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The numbers speak for themselves: 1% of Millennials trust a brand's advertising; 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations above all forms of advertising; and 80% of online content nowadays is user-generated content (UGC).

Without a doubt, people's product preferences are influenced by media. People also have no qualms about using media to share stories about their personal experience with brands.

The point I'm trying to drive home here is that no marketer of sound mind would miss the chance to mobilize their consumers in an effort to drive business impact and inspire those customers to tell stories in a natural way, spreading authentic brand truths.

Unlike advertising, UGC campaigns are about sincerity and authenticity, and the business benefits of such an approach are clear:

  • Brand trust and awareness (consumers give you credit if you have an interest in their opinions)
  • Broad exposure (the social proof phenomenon works here)
  • Better virality (consumers are prone to sharing their thoughts and emotions with peers)
  • Better SEO (25% of search results are links to UGC)
  • Better conversion (in the case of Instagram, for example)

With all that in mind, chances are you already consider UGC part of your marketing campaign. But do you consider all of its elements when attempting to influence consumers?

Step 1: Set a clear marketing goal

To develop a strategy for your smart UGC campaign, answer two questions related to setting a clear marketing goal:

  1. Why do you need UGC?
  2. How will you use it?

Your motivation might be to...

  • Come up with business ideas (create a new motto or tagline, design a new logo, etc.)
  • Generate new content (a persistent problem for all content marketers)
  • Attract new clients (and increase sales as a result)
  • Get more followers on social media
  • Increase brand loyalty (customers' comments, testimonials, or reviews)
  • Improve goodwill

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image of Lesley Vos

Lesley Vos is a writer and marketer specializing in content research, creation, and promotion.

Twitter: @Lesley Vos

LinkedIn: Lesley J. Vox