By definition, user-generated content is any material that is created by consumers or advocates. Mostly anything that a user brings to life online, whether it’s a social media post or blog entry to name a few examples, can be categorized as UGC. In terms of digital media, it began life during the 1990s, as message boards were becoming popular. Since then, this type of content has expanded to include other forms of media. For any business – and any digital marketing agency will agree – user-generated should be emphasized.
As the world starts to shift away from COVID, which has impacted businesses in different ways, businesses would be wise to focus on user-generated content. In fact, there’s a strong likelihood that the businesses in question have benefited from UGC during this period. If a user purchased a product and left a glowing review afterward, it would make a difference in terms of others making the same purchase. Shoppers have become more conscious of their budgets, meaning that they will only complete meaningful transactions. UGC is imperative in this regard.
Before discussing specific examples of user-generated content, it’s important to look at the benefits it offers. In other words, why should businesses utilize this form of content? Among others, here are a few key points to consider:
- User-generated content provides consumer insight. One of the main reasons why this type of content matters is how it helps businesses learn about their audiences. Case and point, if followers of a Twitter account share similar content, whether in regard to photos or articles, the business associated with said account can shift their digital advertising efforts accordingly. This level of insight is nothing short of invaluable.
- User-generated content is viewed as reliable. Another reason to focus on UGC is its reliability. Keep in mind that the average shopper, especially online, will make purchases based on the experiences of others. If they see that a laptop has been rated at four and a half stars, they’re likely to purchase it over a computer with only three stars. Such reliability builds trust, which helps businesses long term.
- User-generated content leads to greater authenticity. The more authentic a brand is, whether online or otherwise, the more successful it will be. When a company lacks UGC, it lacks relatability by proxy. It’s important to focus on individuals that speak about products and services, especially on social media where most discussions occur. By highlighting these positive experiences, a brand can build a more authentic presence.
Of course, these are just a few benefits of user-generated content to consider. The main takeaway, however, is value. When properly implemented, UGC can provide a significant boost to such key performance indicators as social media activity and purchases. Any Internet marketing agency will attest that such content can be broken down into different categories. With the following categories in mind, businesses will better understand the content to focus on moving forward.
Social Media Platforms – When considering user-generated content to focus on, social media should be the first avenue to look toward. Activity is buzzing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, not to mention more recent examples including TikTok. Every photo that a Facebook user shares or each hashtag that a Twitter user implements helps businesses determine where to take their efforts. Not only does this UGC reach other users, increasing awareness, but it can help businesses research their audiences more effectively.
Online Assessments – Online assessments, evaluations, and reviews are among the most common examples of user-generated content. The everyday person that purchases a product, regardless of price, will be honest about what they’ve invested in. When they leave a glowing assessment, raving about even the smallest of details, it gives associated product a significant boost. Star reviews, which are seen on ecommerce platforms like Amazon, provide additional insight. In other words, the weight of an audience’s perspective matters.
Blog Posts – When it comes to long-form content, blog posting can provide sufficient insight. A user can leave a written assessment on a website, as detailed before, but what if they have their own platform where they are afforded greater freedom? If a user manages a food blog, they may offer insight into restaurants that they frequent. Everything from the atmosphere of the restaurant in question to the service to the quality of the food will be detailed. Blog posts can be as detailed as the writer desires, which results in high-quality UGC.
Video Reviews – While written reviews and editorials are invaluable forms of user-generated content, they lack the ability to place a face to the name. This is one of the areas where video reviews, which have become popular with the advent of YouTube and other video streaming sites, excel. A user will not only be able to share their thoughts via video, but they can offer visual demonstrations as well. Those that watch the content will be able to see what was purchased, imperfections and all, before determining if the product is right for them. Video reviews are easily digestible to boot, making them more beneficial for businesses to invest in.