User-generated content (UGC) defined as any type of content like blogs, posts, chats, discussion forums, etc. users created that, unpaid contributors, fans and usually made available through social media websites. Whenever individual users set up their content on your site or social media profile like the Facebook page, it is user-generated content. Why should you care about this? Well, user-generated content is a practical and cost-effective way to grow your business. Throughout this post, you’re going to learn more about the UGC and three easy ways to use it.
Why users create content?
In order to understand why you should pay more attention to the user-generated content, it is important to answer the question you’re probably asking yourself right now – why users create content in the first place? The truth is, this question does not have one definite answer only. People create content due to some reasons, including:
- To express – user-generated content allows users to speak up and promote their core values, express beliefs, and opinions with other consumers. Let’s take Amazon as an example; it allows people to use reviews in order to describe their experiences with certain products, communicate with other users to get more info, and so on
- To earn rewards – it is not uncommon for online consumers to create content because they can gain something from it. For example, customer develop content or expand upon existing content to win some prize
- To build awareness – another common occurrence is that people create UGC to raise awareness to some problem or inspire others to use some products they deem helpful. For instance, an individual who eats plant-based diet can create user-generated content associated with some organic food manufacturer to inspire others to adopt a healthier lifestyle
Why should you focus on user-generated content?
If you don’t pay too much attention to user-generated content, it’s time for you to do so. Before you find out three ways to use UGC to grow your business, let’s see all benefits you can get from it. The most important advantages of user-generated content are:
- Increases customer engagement – as you are already aware, customer engagement is an important marketing strategy to promote your business and generate a base of loyal consumers. User-generated content allows you to develop and improve your relationship with customers as they engage on your website or social media page
- Relieves customer service pressure – employees who work in customer service deal with tremendous stress on a daily basis due to an ever-increasing number of calls and emails. UGC also allows customers to interact with your business, ask questions, and get informed without having to contact your customer support. As a result, customer support staff is free to engage in more demanding inquiries and complex issues that consumers may have
- Improved brand perception – focusing more on the user-generated content, your brand sends friendly, approachable vibe that customers appreciate. They start considering your company as a reliable business they like to interact with
- Reaching new market segments – one of the best ways to promote your brand is to provide a quality product/service and let customers do the talking. User-generated content is an excellent way to make your brand visible to people who aren’t your target audience and, hence, reach a whole new market
Other significant benefits of UGC include increased customer satisfaction, stronger community, great SEO opportunity, and so on. As you can see, UGC plays a vital role in building a good reputation, establishing a valuable relationship with customers, and promoting your products/service. All these factors help you grow your business. But the question is: how to do it? Below, you can see three practical ways to grow your business with UGC.
- Let customers talk for you
According to the survey carried out by BrightLocal 88% respondents said they had read reviews to determine the quality of some business while 72% participants said that positive reviews make them trust the brand more. The survey showed that people read customer reviews regularly and use them to decide whether they can trust some company or not. In fact, a vast majority of individuals believe these reviews more than branded content. The reason is simple; content created by users comes across as more honest and reliable. So, an excellent way to implement UGC in your marketing strategy is to allowing your current customers show how happy they are with the service or products so that potential buyers can make their decisions quickly.
One of the most practical ways of implementing user-generated content is through influencer marketing or sponsored blog post. The key here is to reach influential bloggers or vloggers from your niche and establish collaboration. Some brands send samples of their products so that bloggers can mention them in their posts or social media profiles. Spas, hotels can offer these bloggers a paid weekend so they can take photos and create a useful post. Options are endless. Here, you don’t exactly ask a blogger or vlogger to promote your company, but to mention it to their followers.
Besides reaching bloggers and influencers, an excellent way to let your customers do the talking is to display reviews, videos, photos, and their questions so others can see. This type of content can feature on your official website as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; you name it. For example, allowing customers to post photos gives the opportunity for potential buyers to see how products look in “reality” rather than on website only. When they share their posts with your social media profile, their friends or followers see them as well. These posts generate a lot of “likes” and comments, thus increasing audience and traffic, which is always an excellent way to make your business visible to a larger group of people.
2. Engage customers through contests
The key to great UGC implementation is the ability to engage customers even when they aren’t shopping or using your service. While customers are always happy to share their opinions about someone’s product or services online, they’re even happier when they have the opportunity to win something. After all, who doesn’t like to win something? We all do!
Engaging customers through contests is a great way to increase the visibility of your business, get more traffic, turn more leads into customers, and so on. Benefits of this move are numerous. They type of contest depends on you, your company’s vision, and type of product or service you provide. For example, you can ask customers to share photos on their social media profiles like Facebook and Instagram with “Public” setting and a particular hashtag. A person who took the photo with the greatest amount of likes will receive a valuable prize. Ways to motivate customers and engage them to compete and, thereby, promote your business are numerous.
Another useful thing to do is to host competitions where people will answer questions via comment section and then use a website like Random.org to find the winner. Arranging these little contests from time to time is also useful to improve your relationship with customers and show them that trusting you can also help them win some rewards. It’s a practical way to send the “we care” message. Make sure you do this on special occasions, holidays, and so on.
3. Reply to reviews
That mentioned above, allowing customers to leave reviews is an effective way to utilize user-generated content as a marketing strategy. Even better is the fact that people have more trust in reviews, they aren’t just little comments about products or services, they also allow customers to exchange experiences, interact, and communicate while increasing traffic on your website. However, what you do with those reviews is also important.
The goal here is to show everyone that your company values honest work, integrity, honesty, and so on. So, it is important to be active and reply to reviews. When someone writes a short testimonial about a product or service you provide, respond with a nice, friendly comment. What about negative reviews? The last thing you want is to delete them. Why? That would just anger customers and give the impression that you have something to hide. As a result, potential customers wouldn’t trust you enough to do business with you. Negative reviews are bound to happen from time to time, nobody’s perfect, but you should still reply to them in a polite, kind manner and write something helpful that will still motivate that customer to buy your products. That will also show your business cares about all opinions, not just positive ones, and this focused on constant improvement.
User-generated content is a major marketing strategy that you shouldn’t neglect. It shows an individual business cares about clients or customers, but also makes the company visible to a larger group of people. That is one of the hottest marketing trends nowadays, so make sure you don’t miss out.