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As a marketer, you want to be consistently generating content your customers trust and use. As it turns out, there is a name for this type of content – UGC, or User Generated Content.

The Nielsen Company, an independent survey entity that keeps a finger on the pulse of consumer opinion and behavior, recently verified that UGC-related content outperforms regular ads by 92 percent!

Would you like to have consumers who are willing to pay more, wait longer, stay loyal, suffer zero “buyer’s remorse” and regularly recommend your products to their networks?

If you answered yes (and what marketer wouldn’t), then according to TurnTo Networks, UGC messaging is the answer.

Understanding UGC: A Practical Definition for User Generated Content

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If you are familiar with the concept of the old-fashioned “bucket brigade,” you know this is the method that was used to put out fires before fire trucks with long fire hoses were invented.

People would stand in a line, each holding an empty bucket. The first person would fill their bucket with water, and then the water would be passed down the line from bucket to bucket until it could be used to douse the fire.

Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a very efficient way to fight fires, but it is an incredibly efficient way to market your products and services!

Why is this? Imagine that your business only has one customer, but that customer is very happy and satisfied. That customer spends a lot of time online on social media. They share how happy and satisfied they are about your products and services with others in their online network.

The word begins to spread. Like the old-fashioned bucket brigade, the news gets passed from your single customer to their contacts, who then share it with their contacts and so forth and so on.

This is how you can use UGC marketing strategies to leverage the power of one single happy, satisfied customer into a profitable business.

Effective Marketing Tools for UGC Marketing

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Videos, text messages, memes, infographics, audio, and other tools are all equally effective methods of bucket brigade-style digital marketing.

If your happy, satisfied customers want to improve upon your tools and add their own spin, even better. This is how UGC earned the alternate moniker of UCC or User Created Content.

Let’s say you have some swag that you handed out through a recent online giveaway or hashtag raffle. The swag is pretty cool, and the winners really liked it. So now, they are sharing pics of their winnings with their digital networks.

Photos, videos, and memes of your company’s branded swag are now percolating through the online world, reaching new potential customers who are already interested because they are learning about your company’s products and services from someone they trust.

Here are three great UGC campaigns you may want to study up on and learn more about so you can adapt them for your own marketing goals:

– Coca-Cola: #ShareaCoke
– Starbucks: #WhiteCupContest
– GoPro: #GoPro

How to Harness the Power of UGC for Your Brand

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At this point, you are likely already tired of reading about UGC and UCC, and you are chomping at the bit to try it for yourself.

Are there certain techniques that work better and, if yes, what should you do first?

– Keep your customers in the limelight.

The transition from traditional advertising to UGC has been awkward for many long-time established major industry players.

It isn’t the easiest transition to make, to stop the hard-hitting, in-your-face, sell-sell-sell strategy that worked for customers of decades past.

So you need to think of UGC like soft-selling on steroids.

You really need a light touch to encourage your customers to come forward, stand in the limelight, and share their experiences. Everyone craves 15 minutes (or at least 15 seconds) of fame, and now you can use UGC ideas to give your loyal customers their shot.

– Engage, engage, engage.

When a happy customer shares your product or message online, re-share! Thank them. Offer swag. Get excited about their engagement and let them know it.

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to do this is through custom hashtags. Revisit the three successful hashtag-based campaigns we cited above here for more on this.

– Share and share alike for a marketing win-win.

Have you ever gone to the movies and watched a short student-directed film as part of the previews? Coca-Cola has once again found a runaway success with this strategy.

Talented young filmmakers build their portfolios and get access to a mainstream audience, and Coca-Cola gets great content to use for free to market with. In turn, the young winners share their films with their audiences and Coca-Cola along with it.

You can do something similar by creating contests and showcasing awesome customer-created content on your platform. This type of win-win strategy is near-guaranteed to generate fresh sales opportunities.

– Don’t forget about SEO.

Customized hashtag contests are great for this. So are memes. Instead of the old-school motto or slogan, today’s UGC marketers are using hashtags and memes to easily distribute core SEO-optimized messaging via organic search results.

– Become the student of your consumers.

There is an old saying – “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” For companies who really want to make a splash with an ongoing ripple effect, there is no better teacher than your own consumers.

Learn from your customers by vigilantly tracking what they say and share with their networks about your brand.

Follow influencers in your target market and learn how they interact with their audiences. Copy their strategies. Connect with these influencers and strategize to meet your goals and theirs.

Getting Started With UGC and UCC

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UGC and UCC are here to stay and are likely to only become more influential in this rapidly changing world we live in today. If you are not doing UGC marketing now, you are already behind. Employing a user-generated content strategy can be tricky but with a web filter such as webpurify to help keep the content family-friendly. Contact us today to create your custom-crafted UGC marketing strategy.