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What is user-generated content and why is it important?

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You might have heard the term user-generated content floating around over the last few years. While it was a bit of an outline two or three years ago, today, all sorts of brands are reaping the benefits of user-generated content in a variety of ways.

Here, we’re going to give you a bit of a primer around user-generated content, what it is, and why it can make a big difference in your email marketing strategy.

Let’s dig into it.

What is user-generated content?

Here’s a basic definition:

User-generated content (UGC) is content about your brand created by people who aren’t involved in or related to your company. This sort of content is widespread on social media. Spend any time on TikTok, strictly for business purposes, of course, and you’ll see all kinds of quick bite videos about brands made by users.

In many cases, this type of content has a unique benefit: virality. Some of the world’s biggest brands haven’t been able to get the virality on their marketing content that a teen might produce in one 15 second video on TikTok.

In other words, UGC is really valuable. Having an army of people out there who love your stuff and are willing to spend their time, energy, and creativity to let other people know is every marketer’s dream. It is the type of positive content that’s so hard to buy, let alone produce, at scale.

Now that you know what user-generated content is let’s look at some of the reasons it can drive such a significant impact.

People trust other people

Study after study has shown that when it comes to building trust, consumers trust people more than brands. That’s a big reason behind the rise of content around testimonials and case studies. When a potential customer sees someone just like them saying your product or service is good, it can impact them more than pretty much any sort of marketing you can produce.

Why?

As you can see from the graphic above, the numbers don’t lie.

You’ve probably experienced this yourself. Maybe you’ve mentioned to a friend you’ve been thinking about getting a new mattress. Well, it turns out your friend just got one online, and they love it. Hearing something like has an impact. Maybe you weren’t even thinking of a particular brand, but such high praise from your friend matters to you because you trust them.

The same idea applies to user-generated content.

If someone is creating positive content about your brand without you asking them to, that’s a win. And other consumers, who know that there’s no brand behind that content, are more likely to pay attention. It’s the definition of social proof, and it’s highly valuable. It’s pretty hard to get such a high return on investment without spending any marketing dollars on your end.

Something else that user-generated content helps with is humanizing your brand. Let’s face it; sometimes, marketing can feel a little bit clunky. Something you might think will be a home run with consumers lands with a dud or just doesn’t connect. UGC takes you out of the equation; it’s content that can make other consumers laugh or cry or feel something positive about your company from someone who is just like you.

The potential virality of UGC also can help your brand reach a whole new group of customers too. For smaller brands that don’t have a ton of money to spend on outreach campaigns, that can be a huge added benefit. And, it’s even better when good content about your brand lands in the hands of popular influencers.

The cool thing about user-generated content is that virality and those emotions that it taps into can help drive people to buy your products and services. The key is you need to not only be aware of the UGC that’s out there about your brand; you need to actively keep an eye out for social media chatter.

When done right, you can capitalize on UGC and help convert more potential customers who find you through this type of content. Even a small uptick in conversions can end up dramatically, improving your bottom line.