User-generated content (UGC) is nothing new in the social media marketing world. But it’s the top two reasons UGC is on the rise that social media marketers should pay attention to right now.
UGC comes in the form of photos shared by a brand (typically on Instagram) and reviews left by everyday customers. It’s the honest depiction of a product or service, straight from their peers.
There’s a good reason this form of marketing is continuing to expand, which we’ll explore more in-depth. Read on for our top two reasons UGC is on the rise.
Reason 1: The Consumer Is Always Right
Our top reason UGC is on the rise is that consumers demand it. We know that consumers want their brands to be human. We’ve discussed that previously here. But it’s more than that, they also want brands to put their money where their mouth is.
The days of smoke and mirror marketing are gone. Now is the time for honest and unfiltered dialog. Millennials hold the buying power, and they want to know that where they are putting their money not only aligns with their values but also is upfront with them.
The Data Doesn’t Lie
- 90% of consumers find UGC to be extremely helpful. There’s trust in everyday people, like themselves, who take the time to share about a company. It’s logical, really. Who would you trust? The celebrity who has a multi-million dollar contract with a brand? Or, the everyday woman who uses that product on a daily basis?
- Not only do they find UGC helpful, but they contribute to over 70% of UGC.
- During COVID, consumers relied heavily on UGC reviews. Around 21% admitted to checking user reviews more often during the pandemic than before.
The image below is from Power Reviews (you can read their full article here). They conducted a survey asking different generations which photos pushed them closer towards a purchase. In this particular image, the percentage of Millennials that preferred UGC from customers was an astounding 85%.
[Source: Power Reviews]
What This Tells Us
The obvious conclusion is that UGC is on the rise because the spending power of Millennials is on the rise. The numbers are plain as day, and brands that aren’t already, need to up their UGC game. Honestly, what does a brand have to lose by increasing its UGC content?
Reason 2: Brands Have Wised Up
The second reason that UGC is rising is that brands are catching up with what the public wants as well as what their marketing budget can afford (which took a hit for many during 2020). Change is hard, but as many of us know, the digital marketing world is constantly evolving.
Brands have recognized that they can earn their customer’s trust by increasing their UGC. They are also further driving customer engagement, which we know is always a win. But before a brand starts resharing UGC, there are a few things they need to ask.
Questions To Ask
- What is our goal? Treat collection of UGC like any other marketing campaign and plan it out. If you have a new product launching, plan how you want to utilize UGC. Whether it’s through a hashtag contest or a resharing of customers with their new product, or a customer creating something with that product.
- What is our process? Using the example above, develop the perfect hashtag for customers to use in addition to them tagging your page. Make it clear that when they share and tag you, you will be resharing their photo on your Instagram stories. If it’s a contest, be sure to have a landing page on your site that explains the rules and regulations involved.
- How creative can we get? Sky’s the limit, depending on the business’ tone of voice and product/service. Most importantly, you don’t want your UGC call-to-action (CTA) to be overly complicated. Keep it fun, simple, and rewarding!
Adobe is a great example of a company that realizes its customers are their best advertising. Their #MadeWithPhotoshop campaign highlights the creative artists that use their product. They also have #MadeWithIllustrator, #AdobeRisingStars, and more across all their accounts.
[Source: Adobe Photoshop on IG]
[Source: Adobe Lightroom on IG]
The top two reasons UGC is on the rise are because millennials trust it and brands recognize that. Millennials currently hold all the cards when it comes to buying power, and it’s anyone’s guess what will happen in the future.
As we head into the remaining months of 2021 (CRAZY, I know!), we’re left wondering what’s on the horizon. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict things with as much assuredness as we used to.
But in the meantime, keep your CTA game up for hashtags, reviews, and tagged customer photos. It’s saving on your marketing budget and it’s increasing the strength of the bridge from brand to the consumer.
Do you follow a brand that has an impressive UGC game? Let us know in the comments below!