If you’ve looked into marketing options and best practices for your retail business, you may have seen the term “user generated content” being tossed around quite a bit. For retailers and small businesses, leveraging user generated content is a great way to grow your marketing and sales for little, to no cost.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content (UGC) is defined as any type of content including videos, photos, blogs, tweets, etc. that has been created and published by unpaid contributors. In the case of retail, this would be content created by your customers. This can range to Instagram photos of featuring your new line of summer wear, or Facebook Live video of your bath bomb dissolving to create the most relaxing bath time.
Now the question to ask is: Do user generated marketing campaigns actually work? The short answer is yes!
Improved Brand Engagement
- Brand engagement increases 28% when user-generated content is used in product videos.
New Consumer Buy-In
- 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.
Increased Conversion with UGC
- Shoppers who interact with UGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not.
More Trustworthy Content
- 43% of people are more likely to purchase a new product when they have learned about it through social channels or from friends and family.
Organic vs. Driven UGC
Now that you know what user generated content is and have seen some statistics to back up the benefit of UGC campaigns, let’s talk about what it can do for your brand. Leveraging UGC on social media portrays that your brand is so likable, that people want to promote it themselves.
Sometimes UGC comes from different motives. Many brands will hold a photo contest in order to leverage user generated content, whereas others generate it more naturally.
For example, if you follow any millennial females on Instagram, you may have seen the famous red bathing suit post that “broke the Internet”. Sunny Clothing Co. saw the opportunity to make their Instagram post go viral by posting a photo of a woman in a red bathing suit with the caption telling their followers that they can get that same bathing suit for free by reposting the photo and tags Sunny Clothing Co.
For an SMB retailer, this is a genius way to organically boost your social media following and take advantage some free user-generated marketing. It was in fact so genius, that the company underestimated the success of the post. They ended up with so many responders that they had to put a limit on the number of red bathing suits they could give away.
Personalization and Contests
Coca-Cola, on the other hand, found a more subtle way to run their UGC campaign. Within the past year or so, you may have noticed that Coke began putting people’s names on their bottles.
You may have even found yourself searching through to find a Coke bottle with your own name on it.
So how is this campaign helping to create user generated content? We live in a digital age where everything and anything we do gets posted to Facebook, sent in a Snapchat, posted to Instagram, or even sent to a group chat on iMessage. And for some funny reason, people love finding their name on things!
With the combination of that and our obsessions with sharing our day-to-day tasks on social, Coke created a wildly successful UGC campaign.
How to Leverage UGC
Before you go off and launch your very own UGC campaign, there are first a few questions you will need to ask yourself. Do you want to drive the UGC? Do you have the budget to give away prizes for top posts? Will the content generated by your customers be consistent with your brand?
Creating Campaigns that Live On
It’s important to remember that leveraging user generated content can be as simple as using a social media monitoring tool to see when your customers are talking about your brand, or it can be as complex as starting an entire UGC campaign like Sunny Clothing Co. or Coca-Cola.
While Sunny Clothing Co.’s UGC campaign was very successful, it was also very short lived, as it was only a one-day contest. Coke, on the other hand, is going on their second summer of their “Share a Coke” campaign.
Elevating your Bottom Lines with UGC
It is important look at your goals and why you want to leverage UGC, and how your business can benefit from it.
If your business needs to increase brand awareness and trustworthiness or targets Millennials or GenZ, UGC is a good fit.
In fact, UGC content may drive more ROI and help you as an independent merchant than more traditional approaches.
UGC can work wonders increasing brand advocacy and resonating with your audience, while boosting those bottom line revenues and sales as a retailer. Try a UGC campaign for yourself, and grow word-of-mouth referrals and your retail business more authentically!
Brianna Moriarty is the Marketing Communications Associate for Star Micronics with a focus in content creation and social media marketing. She frequently writes content to help small businesses build their marketing strategy and social media presence. Outside of her writing, Brianna enjoys traveling, music, fitness, and lots of coffee. LinkedIn | Twitter