Do you remember the “Share a Coke” campaign? This was an example of a UGC (User Generated Content) marketing campaign. Coca-Cola decided to print around 150 of the most common names on their cans in an attempt to get customers to share a coke with their friends and loved ones. And the public went crazy – creating videos and sharing them on social media.

The fact is, customers crave authenticity and engagement from the brands they buy from and the best way you can do this is to turn your customers into content creators. When your brand taps into the power of community through user-generated content (UGC), you can provide customers with a more personalized experience that fosters loyalty and builds a dedicated following.

When I last wrote about UGC, I used GoPro as an example. GoPro, the action camera company that has revolutionized the way we capture and share our adventures, started out using user-generated content (UGC) as its primary marketing strategy. In fact, GoPro’s success can be largely attributed to the use of UGC, which helped the brand establish itself as a leader in the action camera market.

GoPro’s founder, Nick Woodman, came up with the idea for the company while surfing in Australia in 2002. He wanted to create a camera that could capture the action of extreme sports from a first-person perspective. However, he faced a major challenge in marketing the product: how could he convince people to buy a camera that they had never heard of before?

To overcome this challenge, GoPro turned to UGC. The company encouraged its users to share their GoPro footage on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, and even created a dedicated channel on YouTube for user-submitted content. The hashtag #GoPro has over 50 million posts that prove it’s a great way to share your adventures with the world while building a community This is what you want to do with your online store: get users to create content for you!

Why user-generated content matters

One of the primary benefits of using UGC is the authenticity it provides. Unlike traditional advertising, UGC is created by real people who have genuine experiences with a brand. This authenticity resonates with customers and can help build trust with new and existing customers. UGC also encourages engagement from customers who are more likely to participate in a conversation with a brand that values their input.

Additionally, UGC can also provide a cost-effective solution for content creation. By encouraging customers to create content, brands can save time and money on expensive photo shoots or video productions. This frees up resources to focus on other aspects of their marketing.

For example, here is a video I created for the brand, Warm Goods. The company did not ask me to create this video, so it provides real validation that the products work. This can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

Benefits of using user-generated content

One of the key benefits of UGC is that it’s authentic. When users share their experiences with a product, they’re sharing their genuine opinions and feelings about the product.

Additionally, UGC is an excellent way to amplify your message and increase your reach. When people see that others are talking about your brand, they are more likely to pay attention and take notice. This can lead to increased brand awareness and engagement, which ultimately translates into more sales and a higher ROI.

Another benefit of UGC is that it’s cost-effective. By relying on user-generated content, brands can save money on creating their own content. This is particularly useful for smaller brands with limited marketing budgets.

Finally, UGC can be leveraged as a powerful tool for building brand loyalty. When customers feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, they are more likely to remain loyal to the brand and become ambassadors for it to others. This can result in increased word-of-mouth referrals and a strong community of brand champions.

How to encourage your customers to create content

One of the best ways to harness the power of community and turn your customers into content creators is to encourage them to share their experiences with your brand. Not every product is as inherently cool as an action camera. So how can other brands do it? Here are some strategies you can use to inspire your customers to create user-generated content:

1. Make it easy: Provide your customers with clear and easy-to-follow instructions for creating and sharing content. Whether it’s a hashtag to use on social media, a submission form on your website, or a specific type of content you’re looking for, the easier you make it, the more likely people are to participate.

2. Incentivize: Offer rewards or recognition for customers who create content. This could be as simple as featuring their content on your social media channels or website, or as elaborate as offering them a discount or free product in exchange for their contribution.

3. Showcase the community: Share user-generated content and highlight the people who created it. When your customers see others like them being recognized and appreciated, they’ll be more likely to contribute themselves.

4. Create a challenge: Set up a challenge for your customers to create content around a specific theme or idea. This could be a photography contest, a video challenge, or something else entirely. The more creative and engaging the challenge, the more likely people are to participate.

By using these strategies and encouraging your customers to create user-generated content, you can tap into the power of your community and build a loyal following of brand advocates.

Using user-generated content in your marketing campaigns

User-generated content is a powerful tool for building a strong community and fostering brand loyalty. However, it’s important to understand how to effectively use this content in your marketing campaigns to maximize its impact. One way to do this is by featuring user-generated content in your social media posts, email newsletters, and other marketing materials. This not only showcases your customers and their creativity, but also helps to build trust and credibility with your audience. Another approach is to use user-generated content in your paid advertising campaigns. By featuring real people in your ads, you can create a more authentic and relatable experience for your target audience. Ultimately, incorporating user-generated content into your marketing campaigns can help drive engagement and growth for your brand.

The future of user-generated content

The future of user-generated content looks bright, as it continues to evolve and shape the way we interact with brands online. With the rise of social media platforms, user-generated content has become more prevalent and accessible than ever before. As consumers become more sophisticated and demand more authentic experiences from brands, user-generated content is becoming an essential tool for marketers.

One trend that has emerged is the use of video content in user-generated campaigns. With the increasing availability of smartphones and social media tools, it’s easier than ever for users to create and share high-quality video content. This type of content not only showcases your customers and their experiences with your brand, but also provides a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience.

In today’s world, customers want to feel connected to the brands they buy from. By harnessing the power of community, you can turn your customers into content creators, delivering the authenticity and engagement they crave. User-generated content (UGC) can have a big impact on your marketing efforts, adding authenticity and engagement to your brand, which can lead to increased conversions and sales. Encourage your customers to share their experiences and stories, and showcase them across your marketing campaigns.

Remember, your customers are your greatest advocates and allies. So, start harnessing the power of community and let your customers tell your brand story in their own unique way. As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”