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The potential of User-Generated Content: harness authenticity to boost engagement and trust

June 22, 2023

An example of User Generated Content on social media

Hello there fellow readers.

You’ve probably already found yourself here: Aryel’s digital alcove, where marketing loses its intimidating front to become your most trusted ally.

Another day, but the struggle is pretty much the same (and we know it quite well): cutting through the digital noise, yearning to make your brand echo louder and resonate on a deeper level with your customers. We’ve been there, done that, and this time we bring another deep dive into the fast moving waters of marketing.

Today we want to focus our attention on the subject of User-Generated Content, or as the marketing acronym-lover community usually calls it, UGC.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. “Another acronym, another strategy to tick in my ever-growing marketing activity book. Is UGC really worth it?” Well, hold on for a moment and consider what UGC really means.

What does UGC mean?

Let’s keep tech talk short: UGC stands for User-Generated Content. In the simplest terms, it refers to any form of content, be it text, images, videos, reviews, or even comments. This content is created by people, or ‘users’, rather than by brands or companies themselves.
But let’s make it more tangible: think of a tweet about a product you love, an Instagram selfie with your favorite sunglasses brand, or a product review on a company’s website. Those are all examples of User Generated Content.

UGC is the digital word-of-mouth of our times. Think of it as an unfiltered microphone handed to your consumers, amplifying their voices and experiences. In doing so, its power lies in its authenticity and trustworthiness. After all, we’re more likely to trust a review from a fellow user than a shiny ad, right?

UGC is not about telling your audience how great your brand is. Instead, it’s about your audience sharing their authentic experiences, championing your brand in their own unique ways.
In this digital democracy, the voice of the people (your consumers) rises above the brand monologue, becoming the anthem for a marketing revolution.

Now, if that doesn’t sound like a symphony in your marketing ear, let’s give us a few moments to educate you on why you shouldn’t sleep on User Generated Content.

Power to the people: why UGC matters for brands?

Alright, it’s time to turn the spotlight onto our customers – the real heroes of our story.
So, you ask, why does User-Generated Content matter so much for brands?
Well, there’s good enough reasons for that.

First of all, it’s a matter of authenticity.
In a world where consumers are bombarded with advertisements from all angles, authenticity is like a breath of fresh air. UGC is essentially consumer-based marketing – it’s your audience trying out your products and talking about them in their own words​​.

This authenticity isn’t just refreshing, but it’s powerful, working as a social proof in front of your customers: it portrays your brand in a real, relatable way, keeping it top of mind for consumers when they’re choosing between yours and other brands​​.

Next in line there is trust.
In a scenario in which users are exposed to advertising between 6,000 and 10,000 times per day, individuals trust referrals from friends and family over brands themselves.

In this sense, UGC is the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth, bringing a level of trust that no branded content can match.
You’re not just showcasing your products, you’re showcasing real experiences with your products, and that’s a major trust-builder.

Now it’s time to talk about engagement.
UGC can really be a magnet for engagement, when done correctly. It’s content created by the people, for the people: it would resonate more with your audience, making them more keen to interact with you.

Moreover, UGC can be incredibly versatile, fitting into any digital medium – emails, web pages, social media, and more​​.

Lastly, let’s not forget about influencers. Be they celebrities or niche content creators, they are at the forefront of the User Generated Content revolution. These individuals have a unique knack for connecting with their audience on a personal level, creating a community of trust that brands can tap into​​.

But how do influencers actually factor into UGC, you might wonder?
When influencers use a product or service and share their experiences with their followers, they’re essentially creating UGC. It’s content that’s authentic, relatable, and influential – a combination that makes UGC incredibly powerful.

How to get content created by your customers: a strategy compendium

Alright, this is where the rubber meets the road, dear marketer.
Grab your notepads and sharpen your pencils, because it’s time to let your customers be the stars of your brand’s story.

  • Encourage user contributions with contests
    Firstly, let’s talk about contests. These can be an excellent motivator for users to contribute content. After all, who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? You can even offer some kind of reward to spice things up…
  • Offer rewards in exchange for UGC
    We all know that rewards can be a great incentive, and when it comes to UGC, it’s no different. Offering rewards, be they discounts, exclusive access, or even new products and gadgets, can encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand.
  • Engage with influencers
    As we said, influencers are like the golden geese of UGC. Engaging with influencers who are already talking about your brand can yield a wealth of content. Remember, influencers have a built-in audience that trusts their recommendations, so, if used correctly, their UGC can significantly increase your brand’s reach and credibility​​.
  • Interact with your community
    The power of community interaction cannot be overstated. Hosting games, events, or even simple Q&A sessions can open up avenues for UGC. These activities not only engage your existing audience but also provide a platform for them to express their opinions, ideas, and experiences related to your brand.
  • Validate your customers
    Last but certainly not least, make your customers feel seen and appreciated. Encourage them to represent your brand through images or posts, and when they do, show them some love. Like, share, comment on their content. This validation not only encourages them to create more UGC but also strengthens their connection with your brand.

So there you have it, a compendium of strategies to harness the power of UGC. But remember, every brand is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Experiment, explore, and find the strategies that resonate with your customers. After all, we like to say that at the end of the day, it’s all about creating a meaningful connection with your audience.

User Generated Content: transforming brand-consumer relationships

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the power and influence of User-Generated Content has become increasingly apparent. In a world where authenticity, trust, and connection are currency, UGC serves as a valuable tool for brands to build relationships with their audience, drive engagement, and ultimately, boost sales.

Whether it’s through influencers, contests, surveys, or customer reviews, UGC allows brands to meet consumers where they are, providing a platform for their voices and experiences.
The authenticity of User-Generated Content can help your brand become more relatable, more human, and yes, more trusted.

So, there you have it. User-Generated Content: It’s organic, versatile, engaging, and most importantly, it’s authentic. It’s not just about creating content; it’s about creating connections. And in today’s digital world, those connections are what truly set brands apart.

So, are you ready to pass the mic to your customers? User-generated content isn’t the only way to enable customers to express themselves and interact with your product. With Augmented Reality, you can create immersive experiences in which your users engage with your brand and products in an innovative and engaging way. Want to know more? Book a call with our sales team today.