The marketing world is evolving every day, and consumers are becoming less and less trusting of refined marketing campaigns. They are now turning to their friends and family to determine if a brand is right for them, valuing authenticity and real-life stories.
Thus, user-generated content has become a crucial marketing strategy for millions of brands.
In the US alone, 63% of consumers talk or post about products or services online, and 81% of consumers read what other buyers have posted about those products. And so more and more companies realize how valuable their own customers are in marketing their products.
User-generated content (UGC) helps improve brand awareness; this, in turn, helps you attract more social followers, strengthen relationships with customers, instill trust in your target audience, boost sales and build SEO value.
Here are five examples of how to use UGC to make sure your marketing efforts are successful.
Over 70% of buyers look at product reviews before making a purchase. Customer product reviews show your prospects that you are offering reliable products and services. Thus, ratings and reviews can boost traffic to your website, build dependability, and boost conversions.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews about your products or services where possible. Allow them to write reviews on your website, Facebook page, or third-party review sites like Google, G2, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Both on-site and off-site consumer-generated reviews are crucial in boosting conversions.
You can offer incentives to motivate your customers to write reviews by giving them coupons, reward points, and gift cards. Send them emails with incentive keywords in the subject line to get more reviews. Subject lines have the most significant impact on buyers.
If you get negative reviews, look at them as opportunities to improve and earn your customers’ trust. Respond to each customer personally to show you value their views and experiences. Remember that both positive and negative reviews help a brand look authentic.
For instance, this dress on the Modcloth website has over 1,600 reviews, and most of them are positive.
Showing many user-generated reviews can help you improve conversions, sales, and revenue.
2. Video Content
Video is a great way to create User-Generated Content. It can help you connect with your customers in ways other media can’t. In fact, user-generated videos about a business are viewed 10 times more than official company videos on YouTube.
User-generated videos provide an original perspective on your products and services. This gives your brand credibility. The videos offer consumer-trusted insights into your business’s genuineness and integrity, which boosts your brand image.
For instance, Pamper’s Love, Sleep & Play campaign uses a User-Generated Content video. The brand has created a compelling video using curated content from its consumers. The customers submitted videos of their babies via Facebook, and Pampers combined them to create a single video. The footage shows babies playing, falling asleep, and having fun together, and this resonates with the brand’s target audience.
3. Hashtag Contests
Another way to get customers’ content is to host contests on social media, create unique hashtags, and get your fans to contribute to your hashtag. With User-Generated Content hashtag contests, followers can share photos and videos accompanied by a specific hashtag to win prizes.
By using unique hashtags and popularizing them, your followers can make your hashtag trend. This will improve engagement with your target audience, improve brand awareness, and ultimately boost sales.
For example, fashion designer Marc Jobs declared on social media that his company would cast for their next advertising. He asked followers who wished to take part to post an image on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CastMeMarc. The content was viral, and in 24 hours, there were 15,000 hashtag entries.
4. Holiday Season Content
The holiday season offers you many opportunities to engage with your customers. You can humanize your brand by connecting with your audience on an emotional level.
But you need to come up with unique and engaging ways to add User-Generated Content in your marketing strategies during this season. Determine your target audience and what your UGC holiday goals are. This will allow you to use the right platforms. Ask your customers to share photos, submit videos, use your hashtags, create testimonials, and take part in your contests.
For example, in December 2016, Starbucks launched the #RedCupContest for its customers. The company invited followers to share their customized coffee cups on social media and get a chance to win Starbucks gift cards.
This is a smart way to make use of User-Generated Content during the holiday season because to post, followers have to buy a red cup from Starbucks first. This boosts engagement and brand awareness.
To generate excitement in your audience during the holiday season, you can encourage your customers to create User-Generated Content. This will positively boost your sales and revenue.
Gamification is another great way to make use of User-Generated Content to scale your business. Let customers complete a few tasks, then reward and recognize them for taking part.
You can use concepts such as high scorers, badges, leaderboards, and points to make your customers complete tasks and share their achievements. Also, you can give prizes to winners of the games by unlocking their badges, offering them special discounts, and making them part of your VIP club.
These small incentives will encourage customers to put the extra effort into doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
For example, Nike has leveraged gamification to stay connected with its customers. In the Nike+ campaign, the company used gamification into its Nike+ flue band app. The app helped runner track their physical activity, including time, distance, pace, and calories burned. The app was linked to social media; this enabled users to compete against each other and share their results.
When users completed different levels, they were rewarded with badges and trophies, which boosted the brand’s engagement and encouraged customers to buy Nike products.