If your consumers are like most, finding an out-of-this-world brand or product that lights their fire means they just have to tell the world about it. Whether that’s by showing off a new outfit, unboxing a subscription service, or creating something with a new tool or app, these are all user-generated content.
And what’s really going to launch your brand into the stratosphere is user-generated video content! Though it comes in many forms, user-generated video content is the ultimate combination of authentic user experiences and the engaging qualities of video. When your fans start creating videos featuring your brand or products, prepare for liftoff!
What Is User-Generated Video Content?
User-generated content (UGC) is original material that is created by your audience/customers, features your brand, and gets published on their social media channels and video platforms. Though UGC can be created in virtually any content form, including articles or testimonials, videos are the #1 type of content to drive engagement.
In most cases, customers are the biggest contributors to a brand’s user-generated content. You’ll often see video UGC as testimonials, product reviews, unboxing videos, and tutorials. Most of the time, these types of videos are created because the customer got excited about the product and chose to share the content, but sometimes, especially when celebrities and influencers are involved, it’s through a partnership with the brand.
Benefits of User-Generated Video Content
UGC in all forms is beneficial, but video content has a special edge. Here’s why:
It Boosts Social Media Reach and Brand Awareness
Though UGC can be shared on a multitude of marketing channels, it’s not surprising that it’s a perfect match for social media marketing – especially in video format. Social media users find video content more compelling and easier to digest, so the audience’s attention is captured immediately and held longer. Additionally, other users are likely to re-share the content with their followers, boosting your reach with more potential customers.
To encourage your users to create content on social media, you can host a contest or giveaway with a custom hashtag or a challenge. Doing so ignites competition for users to engage in a friendly rivalry and submit their own content.
It Provides Valuable Data
UGC offers many insights into your audience’s behaviors, interests, and preferences. You can analyze their content to understand what gets shared and what the audience finds engaging and use that data to inform your marketing strategy.
You can conduct an audit of the content that’s generated by your audience to glean valuable information from it. For example, UGC that contains reviews or testimonials gives you direct feedback on what your customers like (and don’t like) about your new products or services.
Another key feature to note is the tone or theme of the content your audience shares. Does it align with your brand? Is there an aspect of the brand personality that your audience embraces but you’ve overlooked?
It Offers a Unique Perspective
No matter how talented your marketing team is, they will always have a bit of tunnel vision for your brand. UGC gives you the benefit of an outside perspective that provides different ideas and substance than your marketing team typically delivers keeping things fresh and interesting.
This outside perspective also attracts and encourages new audiences to be welcomed into the brand family, potentially turning them into loyal fans in the future.
It Provides Personalization
One big advantage of UGC is personalization. Audiences are more likely to notice and engage with content that resonates with them, which is why personalization is important. UGC, by its nature, is more personalized than branded content. The audience inherently feels like it’s connecting with a real person, rather than an overproduced ad.
Better yet, you can use insights from UGC to bring a more human aspect into your brand’s marketing efforts and campaigns building a loyal brand community. This enables customers to be active participants in a brand’s growth, not just spectators.
It’s Authentic Content
Brands are facing fiercer competition now than ever before, especially online. With more options, customers are savvier and get to choose which brands and products they want to interact with and purchase, rather than being limited to only a few selections.
Because UGC comes from real customers – rather than marketers – it’s more authentic than traditional marketing. Similar to influencer marketing, UGC leverages the trust that comes from word-of-mouth recommendations.
UGC has a strong influence on customers, particularly as they enter the final stages of the buyer’s journey and make purchasing decisions. By providing authentic social proof, audiences are more likely to complete their purchase.
For example, a customer may like clothing from a particular fashion brand, but if they’re not sure how it will look on them personally, they may not purchase it. Seeing it on a “real” person with similar characteristics or body type as them may encourage them to buy.
It’s Adaptable and Reusable
You can get a lot of traction out of UGC beyond just social media platforms. UGC can be repurposed onto landing pages or on product pages to help increase conversion rates.
For example, Calvin Klein has a landing page specifically for UGC showing how real customers, rather than models, style its clothing. BlackMilk Clothing, an Australian alternative clothing brand, takes a similar approach with styling inspiration suggested on its product pages.
Source: Calvin Klein
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest advantages of UGC is that it’s more cost-effective than other marketing tactics such as influencer marketing. Many customers will be willing to share posts featuring the product for nothing – or nearly nothing.
More extensive UGC like reviews and testimonials can be incentivized in an affordable way by offering a free sample or discount, rewards points, or a chance to be featured on the brand’s social media pages or website. When people really love a brand, they’re often happy to talk about it.
Examples of Excellent User-Generated Content
Looking for inspiration? Here are some of the best examples of UGC videos.
GoPro is essentially designed for UGC. The video company leverages UGC for its YouTube channel by featuring videos shot by customers. In fact, some of its top-performing videos are user generated.
As a result, GoPro created its own awards show to inspire customers to use their GoPro to create captivating video content. There are also photo challenges to allow customers more ways to get creative.
One of the most successful examples of UGC – and marketing campaigns in general – is Apple’s #ShotOniPhone. In 2014, Apple launched the campaign to promote the iPhone 6, and it’s been running ever since.
Users are encouraged to share video content that was created with their iPhones. It’s a simple concept, but in doing so, Apple turned users into unofficial brand ambassadors, indirectly promoted a product without directly selling it, and most importantly, captured the heart and innovation that’s integral to the brand.
The campaign has grown significantly since it was first launched. Apple has collaborated with celebrities like Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga to shoot music videos with the iPhone and introduced the #iPhonemacrochallenge. This contest allows users to compete for a chance to have their work featured on websites and in Apple Stores – complete with a license fee.
When KFC launched a new chicken sandwich, it created a viral UGC campaign on TikTok to boost demand. The campaign was anchored with TopView advertisements – ads that appear at the top of the user’s For You feed when they first open the TikTok app – a major marketing goal for TikTok.
One of the highlights of the campaign is Lili Hayes, a favorite “granny” who became the face of the promotion. As the star of the UGC show, she portrayed Colonel Sanders and led viewers through the components of the sandwich.
In 2021, Spotify developed a UGC video campaign with a goal of connecting Gen Z with their emotions using music. In one of the most creative UGC campaigns to date, Spotify collaborated with influencers and provided a platform for them to discuss the importance of music in their lives. Users were inspired, got involved, and shared the ways they use the platform to enjoy music.
Tips for Success with User-Generated Video Content
Here are some suggestions to get the most out of your UGC campaigns:
Always Ask for Permission
Even though UGC features your brand, you still need permission to share a user’s content on your website or platforms. Always ask before using UGC. Users may be comfortable talking about your brand to their own network but not to your brand’s full audience, so it’s important to get permission to share or repurpose it.
Once you get permission, be sure to credit the original creator explicitly by tagging them or leaving a source or image credit to ensure viewers know where the content came from. Taking this small step nurtures goodwill among your target audience and encourages users to create more content in the future. Viewers also know that the content came from a fan or content creator, not your marketing team.
Create UGC Guidelines
Most UGC creators want their content shared, especially by a big brand. If you create brand guidelines for UGC, it incentivizes users to create content they know you want and helps you influence the narrative. Be specific and help your followers deliver the content that works for your brand.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few common questions to help you learn more about UGC.
What Are Examples of User-Generated Content?
The types of UGC can include any piece of content that a customer or user creates for your brand, such as videos, social posts, blogs, memes, podcasts, and articles.
What Is the Difference Between User-Generated Content and Content Generated by Brands?
Various types of user-generated content are inherently more trustworthy than brand-generated content because it comes from a real person – someone who is a consumer of the brand or product. Other users view UGC as authentic in a similar way to recommendations from friends and family.
Is UGC Low Quality?
Not necessarily. The audience making UGC is varied, so the content’s production levels, styles, and impact is as well. UGC can be improvised and done quickly, depending on the creator, but that doesn’t mean it’s low quality.
Where Do You Find User-Generated Content?
Brands can find UGC on their social media channels by looking at the photos they’re tagged in, their mentions, and their branded or custom hashtag page. It’s a good idea to keep a close watch on these areas of their social media channels to find and share relevant and useful UGC in a timely manner.
A social media marketing agency like Rocket Launch has mission expertise to help propel your brand reputation into awesomeness where your audience wants to create content about your products and services, enabling you to fully harness the power of user-generated content. Contact us today to start your launch sequence!