Collage of user-generated content posts

4 Ways to Evolve Your Brand with User-Generated Content

By: Matt Curtis

Read Time: 5 Minutes

 

Great content is the backbone of any marketing campaign. But with smaller teams and more competition for eyeballs, it’s harder than ever to create. According to user-generated content (UGC) platform TINT, 52% of marketers feel time is a challenge when it comes to content production. This coupled with consumer perceptions that branded content is often too salesy can cause problems, but, UGC stands tall as a shining solution.

User-generated content used to be something brands went to when they needed to fill in some gaps in their content calendars. Not anymore. Today, proper UGC strategies can help to build libraries of trusted content, create targeted contests, engage users, inspire creators and obtain legal permission to use it. But where do you start and what’s the best way to do it all? Here are four tips you need to know before diving into UGC marketing.

 

1. Work Smarter, Not Harder to Source and License Content with UGC Platforms

Emerging from the pandemic, many marketing teams are feeling the strain of time. According to Sirkin & Newscred, 42% of marketers feel their biggest challenge has been “lacking the bandwidth to create new content.” Teams are leveraging user-generated content platforms to automatically scour social media, find content and streamline processes.

These tools use targeted keywords and AI to spot exactly what your brand is looking for and make sourcing quicker. Having a good strategy in place to identify and collect the right UGC and obtain rights enables teams to pivot fast and build unique, captivating content by focusing on their core strengths.

This is exactly what triple A brands like Buffalo Wild Wings are doing to be nimble, as displayed in their video ad created in just six days using UGC from fans. By working proactively to source and license content, they quickly created a compelling creative piece that won big in the hearts of their followers.

 

2. Outreach & Licensing UGC Efficiently

One of the most difficult components of UGC marketing is obtaining the rights to users’ images and posts. UGC platforms help with this by facilitating conversations in the comments or DMs and automate the acceptance of your terms and conditions. When it comes to that outreach messaging, though, it’s important to remember that you should be building a model, not a copy and paste approach.

Social media platforms will pick up on the same message being used repeatedly and can label you as a bot and lock your account. Build a few different starting points for messaging and encourage whoever is handling your outreach to personalize each one.

 

user-generated content compared to an ad for Nike

3. Build Trust & Brand Continuity with Authentic UGC

Aside from the obvious benefit of quickly sourcing and building content, UGC also instills more trust than traditional branded content because of its authenticity. It’s obvious when you look at a side-by-side comparison that UGC feels much more genuine. In fact, “93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by people more than content created by brands,” – State of User Generated Content 2021 by TINT.

While trust increases, it can be difficult to maintain brand continuity with UGC. Companies can stay on brand by focusing on assets they control, like written style and selecting visually similar images to share.

Take this a step further by creating image overlays or filters to help keep a visual theme. Remember, though, including attribution in your written style and keeping edits minimal can go a long way toward building brand ambassadors.

 

4. Identify Synergistic Influencers and Scale Brand Ambassadors

People want to see their creations featured by the brands they love, all you have to do is show them how to do it! In fact, “50% of consumers wish brands would steer them to what content to create and share,” according to State of User Generated Content 2021 by TINT. Creating UGC contests or branded hashtags for users to get behind can go a long way to help promote the creation of new content that aligns with your strategies.

Once you create a direction for your followers, be sure to watch it closely. Sharing a user’s content is a great way to show a brand’s appreciation for a dedicated follower and turn them into a brand evangelist. Additionally, identifying large accounts engaging with your hashtags or contests can be a great way to pre-qualify influencers.

One example of utilizing UGC to identify and engage influencers is the program we created for Wahl. We reached out to over 1,200 influencers using the tactics outlined in this blog. In short, UGC qualification of brand synergies, personalized outreach, and constant listening and optimization resulted in over an estimated 2.6 million reach from influencer content. Find the full case study here.

 

User-generated content marketing is a powerful tool that allows your brand to be nimble, build trust, capture content, grow brand ambassadors and pre-qualify influencers to springboard into larger campaigns. This is a great solution to many problems that marketing teams face when done properly. Try these tactics for yourself, and let us know how they go or send over any questions to [email protected].

 

Matt Curtis. Senior Content Strategist at Hoffman YorkAbout the Author:

As a Senior Content Strategist at Hoffman York, Matt Curtis puts the method behind the madness in the world of content marketing. With his passion for social media and emerging marketing technology and practices, he builds cutting-edge strategies for our clients and social media influencers.

Matt arrived at Hoffman York with a background in developing content for high-profile staffing companies, fortune 500 manufacturers, and assorted other B2B & B2C brands.

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