User-generated content and why it deserves your attention

Want to connect with your audience? Let them sing your praises for you.

There’s a lot to be said for delegation. If someone else can do a job more effectively, it can save you time, effort, and money. And who better to promote your brand than your customers?

Yet many marketers still refuse to let their audience fill the role of advertiser. Maybe it’s the fear of losing control. Maybe it’s the worry of poorly-phrased reviews flooding your socials. Or it could be the age-old idea that you should manage all of your content with a tight grip.

Properly managed, user-generated content (UGC) won’t negatively impact your brand. On the contrary, allowing your audience to create your content is one of the most powerful ways you can communicate.

Wait…what is user-generated content?

Like the name suggests, any assets created by your customers can be user-generated content. It can be anything from Instagram snaps, reviews, blogs, or even homemade movie trailers.

It puts your customers at the centre of your brand. It builds authenticity and trust. And 93% of consumers find UGC useful when making a purchasing decision.

Break down barriers

With a focus on social media engagement, customer-created assets can break down the barrier between you and your audience.

Take LUSH. After their somewhat controversial decision to quit social media, LUSH is still at large with a yearly turnover of 1 billion dollars. And their audience is more vocal than ever on Instagram.

Hashtags like #LushLabs allow local stores and their staff to showcase new products and tips. Or follow the audience-focused #LushCommunity hashtag and you’ll see streams of recent customer snaps of bath bombs and face masks.

It’s marketing on a smaller scale with a bigger impact.

It takes the narrative out of corporate control and hands it over to the customers and staff. The emphasis on local stores and user-reviews creates a unique community within Instagram. With just a few clever hashtags, LUSH customers feel part of something instead of just being spoken to.

Instead of an “us vs them” situation, LUSH pushes for a community feel. The result? Customers who trust your brand will associate you with authenticity – which promotes loyalty and advocacy.

Everybody is an influencer

People trust people, not corporations. That’s nothing new.

The average consumer no longer trusts typical sales tactics. If a customer sees your glowing review, they’ll likely dismiss it as a generic marketing attempt. Conversely, if a customer spots a review penned by a third-party, they’re more likely to sit up and take note.

Makeup giant Glossier gained their mass following by capitalising on their existing micro-influencers. Instead of forking out for celebrity endorsements, Glossier focused on spreading the praises of “regular women”.

Harnessing the power of influence, Glossier launched a referral programme which enables the more influential followers to offer product discounts on their pages.

“What’s very motivating to us is this idea of every single woman being an influencer” 

– Glossier CEO, Emily Weiss 

If someone is singing your praises online, use this to you your advantage. Whether they’re reviewing your product on YouTube or snapping a pic for the gram, try to optimise any positive word of mouth.

Laura Ashley is a good example of this. If you’ve tagged their furniture in your picture, you could be appear on the Laura Ashley ‘Styled By You’ featured stories – which encourages budding influencers to tag and promote the brand hashtag.

Unleash the power of social proof

Last week, we discussed the recent Lego campaign. Promoting their City Police Lego sets, LEGO created an ad campaign using their own customer base: kids.

They launched Hollywood-esque movie trailers and “making of” videos on IGTV. The twist? The plot is directed by kids, while they’re playing with the LEGO set. By using their target audience’s ideas to sell the product, they’re selling the experience as it should be. They’re capturing the essence of LEGO.

That’s when UGC works best. A seal of approval from your core audience is worth its weight in gold when you use it well.


Minimum budget, maximum results

Encouraging pictures on Instagram. Optimising your reviews on TripAdvisor or Feefo. Creating a montage of your customers’ feedback. There’s one thing these have in common: a low marketing budget.

The beauty of UGC is that you don’t need to spend a lot to cause a stir. Using your own audience to promote your services is a cheap way to give your brand a boost. And, done well, it creates a level of authenticity and trust that money can’t buy.

Want to see what our content marketing team can do for you?

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