A few years ago, the letters U-G-C meant nothing. But the Internet doesn’t have time for multi-syllabic words, so abbreviations are all the rage, right?
Too bad the Internet didn’t get the abbreviation right.
Let me explain:
User-generated content from a brand perspective are images, videos and even text that generally show, feature or discuss the product or service in question. Yes, broadly it can mean the content fits any general description you’re looking for, so long as it’s made by random people on the Internet. But let’s face it: Oreos isn’t likely to use a random picture of a pretty sunset. Unless the person has Photoshopped a cookie over the sun.
By definition, though, the user in this case is either a customer or a fan of the brand. Else, they wouldn’t be posting about it.
A CIPIO.ai, we refer to this as Community Generated Content, or CGC. It’s content generated by people who know, like, and trust your brand. They are predisposed to share their love of your product or service with others.
Community Generated Content is a powerful force to help brands increase engagement, build trust and loyalty, and ultimately drive more customers to their products or services. These are the pieces of content created or shared by customers or followers that include photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, and other social media posts.
Leveraging CGC is particularly effective for brands because it allows them to showcase real-life experiences and opinions from people who have already used their products or services. This builds trust and credibility, and is often more persuasive than traditional marketing messages.
Here are CIPIO.ai’s Four Simple Steps to Leverage Community Generated Content to Grow Your Brand:
1. Encourage and Incentivize CGC creation
The first step in leveraging CGC from your own community is to encourage and incentivize its creation. This can be done in a number of ways, including running contests, offering discounts or free products in exchange for CGC, or simply asking customers to share their experiences on social media.
Whatever approach you choose, it's important to make it clear that you value and appreciate CGC from your community, and provide clear guidelines and instructions for creating and sharing CGC in ways the brand can show that appreciation. This can be as simple as saying “Tag us in your post and we may share your content with the rest of our community!”
2. Curate and Showcase CGC effectively
Once you've incentivized content creation from your community, it’s important to follow through and illustrate you value it. Choose the best CGC to showcase on your website, social media accounts, or other marketing channels, and present it in a way that is visually appealing and engaging.
For the absolute best of the best, we strongly recommend you use CGC in your paid advertising campaigns. It is often more effective than traditional advertising creative.
3. Leverage CGC to Create a Sense of Community
When you overtly ask for and then display your CGC, it forms a sense of community around your brand. Showcasing CGC from your most loyal customers, or encouraging customers to share their experiences and opinions openly opens the floodgates of trust that are critical in community building.
These practices also increase engagement, encourage growth in participation, membership and even paid customers because you’re actively engaged in valuing your customers openly.
4. Monitor and respond to CGC
Finally, it's important to monitor and respond to CGC, regardless of who it’s from or whether or not you intend to use it. Failure to at least thank the person for posting it can be interpreted as ignoring the community member, which is the opposite of what CGC use is meant for.
This means regularly checking social media and review sites for mentions of your brand, and responding to both positive and negative feedback in a timely and professional manner.
By monitoring and responding to CGC, you show your customers you value their opinions and feedback, and you are committed to providing the best customer experience.
Your community of customers, fans and followers are creating content on social media. They’re posting pictures, short videos, writing stories and even posting ratings and reviews of products. And you need content to fill your own calendars on those same social media channels. Connect the two and a big part of your problem is solved.
But it takes a concentrated effort and the investment in your customers and community to leverage CGC wisely. When you make that commitment, however, you quickly find that you increase engagement, build trust and loyalty, and ultimately drive more customers to do business with you.
We keep saying we need more authentic, engaging social media content right? Who better to create that than the content creators who already buy, use and love our products?
If you want to cut to the chase and see a demo of our Community Influence Marketing platform, head to our website at CIPIO.ai and schedule one. We can talk about both it and CGC at the same time if you like.