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There’s little room to argue that user-generated content (UGC) isn’t one of the most sought-after assets for marketers. With Gen Z respondents saying they believe UGC to be the most authentic and trustworthy type of content, it’s an incentive for brands to gather and share it.

Serving as social proof to build consumer confidence, UGC is valued for its ability to generate buzz that’s raw and real without the heavy hand of advertising execs molding the messaging. For brands looking to capitalize on the next best thing to recommendations from family and friends, try out some of these methods for acquiring user-generated content.

1. Hold a giveaway

Giveaways are a common and affordable way to generate user-generated content. 

Consider asking customers to create a post about a specific product or service that your brand is aiming to promote (ideally with a relevant hashtag), tagging your brand in the process. Then, encourage viewers to vote for their favorites, awarding the top finalists prizes.

2. Encourage ongoing UGC with a brand advocacy hub

Encouraging ongoing user-generated content (UGC) becomes significantly easier with a brand advocacy hub on our platform, which allows you to cultivate a community of dedicated brand advocates who consistently create and share content about your brand. 

By providing a space where your most loyal customers can engage, share their experiences, and get rewarded for their advocacy, you not only foster a sense of belonging but also create a steady stream of authentic UGC. The hub also allows easy tracking and repurposing of this content, making it an invaluable tool in your UGC strategy.

What types of results are brands with advocacy hubs seeing? For example, brand advocates for a well-known kitchen appliance manufacturer specializing in air fryers have created over 4,500 pieces of UGC in about one year. This includes over 2,000 stories on social media and over 700 5-star reviews on major online retailers and the brand’s website.

In another example, brand advocates for a leading manufacturer of robot vacuum cleaners created nearly 10,000 pieces of UGC since their advocate marketing program began four years ago. This includes approximately 9,000 stories and about 1,000 enthusiastic reviews of the brand’s products on various major retailers. These reviews have helped the brand boost ratings, reviews, and revenues on its retail partner sites.

Ratings and reviews are the most important factor in purchase decisions — 93% of shoppers say this content impacts whether or not they purchase a product, according to Power Reviews. User-generated content from brand advocates can influence consumer behavior and boost a brand’s reputation and sales.

3. Do some social monitoring

Beyond searching for hashtags, brands can use social monitoring tools to track mentions and conversations on various platforms and sources, including forums, blogs, message boards, news sites, wikis, and social media channels. 

If the content aligns with your brand’s goals, voice, and audience, you can ask permission to repost it with credit to the creator.

4. Develop an ambassador program

Enlist the help of your most loyal fans by rewarding them to create content for your brand. Playing off the idea of VIP exclusivity, your best customers can earn discounts, free products, early-access shopping, free shipping, or payment for creating brand content based on predetermined guidelines that your team sets. 

One final note: Always get explicit consent when using material created by fans or customers. At times, you may also need to offer compensation (of some sort) to use their content. You may also be able to post disclaimers and disclosures about how you intend to use any UGC that’s submitted, for example, through your branded website or social media channels. 

5. Ask product-development questions

While gathering UGC might be your primary goal, asking customers and prospects questions about their preferences can provide quality feedback for your company’s product development teams. 

Need some examples? Here are a few for inspiration:

  • “What new colors would you be most interested in seeing, and why do you think it would be popular?
  • “If you could invent a new flavor for our brand, what would it be and why?”
  • “What features would you like to see added to our product/service and how would you use it?”
  • “What types of products are we missing from our line and how often would you use them?”
  • “Digitally alter a photo of yourself wearing (or using) our product in color/pattern we don’t yet offer and convince us why we should make it a reality.”

Be sure to consider both acknowledgment and compensation of some form if a piece of content leads to developing a new product or service.

Use these methods or a brand advocacy hub to gather user-generated content for your website, emails, advertising, and future marketing campaigns. By letting happy customers speak about your brand in their own voice, you’ll boost your marketing efforts as genuinely and effectively as possible. 

A person meets virtually with a woman. Contact us to begin your advocate marketing program.

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Businesses leverage Zuberance to fuel their advocacy programs, integrating them into their overall marketing programs. The outcome? Lowered marketing expenses, enhanced customer engagement, improved retention rates, and most importantly, positive ROI.