Consumers trust other consumers more than the brands they buy from. This is where user-generated content comes into play: It’s a way of harnessing the voice of your customers as a marketing tactic to encourage brand love. It’s real, it’s relatable and it’s relevant.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is any kind of copy, video or image produced and shared by customers rather than by a brand itself.
The different types of UGC
Here are just a few examples of user-generated content:
- “Unboxing” videos
- Social posts including a brand’s hashtag or handle
- Review videos
- Blog posts
- Sponsored/paid influencer campaigns
Of all UGC types, video is king in terms of engagement and SEO. Stats show that 72% of e-commerce customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video.
The benefits of UGC
Stats show that 90% of people are much more likely to trust a recommended brand (even from strangers). It goes without saying that it’s much easier to trust someone who isn’t trying to sell you something. That means brands have a tremendous amount to be gained by enabling their own customers to promote their products and services.
Authentic UGC not only captures consumers’ attention—it also triggers an emotional response. When targeted to the right audiences, authentic video leads to higher engagement, which in turn can drive higher conversions. What do we mean by authentic? In comparison to high-budget videos with models and props, these videos feature real people in their real spaces. They’re created on mobile devices or laptops, without the perfection of most branded videos—intentionally. Many companies try to fake authenticity with “pretend-you’re-real” actors in high-production videos, but consumers are onto them… and can spot fake in a half-second scroll.
Companies are reshifting their focus to produce relatable, user-generated videos to compete for share of voice. Studies in video advertising show that consumers are most interested in messages rich in positivity—which ultimately produces higher engagement with brands. When user-generated videos include genuine messages of positivity, the likelihood of being shared with friends or family doubles.
On the other hand, since UGC isn’t made in a studio, it can be iffy (at best) in terms of quality. That’s where branded user-generated content fits in. More on that below.
The problem with traditional UGC
Traditional UGC is often collected via branded hashtags (which consumers include in their social media posts), which provides a “gathering place” where brands can search for what’s worth re-sharing. Newsletters are sometimes used to let customers know how to share their content with the brand (generally with an incentive, such as a discount code or the chance to win a gift card). It’s notoriously hit or miss in terms of quality, and a company has zero control over the message.
Influencer-generated content, on the other hand, gives a brand some control and is generally visually appealing—but consumers often associate influencers with paid partnerships, giving pricey campaigns very little believability. This route also requires reaching out to influencers or their agents, negotiating rates, etc.
A brand could gather real customers for a video or photo shoot, but this quickly becomes time-consuming and expensive to create. Also, high-production brand videos, even featuring real people, come off as inauthentic (consumers can tell the difference, trust us). Imperfect, real-life video may not be what you want, but it’s what your brand needs and what your customers demand. This high level of engagement is incredibly valuable in today’s increasingly competitive consumer marketplace.
A better alternative to UGC
What if there were an easier way to produce genuine, impactful video content? Enter StoryTap’s patented video automation. Those are a lot of words, but it’s actually super simple: a user-friendly platform (along with customized storylines) creates video stories from consumers or employees—at scale, in any language, for any demographic. The end result is authentic video content like product reviews, self-service videos (where FAQs are answered by staff), testimonials and more. All videos include SEO metadata and are fully brand-controlled and free to share across multiple channels (including social media).
Find out how branded user-generated content can be a game-changer for your brand. Schedule a demo and we’ll show you how StoryTap can turbocharge your brand growth online.