Do your followers know you? Keep it real on social media with User Generated Content

11 April 2023

Social media is a high-velocity train that is met with an increasing number of obstacles. Although social media is finally included in the marketing basics, there’s no simple manual for companies. Still, not unlike a complete marketing strategy, a robust social media strategy offers your brand or organisation many opportunities.

person with phone and laptop

And yet, it’s not something you just “do”. Companies have often treaded on thin ice in the hunt for followers and audience(s). Most of them cannot keep up with the changing social media channels, formats and target audiences – not to mention the large privacy evolutions. But that doesn’t mean that your fanbase and community aren’t important. On the contrary.

Hello… It’s me

Another thing we can no longer ignore is authenticity. As opposed to the current expectations for social media, target audiences need more diversity, inclusion, relatability and transparency (not less). We won’t be keeping up appearances anymore: the time for everyone to be their truest selves has come. Just think of the popular photo-sharing app ‘BeReal’, turning its back on filters and staged snapshots as it embraces the present.

Both for B2C and B2B, you want to build an emotional connection where you don’t pretend to be an entity anymore. Deep connections and authentic relationships are the foundation of a better reputation, strong recognisability and higher sales. As a company, you need to find new ways to interact with your community honestly and relatably – show them what your mission and vision are.

User Generated Content (UGC)

One way to showcase that authenticity is User Generated Content, one of the fastest-growing aspects of the social media landscape.

But what is UGC? For social media, it’s branded content that isn’t paid for internally or externally, but that is created by your followers and happy customers. In short: by the people, for the people – the key to success, given that this kind of content gives off an authentic vibe just like micro-influencers do. It puts loyal customers in the spotlight and helps the target audience get an image of the brand.

Person taking a picture

The benefits of UGC

UGC is becoming more and more popular, mainly because of its benefits. A strong UGC strategy gives you publicity and material, but that’s not all. It also allows you to get your fans excited to create content about your product/service and share it with their friends/followers, free of charge. 

More importantly, this content is more reliable than generic ads, which is why it’s more effective. Furthermore, your customers will feel recognised and appreciated when you showcase their content, which in turn makes them more excited to keep creating. Last, but not least, the conversion rate and engagement of UGC content are often up to 30% higher than they are with other paid methods.

Ready to start UGC to your advantage? 

Here are 10 tips when starting with User Generated Content:

  • Don’t use a branded hashtag, use a selfless hashtag to showcase the connection, like #girlsgoneloavies or #UOONYOU.

  • Promote your hashtag and UGC in important locations like your bio, website, newsletters… Do you have a shop? Use a visible sticker and CTA.

  • Host a UGC event. Do you have a (clothing) shop? Create a late-night shopping event or network launch and use photobooths or fun goodie bags to stimulate interaction.

  • Link UGC creation to a contest. You could allow someone to win back the money they spent, for instance, or you could use a different incentive.

  • Work with influencers to boost UGC creation. They deliver high-quality content and can get others to do the same. 

  • Create a challenge. Call on your fans to give their packaging a makeover and post the results. Do you sell chocolates? Get your followers to film themselves giving your chocolates to someone they love.

  • Showcase UGC on your website. This way, you can put your best fans in the spotlight and stimulate others to create content about your product/service, as well.

  • Use social media features like the “Your turn” sticker to boost UGC, leading to a community of ambassadors.

  • Create an augmented reality filter that can be used to take pics with your product/filter. Very accessible and likely to go viral.

Don’t forget your own employees. Perfect for UGC, as they know the company best. For them, too, you can set up a contest/incentive to reward their ambassadorship.

User Generated Creators

Want to lift your UGC strategy to the next level? Consider working with UGC creators. These are people who create paid content that looks a lot like normal user generated content. They are not influencers or ambassadors, as they aren’t paid for the promotion and distribution of the content. These creators are paid for creating UGC that aims to build a close bond between you and your target audience.

Your UGC can be used for advertising. This approach is worth considering, given that generic ads are losing their edge and UGC ads come across as more native, which leads to better results. It’s also way cheaper than renting a studio, models, etc. and can help you create more and more effective content. In fact, with branded content advertising, you can use the creator’s reach and the content doesn’t come across as commercial. In short, a perfect addition to organic UGC and a good way to boost your authenticity.

Let it go

In 2023, we advise you to work with niche creators who focus on various aspects of a company. Personalisation is hot and requires a custom approach for every target audience. Therefore, you have to step away from the one-size-fits-all principle and let go of control. Only then will UGC creators be a valuable and manageable solution for your business.

Jana Renap
Jana Renap
Online Marketeer - iO

What do you mean, online marketing is a story of solely (raw) data and analytics? As a modern online marketer, Jana insists on a modern take on the classic interplay of marketing, (social) media and engaging content to achieve results. Creativity has never been more important in this regard. Or more fun – right?

Whitepaper: Emotion and creativity in communication

The hunt for the creative spark is on. Build a lasting relationship with your target audience with a deep, emotional connection. Our experts will help you on your way.

Sander Antwerpen | iO
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