Building brand love through UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to connect with your target market. That's because it’s so unique and personal, it doesn't come from a company or other anonymous sources—it comes from real people who have experienced your business and its products first-hand. UGC helps brands scale up and supplement their marketing collateral, and also builds consumer trust, which is great for sales.

User-generated content is the conversational currency of the digital age. With social media, consumers have become agents of marketing and their opinions are more important than ever. In fact, User-generated content (UGC) boosts trust, sales, and customer loyalty.

What is User-generated content?

User-generated content is simply any content created by the general public. It can be in the form of blog posts, videos, photos, product reviews, social media posts and more! When you open your doors to UGC, you're inviting other people to promote your brand for you — and it's a wonderful way to connect with customers on whole new level.

User-generated content is a big deal. In fact, you'll probably spend more time browsing other people's photos and videos than content that you find on a brand website or blog. That's why it's the most powerful type of content. It proves that your tribe is using and loving your product — so much so, they created their own images and video to share it with the world.

At its core, UGC is the very definition of "free marketing" — brands just need to create an active community.

Why is it important?

Consumers don't trust brands. Consumers also believe that they are experts in the product categories they buy. With the advent of UGC, consumers have a forum to discuss products and compare experiences with other users — making them more likely to find the information they need in UGC than a brand's website.

User-generated content platforms reinforce the power of good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing, by allowing consumers to share their experiences more responsively and more widely. Thanks to digital technology, brands can allow for more multi-dimensional content — not just curated, but captured. In essence, UGC builds a better relationship between company and customer.

User-generated content is a way for brands to build an intimate relationship with their customers. In this world of constant digital noise, consumers want nothing more than to be heard — and brands that give them a platform to communicate are the ones that win over loyal audiences.

Top brands create a sense of community around their products, and give people an outlet to express themselves. By using UGC in campaigns, brands send the message that anyone can be a part of the brand — not just celebrities or models with thousands of followers. It's a great way to show customers how they fit into your product.

Here are three ways in which brands can leverage UGC for maximum impact;

Build a community

Your customers aren't just spending money with you — they're investing in your brand, too. Give them a sense of ownership by creating a dialogue that invites participation; feed their opinions back into your business and make them feel like an essential part of it.

Sharing your customers’ content is great way to show them some love and give their content the platform it deserves. Whether you like or retweet a tweet or share a Facebook post, you're giving fans the attention they crave.

Never underestimate a brand loyalist. They bring your brand to life and are the ones who create conversation around your brand. Be it through sharing personal stories or insights about your company, these brand loyalists know you, love you and tweet about you! They're up in arms, ready to go to war for you — and they'll be there supporting every tweet you make along the way.

Build trust

A review from a popular YouTuber can be like the holy grail of product marketing. When their followers see a famous face using your product and declaring it's the best thing since sliced bread, you'll have thousands of new customers walking through your doors.

The most reputable sources of information about products are those who use them and give their honest feedback. This is why many consumers trust the advice of YouTubers and other consumers more than brands.

Build content

You can't use a drone to hover over the subway to snap photos of people wearing your brand, or to capture the diversity of your customers across the country. Professional photographers are expensive – and so are drones! Instead, try creating an IGTV channel and get real users to photograph themselves wearing your product in their own unique environments.

As your brand grows, the content you produce will become blander over time. You need to ensure that each social post has a certain “je ne sais quoi” to it. That’s where user-generated content comes in. Your fans are posting photos of your products intertwined with their everyday life — be it friends, family or themselves.

Consumers and fans love sharing photos of your products being used in real life, not just against a studio background. This type of content shows your products in a way that resonates with your audience because it shows their potential in a way that reflects their lifestyle.

Content-generating machine

Be proud of your customers and fans! They are content-generating machines that are just waiting to be unleashed. Showcase the unique personalities of your followers in your social media channels and engage in meaningful dialogues — don't use these channels solely as a "one way street".

When you build a marketing strategy around the consumer, the consumer will return the favour. When you build a sense of community, your customers will be more likely to share their opinions about your brand, leading to word-of-mouth advertising and elevated levels of customer loyalty.

By allowing your customers to create content, you're letting them feel important and as though they have a sense of ownership over your brand. When you've got fans in your corner, you can sit back and enjoy constant promotion — and new customers will want to join in the brand love!