Genuine. Relevant. Impactful. How can a brand create content that checks all these boxes without coming off as inauthentic? The brands doing this successfully are getting help from their consumers. User-generated content (UGC) has become an invaluable asset in building trust and credibility between brands and consumers. One of the great things about UGC is that it can come in any form, be it TikTok videos or online reviews–what matters is that it is authentic content created by users, rather than brands themselves.
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Instead of explaining what great UGC looks like, let us show you using some of our favourite examples from our amazing Samplers and the impact this content had for our brand partners:
New brand introductions feat. Monk Fruit In The Raw
@chaneymama on TikTok
This snippet from a Sampler’s TikTok video is a great example of how brands can amplify the impact of product discovery and digital sampling by leaning into UGC. On behalf of the brands that sample with us, we always encourage our Samplers to share what products they receive in their boxes. This not only helps amplify a brand’s reach, but also builds trust by introducing their product to new audiences through untraditional yet authentic channels. When surveyed, 88% of our audience said they often or always check social media for reviews before they make a purchase, so it’s extremely important for brands to meet consumers where they can naturally be found.
We love this Barilla video for so many reasons. Seeing real people actually using and advocating for your products helps other potential customers visualize themselves integrating your products into their daily lives as well. Encouraging consumers to create videos demonstrating how they use your products is a great way to showcase its benefits in a visual and interactive way, while also having the potential to increase purchase frequency later in the consumer’s lifecycle.
New fan repurchase feat. teapigs
@btwnprintedpgs on Instagram
The only thing better than having a consumer convert to purchase is a consumer who purchases and shares honest content vouching for the quality of your products. We can probably all recall a time when another consumer’s product review ultimately converted us to purchase, so the power and value that this type of UGC holds should not be underestimated. To put this into numbers, when deciding whether to buy a product, 87% of our surveyed audience indicated that they trust content from other Samplers, family, and friends most, in comparison to content from influencers or the brand themselves. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that consumers trust other consumers.
The type of UGC that works best for brands depends on your specific goals and target audiences, but simply getting started in building an engaged audience base is half the battle! We’ve included some of our best practices we like to follow when building a strong culture around UGC:
Spell it out: Consumers love posting about their experiences online–87% of our surveyed users indicated they are either likely or very likely to share on social media when they find products they love. So, you might as well make it easy for them to share content in a way that can be helpful to you! Providing clear guidelines on what content to share, what platforms to share it on, and which accounts and hashtags to include. If you have specific UGC goals (i.e. volume to increase brand awareness, quality to build out your content library, etc.), now’s the time to align your messaging to give yourself the best possible outcome.
Help them help you: While you want consumers to create UGC in a way that is authentic to them and their audience, you likely have an idea of the type of content that will be most useful to you, be sure to clearly communicate what amazing content looks like. Do you want them to show the product in use? Highlight the packaging? Talk about scent/taste/texture? Feature bright backgrounds or the great outdoors? This will help encourage submissions that align with your objectives.
Build a relationship: Foster a sense of community by engaging with all the amazing UGC affiliated with your brand. Going beyond just liking their post will get your new fan excited and more likely to recommend you again. Leaving short comments or even highlighting their UGC content on your accounts will let your consumers know their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. When we asked our Sampler community, 76% of them told us they love when brands repost their content on their social accounts–so there’s no need to shy away from this! It will only help encourage even more participation in the future, and also makes it easier for fellow consumers to find and engage with each other’s content.
Say “thank you”: Creating UGC can be very time consuming, so consider offering rewards for top posts (we like to use gift cards!) for submissions to encourage high-quality participation, and to simply thank them for the time spent engaging with your brand and the value they’re bringing to the table.
Ask & credit: When reposting UGC on our feed, we always like to ask the creator for permission to share their content and give them clear credit when we post. This is a great opportunity to engage your most avid fans on a one-on-one level to further build loyalty and turn them into long-term brand advocates.
UGC is a highly effective tool that can be incorporated into your marketing strategy to provide value for both your audience and your brand. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, build trust, or foster engagement, the authenticity that UGC brings to your marketing mix makes it a great and unique tool to leverage when working towards your brand objectives
About the Authors
Cindy Wu (Marketing Strategist) and Emily Vickruck (Audience Lifecycle Manager) are part of Sampler’s Audience Team and lead user acquisition, engagement, and retention through a wide scope of channels. They work collaboratively to create seamless user experiences for Sampler's audience of highly engaged consumers to make sure your brand shines.