How to build a brand community through User-Generated content

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How to build a brand community through User-Generated content

Have you ever wondered how to create a community for your brand using User-Generated Content (UGC)? Let’s talk about content generated by users.

Because, indeed: user-generated content, content generated by the user, or UGC, are different ways of referring to the same thing.

This article will focus on how we can capitalize on all those images, videos, and texts, to make our community grow and enrich itself. We will see some strategies and ways to turn UGC into a community generator.

What is User-Generated Content exactly?

Just to solidify the concept: UGC refers to the posts that consumers of a brand make on their social profiles or any other digital platform spontaneously and without compensation from the brand.

It’s important to emphasize the part of the definition that talks about “spontaneity and absence of compensation.” User generated content can be encouraged, but from the moment it is paid for, it would be more of an influencer marketing strategy.

If we give away or gift a product, is it still considered user generated content? This is less clear. For some, it is because it is a collaboration, and for others it is not because there is no payment as such. I leave it up to your discretion.

Advantages of UGC

It has several benefits for brands, but some of the main advantages are:

  • It provides credibility: It is one of the pillars of social proof. Nothing is more powerful in that sense than a recommendation among peers. People trust people above all else. A good comment equals product validation by that person in front of their own community.
  • It offers reality: You can have the best product images, but seeing a video or images created by people provides context. It’s easier to identify with an average person than a model.
  • User experience: You can know your target audience perfectly, but if you want to be a truly customer-centric company, you need to know how they think and what really motivates them. You can learn a lot about customer preferences by seeing the actual use of the products.

Creating a user generated content community

To these advantages, we can add the one that gives this post its title: its ability to generate online and offline community. Customers who engage with a brand beyond a simple commercial transaction.

The goal is to turn UGC into another asset and, at the same time, into a generator of more content. How? Here are some tactics:

#1 – Incorporate the content into your online store

This is something that is becoming more and more common. If you have a good group of users who post content about your brand, you can, with their permission, add those images and videos to your product pages.

I’m not saying they should replace professionally produced content, but you can add a section with photos/videos of our users using that product. This has a dual effect: it fosters user loyalty by making them feel heard by the brand, and encourages others to do the same to appear on the brand’s website.

#2 – Use your own hashtags and monitor

It’s very basic, but not everyone does it. Hashtags make it easy to search for and locate content and categorize it if you have more than one.

On the other hand, active listening tools allow you to find brand mentions where you haven’t been tagged, product mentions, and other types of interactions that you wouldn’t discover otherwise.

#3 – Interact with user-generated content

It only takes a few minutes, but the effect that responding to a review or content on any channel can have is much greater than you might imagine. A brand that engages with its community is much better perceived.

You can do many things, not just simple responses (please don’t make them seem automated or templated, as that undermines the effect). A retweet or repost of user-generated content is a message to the entire community. You’re telling them, “I care about what you do.”

Something that works very well right now is the theme of reactions. You can split-screen your team’s impressions when viewing a customer’s content.

#4 – Boost UGC generation with proactive actions

It’s easier and more comfortable to have a reactive role in what comes our way, but there are simple actions that can grow the community more quickly with user-generated content.

We mentioned using hashtags earlier. That’s great, but we can take it a step further. Why not create our own trend on TikTok/Reels? If you can make it popular, it can spread like wildfire.

Contests also work, as long as one of the requirements to participate is to follow and tag us in a post that includes multimedia elements.

Another interesting action is to promote UGC content, i.e., paying on platforms to ensure that it reaches the largest target audience. Be subtle and don’t overdo it.

Turn something that doesn’t necessarily have to be UGC into UGC. A positive comment on social media or a review portal can be transformed with a little design into a testimonial to be placed on our online store or the company’s social media.

Of course, don’t forget to ask for that feedback. Something that works wonders is to include a small gift (it can be candy or something of similar economic value) inside the packaging. That stimulates comments on social media.

We hope you’ve gotten some ideas for creating community through user-generated content.

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