In the past few years, User-generated Content, Consumer Content and earned Content has been gaining relevance for businesses. By using UGC, companies and brand have the opportunity to actively integrate their customers into their own marketing.

But what does UGC and why is it so important for companies?

Followers and fans actively share their own digital content with companies who subsequently can implement the content into various channels, such as their own Instagram account. The shared content can be both pictures as well as reviews about a product. One can integrate the content into the company’s e-commerce, use it as a content supply for different social media channels or as an active platform for exchange with the customers. This way, the company is able to use real contributions from real customers to make authentic advertising for their products.  This strengthens the communication and bond between the customer and the company.

 
#1 Why Companies and Brands should use UGC

The use of UGC only has advantages for companies and with the right partner it can be easy to gather and utilize UGC. Here are the 3 main reasons why you should use UGC for your company:

1. Your company is able to advertise with real contributions, which is very well received by customers, since everything is immediately more authentic and realistic. Your customers can see that you show real images from other satisfied customers and not professional photo productions.

Source: Instagram

2. Customers feel flattered when your company wants to share their pictures or references and use them for advertising purposes and are motivated to participate. It is a great feeling for your customers to see that they are important to the company and that their opinions are acknowledged and make a difference. As they are obviously already enthusiastic about the product, this  strengthens your customer loyalty even more.

Source: Instagram

3. Working with UGC enables a company to greatly reduce expenditure for your own advertising photos, because your customers will do it for you and provide you with a lot of content. You should not only look out for expensive influencers, many micro-influencers also have great content to share - and it is a lot cheaper or even free.

 

#2 What Companies need to Consider when using UGC

Given that your company wants to use external images, you must obviously obtain the necessary rights of use first. You also may want to check if the quality is usable. Most of the time, the poor quality and unavailability of content is attributed to the passivity of the company rather than to the nature of the product. Instead of using calls-to-action, inspirations or incentives to actively encourage and shape UGC, too many brands simply wait and hope for decent content.

To optimize your UGC, pay attention that the contribution is mainly about your product and not also promoting other products.

Source: Instagram

With UGC it is not possible to predict exactly how the users will react. Accordingly, you should be prepared as a company to be able to deal with negative reactions as well. Your company should establish a crisis management, which decides how to respond negative reactions before starting to work with UGC. In general, you should make sure that your customers have had a predominantly positive experience with your brand or your company.

 

#3 Why do customers like companies which are using UGC

UGC offers unique insights and inspirations to your customers. Before customers decide on a product, UGC gives them the opportunity to view the product without any contrived representation. Authentic content improves the customers’ trust, as it is obvious to them that the photos are not artificial or professional productions, but from real people. Especially products that don’t necessarily look like much in their packaging can be elevated by UGC. Frooggies’ clients for example, show how to use their fruit powder product in beautiful, creative ways.

Source: Instagram 

When companies use UGC, customers are verifiably encouraged to make more purchasing decisions. The potential new customer has a safer feeling when he notices that other customers are also satisfied with the product. Around 92% of all consumers trust the recommendations of people of the same age more than the content of companies due to the much stronger credibility.

A real post stands for authenticity and reality.

 

Titelbild: by Callie Morgan on Unsplash