User Generated Content: how to exploit them

Until a few years ago, the channels for finding information were quite limited: people, in order to get updates on facts, things, and/or people, flipped through newspapers, listened to the radio, watched TV, or had a chat in the store down the street.

Today everything has changed: not only can one be informed in real time, but it is also possible to know what one’s favorite singers, actors, models are doing thanks to photos, stories, reels and anything else posted personally on their social profiles.

But that’s not all: any doubts or perplexities can be solved by consulting Google, where someone will have already asked the same question and someone else will surely have already answered it, just as you can watch a video-tutorial on YouTube to learn a new recipe or to solve a PC problem.

In short, UGC, or User Generated Content, has now become so popular that anyone can consult, comment on, share and make use of it as they see fit. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, they became a means for people to feel connected to each other, less lonely, and with the ability to share experiences, ideas, and thoughts with other people even miles away.

he consequence seems quite clear: UGC prove to be a useful and interesting (as well as profitable) tool for all those companies wishing to increase their brand, attract the attention of new users and expand their business. Let’s find out how!

What are UGCs and why they are important

The definition of user generated content, UGC, is therefore very simple: it is content created and shared by a user not connected to a specific brand. A photo taken of a pizza and then posted on Instagram is also a UGC, as is a video shot on TikTok.

Every piece of content, once posted on a social channel, not only becomes available to everyone, but can generate interactions: comments, shares and likes, all ways to connect with the owner and follow their updates. Thus, a relationship of trust is created between the person who generates the content and the person who decides to follow it on its journey, a really interesting technique for brands, companies and businesses that want to leverage UGC for sales.

According to Global Web Index as many as 54 percent of potential customers use social media to find information about services and products before making a purchase; it follows that the end consumer trusts user-generated content (his peers) more than content provided by the brand itself.

How to use UGC to improve your business

Considering that UGC turns out to be so attractive to potential customers and consumers, it is extremely smart on the part of brands and companies to exploit them to their advantage. But how do you do this in the best possible way and, most importantly, in a strategically functional way? Here are 3 very useful tips:

1. Asking customers to leave reviews

The best UGC lies in reviews: as mentioned above, many people read the experiences of others before making a purchase, trusting those who have already tried a particular product/service. Regardless, then, of industry and business model, any brand should push its customers to review following their purchase.

One persuasion technique that works is to offer something in exchange for a review, whether it is a discount coupon or an accumulation of extra points (if there is a paper or virtual card), as well as the sending of a free sample or the opportunity to use a service for free for a limited time. Try it to believe it!

2. Rely on influencers

Influencer marketing has become critical in recent years, especially following the rise of social media such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Why? Because of their work, it is possible to leverage another person’s reach and audience to grow a brand.

This is a real evolution in the way a brand is sponsored: instead of paying a famous model or actor, perhaps hundreds of thousands of euros, to shoot a commercial to be broadcast on TV, you pay (definitely less) an Instagram or TikTok influencer to show the product to his or her followers.

If the content is created and disseminated by the influencers correctly, it can offer the brand with which they have established a partnership an incredible return in terms of both notoriety and economic revenue.

3. Targeting loyal customers

One of the greatest potentials of UGCs lies in their impact on developing a community around the brand, made up of passionate and loyal customers who strongly desire to show their gratitude to brands that fully meet their needs.

As a result, brands can leverage this loyalty by turning their supporters into genuine ambassadors who can speak for the company.

Here are some examples to better understand:

  • Google My Business, through its “Question Answered” feature, allows loyal and potential customers to ask and answer questions directly within the business record;
  • Amazon, following the same line, has added a similar function to the listings, where consumers can ask any question that can be answered by customers who have already bought and tried the relevant product.

The ultimate goal? To get reliable and, above all, unbiased answers directly from customers and not from the company. Of course, you can manage and monitor questions and answers and reach out to potential and loyal customers directly.

User generated content is a valuable tool for any brand that wants to expand its business, get known and touch people’s hearts. Just know how to make the best use of them, choosing the best channels and producing valuable content, and the results certainly won’t be long in coming!