The benefits of user-generated content can be huge, particularly within social media marketing.
The logic of the practice is pretty simple - the average person has a Facebook network, for example, of around 130 friends which looks something like this.
As you can see, there's a spread of interconnections between the different groups within your personal network - one would be workmates, another school friends, family, etc. Reaching all of those different people and groups with your marketing messages is hard, but having them share your content - and using those already established connections to filter your message throughout those network chains - can be significantly more effective.
When you consider, too, that Facebook's algorithm seeks to show users content from those that they have a stronger interaction history with - likely friends and family - it makes sense that a message from a person they know is going to filter through each network better than one from a brand, particularly in the early stages of your social strategy. The scale is more complex, because you're working on a person-by-person basis, but the benefits can be big, when done right.
What's more, people put more trust in messages from real people, a factor underlined in a new infographic from UGC marketing platform Offerpop. As per Offerpop's graphic (shared below), 85% of consumers find visual UGC more influential than brand photos and videos. Yet at the same time, brands, according to research, haven't caught up to user trends.
According to Offerpop, consumers are 2X more likely to share because they want a friend to know about a brand, while only 14% of brands indicated this being a key reason which they believed motivated such sharing.
And another critical detail to note - Offerpop says that more than 50% of consumers want brands to tell them what to include when they're creating and sharing UGC, while only 16% of brands actually do so. This underlines the importance of being explicit in your UGC marketing - if you're looking for your audience to share images of your new product, ask them to do so, including the relevant hashtag, if applicable. It's a small detail, but the data shows it can lead to significantly higher success rates.
Offerpop's full user-generated content infographic is below.