User-generated content or UGC is information that fans and site users post about your products or services, preferably on social media channels.

In a broader spectrum, it is content that users created and posted on online platforms such as wikis and fan arts.

“That’s spam!” you say.

Well, not really.

One viral example of this is what Starbucks did back in 2014 with its Starbucks’ White Cup Contest.

Coffee guzzlers doodled on their Starbucks coffee cups and submitted their designs in the coffee giant’s social media channels. Fans went crazy, and around 4,000 entries were collected in as short as one week.

Credit: starbucks.com

So what does this do for your business and why should you even bother?

Involved Customers Are Loyal Customers

Was there ever a time when you told yourself, “Hey, I got a better idea of how this company’s packaging should look like”?

Customers today are not apathetic to the things they buy. Social media gave everybody an opportunity to be heard. They want to express their opinions and make it public.

You need to turn this psychological need into an advantage. And the best part? Reward it. If you let your customers participate in social events through your brand, you are building a community that far surpasses that of a business-customer relationship.

Make it memorable. Make the experience unique. Call it user-based marketing automation.

Contributors Are Free Advertisers

Just think about this: how much do you spend per day on advertisements on Facebook and digital marketing?

Is $50 reasonable? In a month, that cost will put a dent in your pocket to the tune of $1,500. And this does not include other expenses for your social media management tools.

Your advertisement may yield a considerable number of impressions, but there is no guarantee that your ad spend will result in a sale.

$1,500 can go a long way. But in many situations, you are better off spending on technology for a live event that will help your guests provide you with user generated content than spending on ads. People shun ads. Especially in the online world where people expect things to be free.

If customers generate content on your behalf, all their friends can see what they posted. They will tag their families, friends, and anyone who they think will be interested.

And as such, the audiences are likely to say, “I want that experience, too!”

Customers in Control Are More Likely to Share

Anyone in control will exercise this control. How many times have you tapped the X button on a YouTube advertisement without even going halfway through it? Is this how you want potential customers to perceive you, a nuisance while they are playing games?

If you have a brick-and-mortar-business, user-generated content will produce better sales results than ads. One example is to ask your customers to take a picture of their food and post it online.

Better yet, get a device that will provoke your customers’ curiosity, such as Impressius. It is a device that you place on site. It allows your consumers to take a selfie and share it online, and print the selfies, too. Right on the spot!

Their staff will install it at your venue, after which, your customers can take pictures of themselves having fun with their own phones. All they need to do is to share the photos online and use the appropriate brand tags that will promote your campaign.

So what’s in it for them? Your customers will get a tangible instant photo print of what they posted online.

Read: they get rewarded.

What’s in it for you? You explode your organic exposure.

Read: cost savings.

Summary

UGC is a valuable marketing tool. If you are okay with spending thousands of dollars on ads, only to realize later on that it is breaking your piggy bank, then go ahead and do it.
But if you are a believer in social media power, find ways to make user-generated content work for you and only spend on tangible results.