Onya Blog | Understanding user-generated content

How to Leverage User-Generated Content and Their Creators

Picture of Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

How to Leverage User-Generated Content and Their Creators

Picture of Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

With nearly everyone on social media these days, people have begun to find unique ways to increase engagement, monetize interactions, and increase their overall following. An excellent way many individuals and brands have done so is by sharing and creating content that engages viewers to act and share on their own. 

This is the unique phenomenon known as User-Generated Content (UGC). UGC is the content (videos, responses, blogs, photos, or audio) created by the users of a particular platform that follow a particular user. A great example of that is posters on youtube filming themselves talking about the most fantastic ice cream they’ve ever tasted. It’s not their ice cream but they HAVE to talk about it. 

The same goes for testimonials, reviews, and excellent feedback overall received and then shared by that specific brand. 

Who are UGC Creators?

A UGC creator is someone who creates content varying in medium specific to a brand or community they follow, purchase from, or interact with. This can take place on nearly any social media platform as well as digital forums and communities. Creators range widely in age, demographic, and occupation. They could be your next-door neighbor or the local influencer you see posting often. 

The biggest difference between them and a business posting about an item or service is that these people are posting from their own experience and are not usually paid for their opinion. This makes their posts more authentic due to the reliability and self-creation of the content. 

Benefits of Using Creators 

Here are some of the top reasons we love and encourage others to leverage UGC creators: 

1. Trust and Authenticity

Creators provide content that is completely and 100% their own opinion and voice. They have taken the opportunity to generate their thoughts regarding the service or product on their own and are usually not paid, making their feedback more genuine. 

Showcasing UGC gives your potential audience a genuine view of your business. UGC creators are a relatable voice making it more likely to resonate with potential customers, thereby boosting social media following (and hopefully sales!). People want to see real results, real humans, and real emotions in the brands they follow. 

2. Increased Following 

When messages relate to people who can recognize genuine, honest opinions over sales material, they’ll listen. Not only that, if they believe it to be trustworthy information that piques their interest, they’ll follow along. Branded content is both good and necessary but it can’t be the only thing you focus your attention on when it comes to social media. Businesses will be wise to use UGC because it will increase both following AND engagement.

3. People See What They Like

Similar to what was already said before, people like seeing others support a brand in an honest way. Not only that, UGC (when you have the right people behind it) often generates images and wording that you may not have otherwise thought of yourself. This saves both time and money. Now, of course, all UGC needs to be vetted and reviewed before posting. Still, many influencers and highly interactive creatives will be some of the best resources for producing lovely and entertaining posts. Let this drive your brand. Don’t shy away from it. 

5. Diverse Voices

Real UGC creators come from all over the world with all different backgrounds. Wider perspectives drive through to a much wider audience. Sure, you need to have your target audience in place, but a UGC creator will bring many more eyes – so much so that you may tap into audiences you would have never previously considered. 

Finding Creators

There are several ways to find UGC creators to work with on social media. Here are a few methods to consider:

1. Social Media 

One of the easiest ways to find UGC creators is to search for relevant content, businesses, hashtags or keywords on social media platforms. If you see people who use these hashtags, reach out and see if they’d be interested in learning more about your brand and potentially posting an honest review. Social media also allows you to see smaller, local voices and not just influencers. Influencers have their place (as we will discuss below) but they can also be harder to secure. Don’t be afraid to talk to some that are really just passionate reviewers. 

2. Influencer Marketing Platforms

Beyond the world of social media, there are influencer marketing platforms where influencers are willing and able to connect with you and take a look at what you have to offer. These platforms are also designed to make it easy for you to find and search your industry or niche and connect with people who have large followings. Don’t forget to also leverage local influencers as well. The next time you’re headed to a local networking event or industry lunch, keep your eye out for others who are strong voices and influence reactions and decisions. 

3. Brand Ambassador Programs

A great way to find and secure UGC creators is to establish a brand ambassador program. This involves selecting a group of leaders or faithful followers who are passionate about your brand. Gather them together and provide them with discounts, VIP access, and more perks in exchange for their thoughts and voice. These ideally are already people who like what you have to offer. Incentivize them to continue doing it with ambassador programs. 

4. Customer Reviews

One of the best and most regularly used UGC generators are your existing customers. Look for regular clients or shoppers, and those that leave good reviews online or on social media. Ask if it would be ok to share their review or see if they’d be willing to write one. 

5. Event Hosting

An excellent way to control the environment and generate genuine interest in your brand is by hosting a company event. It could be for any reason or cause under the sun, but it allows you to control the setting and create your own hashtags. Give guests something to think about or share and use this to generate your own UGC. 

6. Digital Contests

What better way to collect fun and unique content than with a good ol fashion contest? It will encourage users to put forward their best work and give you some of the best images/text/videos to post about.  

To wrap it up

UGC is not only necessary, but it’s also a fun way to get others behind your brand. Ideally, these will be your ride-or-die for years to come. Let people talk freely about your brand, keep the best content, and reward those who share some of the best with you. Authentic voices are in short supply these days so any time a brand chooses to lean more openly with followers, it’s going to bode well for them. Ready to engage UGC creators to boost your following on social media? Get in touch with us at Onya today.

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