Are you taking advantage of user-generated content? The term (UGC for short) refers to anything created by a user or fan that indirectly promotes or features a brand, a business or its products. This content includes not only the image-based posts found on Facebook and Instagram but product reviews, customer testimonials, blog posts and comments, Tweets, and more.
And it isn’t just for reaching consumers: B2B marketers can use UGC to solve many of their most pressing issues, including creating social proof, product education, customer service, and boosting engagement across all channels. UGC has almost limitless potential as an integrated marketing tool, and we’ll explain a few ways you can tap into it.
Use UGC to Illustrate, Demonstrate, and Educate
When it comes to learning more about a company’s products and services, 67% percent of your potential customers prefer to figure it out themselves rather than calling customer service. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you still need well-chosen copy to explain how your products and services work. That’s where UGC comes in.
Using your customers’ own words, you can provide a better service experience and build social proof. For example, try creating an FAQ page from real customer questions and answers and incorporate authentic customer photos and reviews to enhance your product pages. You can also use UGC like T-Mobile in the Netherlands did to build a continually evolving knowledgebase that resulted in higher customer satisfaction and saved millions of dollars in support costs every year.
You’ll need to look beyond static images to find illustrative examples of customers talking about your offerings. Start looking for:
· Amazon product pages can be a great source of questions, answers, and reviews
· Comments on YouTube videos
· Blog posts and comments
· LinkedIn and Glassdoor reviews
To make sure you don’t miss out on this valuable content, set up a Google Alert to learn when people are talking about your business.
Solicit UGC the Right Way
Here’s something that probably won’t surprise you. 60% of the time, when people participate in brand contests on Facebook or Instagram, they’re doing it for likes or to get featured by a brand. This means that if you run a contest with the goal of creating a stream of UGC, you don’t need extravagant prizes to motivate your audience, but the reward should be tie into your business or product category to get quality entries.
To encourage UGC, you can also promote a clever hashtag that’s ownable and relevant but not so narrow that people can’t have fun with it. Dropbox’s #LifeInsideDropBox campaign helped them amass content that painted a vivid picture of the company’s culture while putting their employees’ commitment to innovation on display to clients and other colleagues.
Always Get Permission to Use Any Piece of Content
Whether it’s a picture, video, review, or even just a couple of lines of text, cover yourself from a legal standpoint by asking permission to use the content. Offer to credit both the account owner and content creator. If you’re using information from a third-party site (e.g., Yelp, Angie’s List), make sure to find out their policy so you don’t violate any copyright rules.
Whenever you find examples of engaged, enthusiastic customers, show your appreciation by liking, sharing, and commenting on their posts. This can help activate your existing audience and attract new followers. Don’t let the conversation drop!
Make It Integrated – We Can Help!
UGC can enhance every one of your marketing efforts: it can make your website more useful for customers, boost your email click-through rate, and serve as the basis for a successful direct mail campaign. We have so many ideas for putting it to use and so much expertise creating campaigns that work. Contact us to learn more.