By Lucas Jarrett
One of my mentors always told me, “marketing is everything and everything is marketing.” From billboards lining the highways to ads on Facebook to spots in a newspaper — marketing is everything and everywhere. One form of marketing that is taking off in popularity is user-generated content (UGC) and it’s sweeping the social media marketing world.
What is User-Generated Content?
UGC is any promotional content — product reviews, Instagram posts, Tik Tok testimonials, etc. — created by people rather than brands. Have you ever scrolled to the bottom of a resort’s website and seen a series of Instagram posts of people posing by the pool or holding a cocktail in front of the camera? Brands use real customer photos posted to real social media accounts to show the value of their product in an authentic way. UGC captures people’s attention because the posts are seen as more genuine and unbiased than standard branded ads. We have become adept at tuning out advertisements on social media platforms like Instagram, and we tend to scroll right past. When your favorite influencer or your Facebook friend posts about a product, brand, or resort, you have more trust in their opinion, and by extension, more trust in the brand.
Benefits to UGC
UGC can show your customer base that you’re actively listening to your audience. Customers see that you’re open to conversation and building long-lasting relationships. Giving customers the opportunity to have that conversation with your brand through UGC is impactful because customers want to be heard and to have their feedback taken seriously.
UGC doesn’t just demonstrate authenticity to your customer base, but it also helps keep your brand in front of the customer by re-engaging them in their endless ad-filled news feed. When scrolling through social media, we can easily pick out an ad in our feed. Generally, we scroll right past it without looking at the details. This phenomenon is referred to as banner blindness. UGC solves this engagement problem by stopping people in their tracks when they’re mindlessly scrolling. With UGC, people still hear about your brand and see your product or service, all through organic interactions on their social media feeds. UGC increases engagement and ensures that your brand continues to be relevant to your customer base.
How UGC Helps Paid Social Efforts:
Paid ads are still an important part of your brand’s marketing efforts. Adding user-generated content to your brand strategy increases your company’s social media followers, increases awareness of your brand, and creates stronger relationships with customers. Combining user-generated content with paid efforts can multiply the effectiveness of your marketing. Once your company gains customer trust through UGC, paid ads are much more effective at engaging your audience. Social media users are less likely to scroll past your paid ads once they have built a connection with your brand through organic and user-generated content.