Benefits of user-generated content (UGC) in social media

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In today's increasingly digital world, consumers value authenticity above all else. They are vocal, discerning, and empowered by the internet's accessibility. Enter user-generated content (UGC). Behind every social media marketing strategy of major brands today, you will find UGC as an integral pillar. But what makes UGC so valuable?

UGC and social media: what it is and why it's important for your content strategy

UGC primarily implies content related to a brand produced by consumers or fans, which includes reviews, shares, testimonials, and other such content created by brands' users rather than by the brands themselves. There are several reasons why user-generated content should be a fundamental part of your brand's digital marketing strategy.

Firstly, UGC is highly authentic. It speaks from the voice of the consumer, presents a brand through their eyes, and, therefore, exudes an unmatched level of authenticity and credibility that branded content often falls short of replicating.

Secondly, UGC naturally ensures higher engagement. People love seeing real experiences, efforts, photos, and videos from real people, given that it adds a tangible and human element to the browsing experience. Moreover, fans who see their content being featured by brands are likely to share it further, creating a ripple effect that can lead to significant engagement.

Thirdly, UGC offers brand insights. Your users are effectively providing free market research - you can derive insights into what they love about your brand, what they feel could improve, etc.

How to leverage UGC on social media: employee advocacy

Now, let's delve into an approach that, when blended with UGC, can yield impressive results: Employee Advocacy. 

Incorporating your employees into your marketing strategy and encouraging them to act as brand ambassadors can transform your brand's social media content landscape, combining the power of UGC and internal resources.

Employee-generated content is a unique form of UGC. It involves encouraging your employees to share their thoughts, experiences, and insights about the brand on their personal social media channels. This approach complements your UGC strategies and provides multiple advantages.

To kick things off, it creates an empowered team. When employees feel their voices are essential and influential enough to promote the brand they work for, it’s a significant morale and engagement booster. 

Additionally, employees can offer unique, behind-the-scenes insights about the business, enhancing transparency that today's consumers appreciate. This type of content showcases the human side of your business, boosting trust and connection with your audience.

Employees typically have a diverse range of social connections which can expand your brand’s reach exponentially, multiplying the ripple effect created.

And finally, leveraging employee advocacy and UGC can help build a robust online reputation. Considering the average consumer's growing skepticism towards traditional advertising, brands presented by ‘real people’ (like your employees and existing users) naturally garner more trust and patronage.

In summary, utilizing user-generated content in your social media strategy can boost authenticity, and engagement, and provide valuable brand insights, especially when paired with a well-executed employee advocacy program. Implementing these strategies can undoubtedly elevate your brand's reputation, visibility, and bottom line.