User Generated Content - what on earth is it?! The good news is that User Generated Content (otherwise known as UGC) does exactly what it says on the tin It's any kind of content – beautiful, interesting or just plain weird - which your customers have voluntarily produced that relates to your brand.
Why bother with User Generated Content?
User Generated Content creates an interactive platform through which you can leverage the voice of your customer, build relationships, and so authenticate and ‘humanise’ your brand. This, in turn, builds trust and increases your brand visibility (*ring ring SEO alert*).
UGC is the perfect content marketing tool you have no control of (but can prompt, of course).
Examples of User Generated Content:
- Comments/likes/shares on your online content - Competition entries - Reviews of your product - Associated or tagged user-uploaded content (e.g. #NoisyLittleMonkey)
How do I use User Generated Content to promote my business?
(1) Ask for engagement.
Don’t ask = don’t get. So give it a go! Ask customers to give their opinions via social media, or interact with you with hashtag that’s fun, personal and optimised towards your company/brand. This will make it easy to find, but do ensure that you check the legibility of your # before you start sharing. No need to explain what would happen if Pen Island was chosen as a hashtag…
Once you’ve received your avalanches of UGCs, these can then be used to collate content that can be repurposed to your advantage - e.g. a Pinterest gallery of customers using your product. This will encourage others to do the same, and – hopefully - bring more traffic to your site.
Otherwise, why not get your customers interested with the prospect of winning something? A simple giveaway along the lines of ‘send us snaps of your [existing product] and we’ll send you a 50% off voucher for your next purchase’ allows you to determine the type of UGC you’re after and receive a whole lot of attention (I mean, who doesn’t like winning?!).
(2) Be honest, but focus on the good stuff
Making customers’ reviews, questions and other UGC visible across your different channels can be a powerful tool in highlighting your customer service and brand values, and so reflect you in an honest and reliable way. However, this does depend on your situation. The ‘what you see is what you get’ card may not always be appropriate if you’re having trouble wiv da haterz. Probably best to address the issues being raised first.
As shown in Bright Local’s 2013 study, 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So why not draw attention to complimentary UGC by giving it a cheeky retweet or a thank you? It makes your customer feel special, and gives your services exposure.
(3) Create remarkable content tailored to your customers
With particular reference to the Inbound Marketing Methodology (and also the Field of Dreams quote, ‘If you build it, they will come’) creating remarkable content for your audience is a great way to passively instigate UGC such as comments, likes or shares. Re-posting successful UGC posts from the past is also a nifty way to re-invigorate interest, gain engagement and watch the sweet sweet likes roll in.
So make something with your audience in mind, then sit back and watch the UGC buzz it creates! Just, don’t forget to promote through your different channels to make sure your audience sees it in the first place – duhh.
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