User-Generated Content

User-generated content means any content, whether, in the form of text, images, videos, or reviews, created by people or users rather than by a brand or business. For instance, if you have some cool clothes that you want to show off, you’ll probably snap a picture wearing them and post the picture on your Facebook or Instagram profiles, right?

Maybe you have received a fancy new product as a free gift from a brand, and you post an unboxing video of it on Youtube. Whether you are aware or not, both of these are examples of creating user-generated content.

In this article, you will learn about the benefits of user-generated content and get a bit familiar with user-generated content goals. By the end of this post, you will know why using user-generated content builds brand awareness. If you are running a business, you’ll get some actionable tips that you can use to transform your user-generated content into improved engagements and more conversions for your business.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any original, brand-specific content created by the users or customers of the brand. It is usually published on social media sites or other online channels.

User-generated content is commonly referred to as UGC. What does UGC mean? UGC is the stuff you write on your social media accounts or as comments on blog posts, which describes your experience of engaging with a brand or service. UGC can be produced in many forms, including text, images, videos, testimonials, reviews, or even podcasts.

Where Does User-Generated Content Come From?

User-generated content comes from a variety of sources. Some of those are described below.

1. Customers

Have you ever watched an unboxing video on TikTok or Youtube? That’s an example of UGC created and posted by a customer. Your customers are the most prominent source of producing user-generated content for your brand. Sometimes businesses ask their happy customers to create UGC, and other times, they produce it independently. When a customer chooses to organically share positive content about your brand on an online platform, it means they are very much satisfied with your product or service. More organic user-generated content is thus suitable for your business.

customer reviews posted on a website selling handbags

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

2. Brand Loyalists

Your brand loyalists are your brand advocates or fans. These are the people who wait for your brand updates in the form of newsletters or posts made on your social media pages. They are your most dedicated customers who are on the lookout for your next marketing offer so that they can show up at your retail store right away. Since they are so passionate about your products, you can even request them for some user-generated content every now and then.

Happy clients writing positive testimonials

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

3. Employees

Your employees can also help you create quality user-generated content. Content produced by your staff shows the story and value behind your brand. For example, if you post photos of your employees happily taking online orders in your office, it will show to the audience that they love working for your company. This kind of content will put up a good reputation of your business, and build up your brand identity.

Colleagues working together happily to make online sales

Why is User-Generated Content Important?

UGC can be produced for all stages of a customer’s buying journey. It enforces brand engagement by influencing the audience to check out your products and services. By doing that, it ultimately increases your leads and conversions, which have a great impact on your sales. A good conversion rate means a better chance of making sales.

You can also take this user-generated content and repost it on your social media, on your landing pages, in your marketing emails, and even on your checkout pages.

Here are some specific benefits of user-generated content.

1. Takes Your Authenticity to the Next Level

When content for your brand is created by your users, it is perceived as entirely unbiased, friendly, and honest. There is more value in user-generated content than in any marketing content you produce because the audience believes that the customer wouldn’t lie. If your customer says that your product is good, your target audience will trust their opinion. If your customers are so excited about buying your products that they want to show them off on social media, your followers will also get excited about your brand and check out the items you’re selling.

embedded Instagram feed containing UGC

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

In other words, user-generated content helps you take your authenticity to the next level. If you want to build a good reputation and penetrate the market quickly, encourage your happy customers to create and post UGC on the internet.

2. Helps to Grow Your Online Community

More and more businesses realize the value of having an online community to promote their brands. User-generated content helps you grow your online community. This is because an online brand community usually contains content posted by your existing or potential customers.

When you build an online community, you invite and encourage your customers to share their experiences, opinions, feedback, knowledge, and even complaints about your products and services. Since it provides a free platform for your customers to share their ideas and interact with each other, they are enticed to be involved in it. The whole concept works in favor of your business growth.

The bigger your online community becomes, the more voice it gives to your offerings. Your brand’s online presence becomes more concrete, which probably has a good impact on your website’s SEO. In short, user-generated content enhances the online presence of your brand.

3. Influences Purchasing Decisions

User-generated content can have an incredible impact on your potential customers’ purchasing decisions, especially at the last minute. This is why many businesses share UGC on the checkout pages of their eCommerce websites. The point is to reassure the buying customer that they are making the right decision and should proceed with the transaction.

User-generated content acts as authentic social proof. It gives confidence to the audience that your product or service is worthy of its price and that they won’t regret making the purchase. When your audience sees people like them using or wearing your product, they want to have it too, and thus they want to buy. This is one of the greatest benefits of user-generated content.

4. Gives a Boost to Social Commerce

The future of online shopping seems to be social commerce, which means shopping directly from your favorite social media channels. Social commerce allows users to convert natively within an app without going off-network and visiting a particular website to complete a purchase.

Let’s say you are scrolling through your Instagram feed. You see an interesting ad for a bathrobe, and you pause there. You tap on the CTA button that says ‘Learn More’. You want to buy the product, but you also don’t want to come out of your Instagram app because you’re not done browsing through it for the day.

If you can make your purchase from within the Instagram app at this point, you’ll be more than happy to do so. But if you are required to leave the app to make your transaction, you are likely to procrastinate.

User-generated content posted and shared on social media apps works in harmony with social commerce. It prevents procrastination on your potential customers and helps you boost your sales. This is why using user-generated content is particularly recommended for businesses that sell consumer products.

3 Main User-Generated Content Goals

Now that you know the benefits of user-generated content, let’s discuss the three main user-generated content goals for small and large businesses.

1. Increase the Cost-Effectiveness of Your Marketing Campaigns

User-generated content, as mentioned above, is trusted more by your target audience than your paid adverts. It can thus bring in new customers without running expensive advertising campaigns. This means one of your user-generated content goals could be to make your marketing efforts more cost-effective.

2. Make Your Content More Flexible and Adaptable

Customers can develop unique and creative ways to share their experiences about a brand. After all, the idea of making unboxing videos and uploading them on Youtube must have also come from a customer. If a company does not have a YouTube channel yet, its UGC might inspire it to start one. Therefore, user-generated content gives new ideas to businesses on the type of content they can share with their audience. It helps marketers make their content more flexible, adaptable, fun, and relatable to the audience.

3. Improve Your Website Performance

A website filled with good customer testimonials and positive product reviews will definitely get more conversions and sales than one that is not. Your site visitors will spend more time browsing through your website content, as they will be interested in reading what others have to say about your products. This will reduce your website’s bounce rate and enhance its SEO performance. So one of the main user-generated content goals is to improve your site’s performance to drive more sales.

However, in order to achieve this, your website needs to have the necessary features required for customers to post content on it. Let’s say a customer wants to write a glowing review for one of your products. If your website does not have the feature to allow them to do so, you will miss out on a wonderful opportunity of getting good user-generated content.

A customer giving positive feedback through the live chat feature on a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

If your website is built on Strikingly, you will have access to numerous tools to help you build features on your web pages that allow you to gather as much UGC as you like. Websites created by many of our users have customer testimonials published on them, product reviews written and submitted directly by customers and public feedback given on social media pages that can be partly inserted on the web pages.

We also welcome our users to provide feedback on our features and services. If you have any issues or complaints about our platform, you are welcome to get in touch with our customer service team at any hour of the day through our live chat support.