Conversations between a brand and a consumer are no longer a one-way street. Today’s consumers are empowered and connected like never before, and they’re producing content like it’s going out of style.

It’s our job as marketers to produce lots of great content that will engage the consumer. This can often be time-consuming and costly, but are brands missing a trick? Could your consumers influence your brand’s content strategy with a wealth of user-generated content?

These days consumers want authenticity, and what better way to be authentic than with original content, produced from real people? In fact, 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than any other form of brand content.

There are three big things that prove that UGC works for both brands and consumers – authenticity, cost-effectiveness and the ability to easily track the content.

Some brands are already embracing UGC and seeing success. Virgin Holidays, for example, replaced their usual advertisers with their customers in the #SeizeTheHoliday campaign. People shared their holiday photos on the hashtag and Virgin used real-time customer experiences to promote their brand. In turn, they increased their online bookings by 260%.

Another great example of brands utilising UGC is Visit Scotland, who set up shop and created the World’s first Instagram travel agency. Floor to ceiling, the shop was filled with UGC content in a bid to entice the millennial audience to book a holiday to Scotland. They simply pointed at the pretty pictures and an itinerary was put together for them. Visits to Bonny Scotland by London-based millennials increased by 34%. Genius.

So, there you have it, UGC is a surefire way to give your consumers what they want – authentic content. Not only does UGC drive engagement by humanising a brand, it develops trust. Millennials trust UGC 50% more than original content generated by the brands. Is it time for your brand to guide and inspire consumers to participate in creating shareable UGC?

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