‘User-generated’ content (UGC) refers to any content – be it images, videos or text – which is posted online by users of a particular product, brand or service.
Well-known examples of user-generated content are consumer reviews and influencer marketing.
“As with any type of digital marketing,” says Lisa Schneider, managing director of the Digital School of Marketing, “there are a number of pros and cons to UGC”.
Pros of UGC
A positive review of your business, of a social media influencer singing your business’ praises, goes a long way towards increasing the credibility of your business. This is the digital form of word-of-mouth marketing – one of the most highly effective forms of marketing. “People are more likely to trust recommendations from their friends and colleagues,” says Schneider, “so if you can tap into this for your business, you are well on your way to success.”
Another plus factor of UGC is that it provides your company with new and fresh content as opposed to merely your marketing messaging that you create. If you continuously are speaking about the benefits of your brand, and why people must buy it, people will turn off very quickly. So by curating content from other industry experts, you are showing your readers that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry.
Cons of UGC
One of the most significant drawbacks of UGC is that you can’t control what people write about you online. You may just be having a bad day, or have made a mistake, however, if a customer’s experience with you is influenced by that bad day or error, they will have a sour taste in their mouth about you and, as a consequence, they may probably write about it online.
“There’s nothing that you can do to prevent this, besides making sure that your customer service is on point all the time,” says Schneider. “However, if a user posts a negative review of your company, you will need to adopt a crisis PR strategy so that you can prevent the situation from escalating further.”
If you rely too heavily on UGC (such as content curation), people may think that you don’t have many original things to say. So, if you do decide to pursue a digital marketing strategy that has a component of UGC, make sure that you balance it well with your company messaging.
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