Why User-Generated Content (UGC) is Essential for Marketing

A guided approach to User-Generated Content (UGC) can help you make the most out of your social media.

It’s the wild west out there in social media these days. While social media is a fundamental component of just about any modern business, striking the right note is much easier said than done considering the whirlwind of options and ever-evolving audience bases. But why should you rely upon proactive or guided user-generated content to maximize your organization’s social-media exposure? There’s more to the answer than you think.

Why User-Generated Content (UGC) is Essential for Marketing

For starters, the data on user-generated content has become extremely clear. Back in 2012, an Elon University study—promoted around the business world—showed that 65% of consumers found UGC more trustworthy than straight-forward advertising and brand promotion. By 2015, some studies suggested that number might be as high as 92% of consumers. And more recently, a 2019 study by the Management and Economic Journal demonstrated how UGC was still more effective than sophisticated branding content. As social media’s impact has mushroomed, UGC has become even more critical for organizations both small and large, with the benefits of UGC outpacing even the highest-quality branding campaigns.

Of course, the string of studies only points to something we already know: user-generated content feels much more organic than something created by a marketing team, no matter the talent involved. Although organizations do have success reaching audiences with social-media campaigns, there is simply no substitute for customers promoting the brand or organization with their own ideas and experiences.

Finding the Right Balance with Your User-Generated Content

On one hand, eliminating barriers and allowing direct communication is the entire point of user-generated content. Industry experts point out that creating a team-first environment without barriers is a fundamental part of maximizing the potential of UGC. But completely eliminating barriers and providing no guidance at all is also an invitation for trouble. This is, of course, one of the balancing acts that promoters have been reckoning with ever since social media became a fact of business life. Although you’re seeking to tap the humanity within your organization, humans are complex by nature and the negatives can quickly outweigh the positives when your campaign lacks a structure.

Think of it in terms of a captain/deckhand analogy aboard a ship. A good captain wants to provide as much autonomy as is feasible within a centralized system while keeping the focus on the broader mission. Even with experienced deckhands, a lack of a centralized structure will inevitably lead to uncontrollable chaos aboard the ship. On the other hand, an overly strict captain who doesn’t allow initiative from the crew will lead to dips in morale and inefficiency. A captain who strikes the right balance will not stay only stay on course but will develop a strong reputation from positive word-of-mouth, one that outlasts the original voyage.

That’s where MemoryFox comes in, as the same is ultimately true of social-media campaigns. While more traditional, marketing-driven approaches completely lack the human touch that can elevate the campaign, a free-for-all approach will only dilute the message and potentially make it incoherent. Though capturing effective user-generated content is a necessity, it needs to be done in a way that can be married to the larger mission of the organization.

With the right platform, however, you can easily generate and organize content that is beneficial for both the individual user and the organization. Instead of the wild west of early social media, or the dull blade of content-branding approaches, you can end up with a vibrant message that generates authenticity within the foundational structure of the organization. In the end, you can have the human touch without devolving into chaos.

All About the Community and Storytelling

However you shape your content funnel, its strength will be in how well you craft a narrative that makes your organization stand out. After all, an effective story can be up to 22 times as memorable as a string of facts, which is exactly why businesses spend billions of dollars a year trying to tap into the emotions of users through storytelling.

And there is no better way to do this than with user-generated content—especially content that can be easily organized into a cohesive narrative. With a custom-branded web page generated by your own users (with an assist from MemoryFox), you can take the authentic emotions and experiences of your contributors and place them within the broader context of your event or organization. Thanks to a system that allows you to easily incentivize your attendees to contribute, you’ll develop a remarkable story built by the very people your organization relies upon. Ultimately, organizations end up with the best of both worlds at a huge discount to expensive marketing campaigns that struggle with authenticity.

If your organization needs a fresh start on social media, a demo from MemoryFox can highlight all the benefits of going with a guided user-generated content approach.