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Rachel Illingworth

As a whole, humans crave connection with others. So those nice, warm fuzzy feelings are inevitable when your favorite brand produces faultless User-Generated Content (UGC). If you’re unfamiliar with the term, UGC is any kind of content created by the users of a brand, which is usually posted to social media or in customer communities.

UGC is often connected to social media and the internet, but user content is much older than the internet. Over the years, UGC has morphed from newspaper and magazine testimonials to sophisticated photos of real Burberry trench coat-wearing people and Coca-Cola’s heartwarming “Share A Coke” campaign.

One of the most memorable UGC successes in recent years was the Starbucks’ White Cup Contest. In 2014, they accepted photos as entries to a different kind of art contest — Starbucks cups with doodled drawings. Starbucks added the winner’s artwork to a special limited edition Starbucks cup. With 4,000 entries in just three weeks, Starbucks proved its reputation as a hot commodity brand with plenty of loyal, engaged customers.

Why user-generated content works

An evolved safety mechanism called social proof is probably why UGC works so well. Scientists believe that in prehistoric times, humans avoided danger by taking social cues from others. In other words, if we see someone burn themselves on a flame, we’re less likely to touch fire. Further evidence that social proof was the original UGC; in a recent poll, 68 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds on social media were more likely to buy something after seeing their friend post about it.

Although we understand the reason why UGC positively impacts brands, it’s still an inaccurate science for many. Experts can’t agree on what causes people to share their favorite products with friends. Moving forward, it’s crucial to understand how UGC works, since both Customer Experience (CX) and Worker Experience (WX) benefit when a brand successfully generates content online.

A generated content learning tool

UGC is enriching when it comes from your employees. Utilizing employees to generate content is smart, since any content shared across social media by employees can get up to eight times more engagement than if that same content were posted to the brand page. Even better, a company can use Employee-Generated Content (EGC) to its own internal benefit with tools like Workday Learning.

The concept of EGC is baked into the Workday platform as it empowers workers to contribute content and share insights with their colleagues in real time. Even better, Workday recommends content and classes based on stated preferences and previous interactions. After implementing Workday, your workers’ ratings will inform other employees about essential content.

Encourage employee-generated content

There are clear parallels between the way companies attract and retain customers, and the way they attract and retain employees. Not only does a healthy EGC program strengthen brand quality and sales, but it reflects happy and satisfied workers. Through EGC, your organization can share and keep knowledge that helps people get better at their jobs, better serve customers, and drive business growth. Here are some tips to encourage your employees to begin utilizing their own form of EGC:

  • An EGC office cheerleader — Make an employee the example of EGC. Choose an employee with the disposition to get excited about content creation, and work with them individually. When other workers see the excitement and content created by your the star EGC employee, they’ll jump on the bandwagon.
  • Set guidelines — Employees can be hesitant to provide UGC because they need direction. Clear any confusion by asking them a specific question, like their favorite product features. By providing instructions, your employees will feel more comfortable inputting their thoughts and feelings.
  • Turn the tables — Provide examples of why it’s necessary for your employees to generate content. Make EGC meaningful to your workers. Once your employees understand the importance of creating content, their EGC contributions will be more pointed and meaningful.
  • Compete with statistics — Once you have a few employees creating content, you’ll have the ability to gamify, or create a fun and competitive environment. Often, the workers who create the best EGC also work better under a competitive structure.

It’s important to remember that UGC and EGC add value to both customer and worker experiences. User-generated content promotes the brand and contribute to a more engaged and collaborative culture.

Learn how a healthy Worker Experience already promotes EGC, at our 2017 Appirio Worker Experience Tour. Hear from industry experts and top business leaders, see current WX technology demos, and learn about the true ROI of investing in WX transformation, straight from the analysts at Forrester Research. Register now!

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