While User Generated Content (UGC) may seem like a recent buzzword, it’s in fact been around pretty much since the dawn of the internet. From bloggers and newspaper websites encouraging readers to comment on their posts/articles, to guest posts or editorships inviting third party experts to contribute and then, of course, reviews, where people can rate a product or service.

However, with the introduction of social media to the digital world, UGC has been taken to another level, initially through hashtags to help grow and encourage engagement within the online community; then sharing of photo and video content and now, more creatively, through Instagram and Facebook Stories.

By engaging customers in the content creation process users will engage effectively with your brand and the more people who engage, the further your message spread.

So why does User Generated Content matter and why should you be utilising it as part of your business’ digital marketing strategy?

User Generated Content is about much more than soliciting and sharing customer reviews. Encouraging customers to share content they have created themselves that is relevant to your product or service is a fantastic marketing tool.

One example of this is Virgin Holidays’ Seize the Holiday campaign, which picked up Marketing Week’s Campaign of the Year Award in 2017. The campaign encouraged customers to share photos of their holidays on social media using the hashtag #SeizeTheHoliday. The very best images were shared and then used as part of a billboard advertising campaign – some even made it on TV.

There are multiple benefits to a campaign like this; not only did it increase engagement but it provided the content for the company’s advertising campaign, thus reducing associated costs and it also boost sales.

Actively encouraging UGC among your customers by creating a campaign for them to take part in will also enable you to take control of UGC. There’s no avoiding the fact that people will share poor experiences online and you don’t want that to be the only UGC about your company that’s created. So, if customers are already creating content, why not try engaging them to shape a positive message?

If your business is not yet taking advantage of user generated content, you are missing a huge opportunity. Air Social has created various award-winning UGC campaigns for its clients, such as our award-winning Keepy Uppy Challenge for Seymours Estate Agents. To find out more about how we can help you harness the power of UGC in 2020, contact one of our team on 01483 789434 or pop into our office on Guildford High Street.

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