User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most effective ways to market your brand online. It's so convincing for potential customers to hear about your products from those who are already using them -- some of whom may be their friends, online contacts, or influencers they admire.
When it comes to choosing from among the hundreds of platforms that can be used for CPG marketing, most brands gravitate toward what has been considered the big 3: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But before you build your UGC campaign around this conventional wisdom, it might help you to know that Twitter is actually 16th on the list of most-used social media networks, although some on the list include popular messaging apps like Messenger, Telegram and Whatsapp as well as platforms that are primarily used in China like microblogging site Sina Weibo.
Here are some alternatives to consider and why you might want to choose them.
This video-based platform is second only to Facebook in active users, with nearly 2.3 billion as of January 2021, so if you have the capability of turning your UGC into a video, it can be a good choice. In addition, YouTube draws from a number of different age categories, so videos will reach more than just one demographic group.
Pinterest has around 440 million active users, mainly adults in the 18-29 and 30-49 age groups. Pinterest is very visual and relies on "pins" of image-based links, but it could be a good way to display UGC that is primarily image-based. If your UGC involves an influencer with a large Pinterest following, you could take advantage of that to increase your reach there.
While TikTok has 689 million active users, only about 80 million of them are U.S.-based. This app also has one of the youngest user bases, with over 50% of users in the 16-24 age range. If your target demographic is young adults, though, TikTok is a great place to market through short, usually music-based videos and memes. Influencers are also huge on TikTok, so an influencer-based UGC campaign can be very successful there.
Facebook vs. Instagram
Facebook has an older demographic, which is useful for many CPG marketing campaigns. Instagram, on the other hand, skews younger and is more focused around captioned images and less around text. Both Facebook and Instagram have "stories" that can be followed by users as part of an ongoing narrative.
How to Choose
There are a few things to consider before deciding what platform(s) you want to use.
Where is your target audience? Even a tiny platform can be effective if that's where the people who use your products hang out.
What kind of content do you have? If you don't have the capability of making quality UGC videos, then a video-based site like YouTube or TikTok will not be the best place to showcase your content.
What do you know? Familiarity with the platform will help you use it to your best advantage, particularly more specialized platforms like Reddit or Tumblr.
Final note: Don't count out Twitter as a possibility; a larger number of its users are U.S.-based than some other platforms like TikTok and its format is well-suited to promoting businesses and their products.
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