User-generated content is just what it sounds like—content created by someone other than your brand. The theory behind its effectiveness is simple: it is always more trusted than content the brand puts out about itself. Consumers increasingly look to their peers for brand recommendations and advice, and user-generated content fulfills this for them.
User-generated content can encompass multiple forms of content not produced by your brand, including social media recommendations, testimonials, videos, and blog posts. You can find ample quality content as the result of an influencer campaign, and more from happy consumers who take it upon themselves to write about brands online.
If you’re not sure if you need to embrace user-generated content, or how to go about collecting this valuable form of content, then keep reading.
Do I Really Need User-Generated Content for My Brand?
If you might need a little convincing that you need to ramp up your user-generated content strategy, we can look at a few statistics. 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all forms of advertising. And, word of mouth marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertising. Lastly, 64% of consumers actively seek out user-generated content when it’s time to make purchase decisions.
Have we convinced you yet that you should be populating the Internet full of user-generated content? You can assure that target consumers come across your brand through a peer’s recommendation, plus they’ll be plenty of user-generated content readily available when a consumer is researching your brand. Keep reading, because this post is going to give you all the tools that you need to improve your UGC strategy.
It’s All About Authenticity
User-generated content is all about current consumers sharing real-life experiences about your brand. For example, you can feature a post on LinkedIn about how your software makes their day easier, or a video testimonial talking about how a business discovered how your brand solved several major pain points for them. These brand experiences are authentic and instantly create brand trust.
User-generated content helps brands tell stories in ways that the brand can’t do themselves. Whether it’s a selfie with your product, a blog post about their experience with your brand, or a tweet saying how much they love you, UGC will organically contribute to your overall storytelling strategy.
Reach New Audiences with User Generated Content
When happy consumers publish a complimentary post online about your brand, it goes straight to all of their followers, instantly putting your brand in front of hundreds or even thousands of new potential consumers. Their sincere experience with your brand might be enough to activate new people into leads, and (hopefully) conversions. Your happy consumers should be your brand’s greatest marketing asset, and they can offer valuable social proof with their recommendations.
How to Get Users to Create User Generated Content
Most user-generated content is published organically and without any incentive. That said, there are ways to get consumers to publish their experience with your brand on their blog, their social channels, or even a testimonial on your site. Let’s explore a few ways you can generate user-generated content for your brand:
- Email your clients and announce a social media contest, and reward the person who creates the best post with an Amazon gift card or an iPad. The small investment in the prize will be worth all the user-generated content social content that you’ll get for your brand.
- Ask clients to give you a one- or two-sentence testimonial about their experience with your brand. The small amount of time it takes them to write those sentences will make it easy for them to contribute.
- Check with your client-facing co-workers to identify happy clients. Reach out to these clients, and ask if they’d be willing to do a video case study about using your product. Consider compensating them with a free month of usage of your product.
- Be transparent and simply ask your clients to put out social posts showcasing how they feel about your brand. You’d be surprised at how many people want to feel included and who would be happy to endorse your brand.
- Create an email campaign where you ask your clients to leave reviews about your brand. After all, 70% of consumers look at a review before making a purchase decision. Consider incentivizing them with either a discount on your product or gift card.
- Run an influencer campaign and sponsor posts that showcase an influencer’s experience with your product or service. Some marketers might think that influencer marketing doesn’t work for B2B brands, but we disagree!
How to Leverage User-Generated Content for Your Brand
There’s no point in earning all this juicy user-generated content if it doesn’t get you placed in front of your target consumers and make it easy to find. Putting a strategy in place to leverage user-generated content is crucial. Let’s look at a few ways you can get maximum views on user-generated content to generate new leads and sales for your brand:
- Monitor social media for consumer raves about your brand and reshare them on your own social channels.
- Sprinkle testimonials throughout your website’s homepage. When potential consumers are researching your brand, they’ll be far easier to find.
- Link to blog posts that speak highly of your brand in the posts that you publish on your website.
- Use relevant user-generated content in your email marketing strategy, and send these to your leads to spark their interest through peer reviews of your brand.
- Ask the creators of the user-generated content to share all over their social media channels
- Use user-generated content in your paid social ads, instead of a self-promotional ad about your brand
Do you have any tips to add about a powerful user-generated content strategy? We’d love to hear all about it on Twitter @Feed_Otter