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How user-generated content is changing the marketing landscape

August 25, 2021

User-generated content is the key to building your brand’s authenticity.

Everywhere on social media, user-generated content (UGC) proliferates. It comes in many different forms: text, images, videos, reviews — you name it. There’s a whole ecosystem built around it called the creator economy. 

And with the rise in social media usage and online activity worldwide thanks to the ongoing pandemic, it’s been increasingly common for brands to tap into UGC as a way to engage with their audience.

The quest for authenticity

A recent survey by Stackla revealed that 88% of respondents say authenticity is an important factor in deciding which brands they like and support. Compare that with the 10% of respondents who felt influencers come across as authentic and UGC starts to look pretty good.

The fact that authenticity is trending in the marketing world is not really a surprise if you consider that it’s also a key factor when reaching out to millennials and Gen Z

And more than just a buzzword, the effects of UGC are real — the same survey found that UGC impacts 79% of respondents’ purchasing decisions, a significant difference from that of influencer content (9%).

Creative ways to encourage users to generate content

1. Start a challenge

We see brands do this all the time, and that’s because it works — people are propelled by the desire to be part of a trend. Such campaigns enable your brand to gain traction (or even go viral) on social media by encouraging people to participate with their own content. 

Who could forget the Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in the summer of 2014? Everyone from regular folk to Hollywood celebrities participated in it — perhaps inadvertently inducing FOMO in the rest of society. Ultimately, it raised $220 million for ALS research and funding. You can still view some of these content on social media sites like Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge.

A compilation video of celebrities doing the Ice Bucket Challenge

One thing to note is to create unique hashtags that are easy to remember and spell out to increase the odds of success. The followers or fans of your brand can help popularise and make them trend, resulting in better engagement with your target audience, build brand awareness, and boost sales.

2. Offer incentives or prizes through contests or giveaways

Who doesn’t love to win prizes? While winning will definitely feel satisfying, it’s more than just about the prize itself — just the prospect of possibly winning can be quite thrilling too.

One example is when Samsung launched their latest Galaxy S21 5G in Spain. They asked users to share the current device they were using on Instagram stories and explain why they wanted the Galaxy S21 5G in the most fun and original way possible. This was done with the hashtag #GalaxyS21 and tagging the official Samsung Spain account @samsungespana. 

Another example is Starbucks’ #RedCupContest that rolled around during Christmas time in 2016, where users were encouraged to share their customised coffee cups on social media for a chance to win a Starbucks gift card.

Starbucks’ #RedCupContest

While not all companies have the budget for incentives like Samsung, one as simple as a discount, a coupon (like Starbucks), or even the chance to be featured on your social media feed can be sufficient.  

3. Gamification

Gamification is a concept that involves adding game mechanics into nongame environments to increase participation. It often means users are required to complete a few tasks to be rewarded and recognised for their participation. 

Game concepts such as difficulty levels, high scores, badges, or leaderboards motivate users to complete their tasks and share their achievements on social media. 

Take the Nike+ mobile application for example. Through it, runners can track and share their performance with other runners from all over the world through social media, increasing the brand’s presence and visibility in the process. 

When users have completed a task or reach a different level, they are also rewarded with trophies and badges (that can be shared on social media sites), positively affirming their achievements.

The future of content is user-generated

As people become more active on social media, UGC might just be the future. 

When done right, you can think of UGC as a meaningful complement to your planned marketing initiatives. What’s more authentic and convincing than having people who are compelled to create content for your brand because they want to, and not because they are paid to? 

Want to create authentic content for your brand? Contact our CEO Simon Kearney at [email protected] today.

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  3. Forget celebrities, it’s time for micro-influencers to shine.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.