User-generated content allows you to profit from the spontaneous interest around your brand. Edgy Labs shows you the best ways to benefit from your fans’ engagement.

Digital marketers collect oceans of data from their social media audiences. This doesn’t just include the number of likes, shares, retweets, comments, and pageviews. The demographics of your users also come into play.

Where are your readers from? Which age groups stay on your page the longest?

This data is valuable information that allows content marketers to analyze customer and fan reaction to published content. The best content marketers use this data to determine which content engages their audience the most.

Read More: What Plugins Every Content Marketer Should be Using on WordPress

Of course, with a large pool of data, there are a large number of potential uses for this data. Today we’ll focus on how to use user-generated content in your content creation processes.

92% of customers turn to people they know for product and service referrals #tabinfluence #influitiveClick To Tweet

Strike the User-Generated Content Gold

As a Web 2.0 trend, user-generated content (UGC) is any type of content (discussions, images, videos, blog posts, testimonials…) created by users about a brand, especially on social platforms, and which is available to the public.

Simply put, consumers trust each other’s reviews when deciding to make a purchase. The majority (92%) of customers turn to people they know when looking for referrals.

An Adweek survey found that 85% of customers are more likely to be influenced by visual UGC than by brand content.

For an example of an industry that leverages the power of user-generated content, look no further than travel and eco-tourism.

Whether you have a destination in mind or you’re still on the fence, most people these days consult Internet forums and tourist blogs to collect the info they’ll need for a trip.

Thanks to UGC, you have access to content that feels real. There’s something more relatable about a candid obviously shot in the moment rather than in a studio. Reviews and general tips about travel areas have replaced the need to pay a conventional travel agency to tell you what you need to know.

Leveraging this, some travel brands like TripAdvisor have made UGC their bread and butter. Despite this natural marriage of travel advice and traveler experiences, UGC’s potential is equal across the board.

Any business, regardless of size, should cash in on it.

Before you can take the advantage of UGC and integrate it into your content marketing strategy, you have to become very familiar with your audience generate content.

Follow these 4 steps to entice your fans and customers to take an active part in the content creation process:

1. Make Your own Content UGC-Like:

Let’s start with what you can control the most: your own content.

To make your brand content resonate more with your customers and fans, you may pick up on existing UGC.

By making your content look like UGC, viewers and readers are already familiar with your content’s material.

Top YouTubers do this all of the time.

2. Help Users Participate in Content Creation

Sometimes, to get things done, you just have to ask!

To get relevant feedback from your customers (UGC), you’ll need to incentivize content generation.

You can ask users direct questions (quizzes) about topics that you know they’re interested in, or ask them to join specific discussions. Invite your customers to share their experiences with your product.

Think Instagram. Within your business’s story, you can start Yes or No polls that will attract engage and will let you know how your audience feels about certain topics.

You can also run contests and offer freebies or discount coupons as a reward.

That way, you stimulate fan to fan conversation and lead them to generate shareable content in an organic way.

Then, you have to respond to user content, which leads us to the next point.

3. React to and Build on UGC

An effective way to encourage your audience to create content about your brand is to value the user content already created.

A very simple move is to sift through user comments and share the most pertinent and relevant ones.

You can do that with any type of UGC, and you can take it from there to create buzz around your brand. Here’s an example from Red Bull to give you an idea how this strategy might work if tackled creatively.

In 2014, Red Bull marketers spotted users mocking their Red Bull Mini Coopers with whimsical superimposing of red bulls on other objects. Like dogs, for example.

A yellow labrador with a yellow Red Bull on its back, mocking a Red Bull Mini Cooper
A yellow labrador with a yellow Red Bull on its back, mocking a Red Bull Mini Cooper | | Red Bull

In the following months, fans posted thousands upon thousands of original pictures featuring Red Bull cans. The response was so overwhelming that the #PutACanOnIt campaign was a winner at the Shorty Awards, and spurred a heated “canpaign” between Red Bull, Pepsi, and Perrier.

4. Call Upon Social Media Influencers

If your business enjoys the existence of a large digital community, it’s very likely that there are influencers.

Before anything else, social media influencers are consumers who happen to have a huge following fanbase, and you can tap into their reach power to entice user content generation.

Content created around your brand by influencers is more likely to engage consumers who would create their own content in return.

As to what an effective way to recruit the help of influencers, you have to reach into your pocket.

Most digital marketers do have a budget for influencer marketing and, because they get a lot of bang for their buck, about 60% of them said they plan on increasing it in the future.

As a marketer or brand owner, where does user-generated content fit into your marketing strategy?

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