User-Generated Content: what it is, how it works, and why you need it!

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of social media, you’ll have quickly noticed that brand ambassadors, influences and general users are predominant in the sharing and exposure of content – this is known as User-Generated Content (UGC).

User-Generated Content (UGC) is any form of content, from text to video, imagery to customer reviews that is generated by individual people and not a brand per say. When users create such user-created content, brands are highly inclined to share the UGC to their socials, on their websites and across any marketing channels that receive a decent amount of traffic. But big brands have taken the likes of celebrities, affluent Instagram, TikTok or Facebook users as well as influential people, and turned them into their brand advocates.

A brand advocate is someone who pushes out your content and shares it with their followers. This can range from mini-influencers with some 10-50k followers to mass engagement influencers, sharing your brands content with their soaring reach of 50k+ social media followers. This type of content sharing can be shared to both the company or brand’s socials or directly on the influencers pages, depending on the target audience, desired reach or creative agreement.

But what about the general public? Can they be beneficial to a growing social media page? And if so, how can you get them on board?

Any form of endorsement is beneficial, and even though organic reach is always friendlier on the budget, recent changes in both Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm suggest that sponsored content is the way forward for increased interaction. It’s all about finding the right platform and the right influencer.

Which social media platform is the best for my business?

The first point you’ll need to suss out is your target audience. Choosing your preferred social media platform is not at all about ease of sharing, your increased knowledge of the app or even a client’s preference, rather, it’s about finding out where your target audience lives, where they spend their time and how they interact with the content you are sharing.

If you’re looking to interact with the younger audiences, from 18-25, Instagram would be your best bet. But what about TikTok, should that be a new venture for you to try out? TikTok is all about video content, so if you’re equipped with a team of videographers, have an influencer in mind who can push video content and feel as though your market will interact better with video, as opposed to written content or imagery – then this could be the solution for you.

When your target audience is happy with the content you’ve created, they will share it to their own social platforms and in turn help widen your exposure and reach. There’s a huge pool of potential when using user-generated content (UGC). But the most important element is ensuring that your target market is bringing in a return on investment (ROI).

How do I know what audience to target for my brand?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Is your social media content converting? Understanding the many paths of social media curation proves to rely solely on how your audience is reacting to your content. Are you noticing increased interaction with certain shots, videos or campaigns? Do you notice an increased amount of traffic to your website with certain posts? Is your brand, or your client’s brand, performing better with your social media efforts?

These are all questions you’ll need to clarify before deciding whether your target market is the right audience for your brand. And the ultimate measure of such a tough decision is conversion.

When brands share giveaways, competitions, content in their Instagram Stories or Facebook Posts that require interaction, just because the likes are going up and the fan base is increasing, this doesn’t mean you’re on the golden path.

Your ideal target audience is one that responds to your messaging, interacts by creating their own content inspired by your influence and eventually converts by booking your services or purchasing your products. There are many sorts of followers, your brand or company will simply need to decide what sort of community it’s after.

If you are selling a service, be it social marketing management, video creation or even niche services within your industry, the likelihood is that the 18-25-year-olds you’re targeting on Instagram will not convert. But we all know that Instagram is the place to be, so how can we alter this?

What is User Generated Content and how can my audience engage with my brand?

UGC, as described above, is the shared branded content that the general public shares on their own social media platforms. Getting your converting target audience to share your material is all about suiting both your needs and theirs. This can be done in a few ways:

  1. create content that is authentic, catchy, designed or edited to a T – and dare we say… addictive, this will get your users interested
  2. make sure that the content you are creating and the audience you are targeting are worth your efforts and creativity – the wrong audience could kill a brand
  3. make use of influencers within your budget, but influential to your desired converting audience – it’s not always a go-big-or-go-home type of attitude, the influencers you approach should be genuine followers
  4. keep pushing out content until your community takes on the job for you – this is the golden moment that every social media brand or agency dreams of.

But what are the end goals of User Generated Content?

The ultimate goal of UCG is simple: to trust your community of content creators (general public or mighty influencers) to populate your social media pages with enough content to interact with and attract new users, all the while keeping your current community happy and engaged. There are the ultimate goals of UGC:

  1. higher brand engagement: contact 4Sight to set up your social media marketing campaigns, we know the ins and outs of gaining engagement and channeling that traffic into your company.
  2. more conversion rates: at 4Sight we know how important conversion is, it’s our bread and butter too, trust us to take your community from casual follower to profit generator.
  3. increased trust in your brand: trust is what keeps 4Sight in business, we know a thing or two about gaining the trust of the nation, and as with all our clients, we’re happy to do that for your brand too.
  4. better exposure and education: we believe that content without substance is pointless, every campaign we work on carries a message and an educational point of view, be it brand awareness or a technical description, 4Sight can help you master this pillar of success.

User-Generated Content is one of the most beneficial marketing tools for social media platforms, due to its community approval. As a user, we are more likely to convert when our peers vouch for a product or service, even though we’ve come a long way in marketing techniques, word of mouth (or should we say ‘word of Stories’) is probably still the most persuasive – and the best part is… it saves your content creators so much time and money.

Contact 4Sight today, we’re always on a mission to help brands grow, soar and dominate.