – how enthusiastic are your customers about creating user generated content and why?
Being able to answer all of these questions is the key to success. As soon as you do that, move on to the next level and start developing a UGC strategy. And if you want to have all insights on how to develop the winning strategy visit our social media course.
There is one more very important thing you have to remember – even if you don’t create this content yourself, it doesn’t mean that it should be of low quality. Only good quality user generated content will be effective. It has to be exciting and engaging. Your aim is to provoke a reaction and increase the level of customer involvement. If a particular type of user generated content doesn’t do that, do not use it. It should meet your main goal.
Brick and mortar businesses are still important, especially in terms of local entrepreneurship. However, the importance of e-commerce is constantly increasing. If you want to outrun your competitors, make good use of user generated content. There are many channels and platforms available for it. YouTube videos and Instagram posts are only some of the many consumer generated marketing examples out there.
The growing volume of user generated content does some very valuable things for you. It raises brand awareness, increases your credibility, and boosts customer involvement. However, remember that UGC can also be negative. This is part of the game. Do not neglect the necessity of developing a UGC strategy utilizing websites and social media platforms. Many great brands in UAE and around the world make great use of UGC and experience the benefits of user generated content.