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How to use User-Generated Content Effectively (and Why it Works)

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Are you having a hard time coming up with engaging content? Are your customers not responding to your social media and blog posts?

This article breaks down the importance of user-generated content (UGC) and how you can use it to benefit your company.

We live in a digitally mobile and social world, where content is currency. User-generated content organically engages consumers with brands and creates product and service endorsements. Things like an Instagram photo, Snapchat video or Facebook post that contains a mention of your product or service serves dual purposes: It is both brand marketing and word-of-mouth advertising. It symbolizes brand commitment and customer loyalty. It supports your bottom line.

Why UGC Works


Customers want to feel engaged and heard. They want to be entertained and they want to deal with issues quickly. User-generated content engages customers more than brand-generated content. Marketing teams save time, energy and resources and see an increase in ROI.

EMarketer predicted that in 2013, there would be an estimated 155 million user-generated content consumers and 114.5 user-generated content creators. This is a giant spike in numbers from 2008, when there were 116 million user-generated content consumers and 82.5 user-generated content creators. The influential popularity of UGC is only expected to gain momentum in 2014.

Contests & Sweepstakes


For marketers, user-generated content drives marketing campaigns such as a promotional sweepstakes. This marketing technique encourages consumers to snap and upload a photo of themselves or share a story through a Vine video as entry for a contest. A business can target a specific demographic and leverage a social platform to draw in potential customers and nurture those relationships. While your business connects with a demographic, you’re also harnessing fan endorsements that boost your marketing efforts.

Endorsements & Promotion


The Content Marketing Institute lauded the Australian Tourist board for its explosive “The Best Job in the World” campaign, which earned $368 million in global media coverage. The Board’s contest was worth AUD $1 million and offered a six-month island caretaker’s position in an exotic Australian location. The prize included a salary of AUD $150,000.

To enter to win, applicants had to explain why they’re right for the job in a one-minute video. The Board’s campaign website and YouTube page received more than 34,000 video applications viewed by more than 8.6 million people. The winner gave more than 450 media interviews and enough international media attention to significantly promote Queensland Australian as a top tourist destination.

Fame & Personal Value


A user-generated marketing campaign is mutually beneficial for business marketers and consumers. Applicants are entering for more than a chance to win a prize—they’re entering for a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame. A winning photo or video that’s shared, regrammed, re-tweeted and liked captures the attention of the digital world. In return, the winner can potentially increase his or her own personal social media following on Instagram or Vine and share their notoriety on Facebook and Twitter.

Even a personal comment or “shout out” from a brand or company can strengthen the B2C relationship. For example, identity theft protection company LifeLock replied to someone who praised the company’s services in a tweet. By personalizing your communication and making your fans feel valued, you’re naturally increasing your business’s marketing efforts and fostering connections.

Tips for User-Generated Marketing Campaigns


Adopt user-generated content marketing tactics for your next campaign with these 7 strategies:

  1. Ask for photo entries that feature one of your products
  2. Participate in the popularity of Vine and Snapchat by requesting video submissions
  3. Collaborate with fans on branded Pinterest boards
  4. Invite fans and entrants to be guest bloggers
  5. Offer incentives for a customer to write a case study or blog post about a product, service or experience
  6. Establish discussion forums
  7. Inspire new ideas internally with fun company competitions that you can share on social platforms

With these tips, you can utilize user-generated content to create a powerful online presence. Your customers will be happier and more invested in your business.

By guest poster BlueFirePR