If you were managing a television channel instead of executing a content marketing plan, your user-generated content would be the must-watch reality show. That is to say that sometimes, it’s easier and more popular to have your client’s customers running the show.
Many brands schedule a mix of content for their websites and social media platforms that is created by writers and content creators, as well as their current and future customers. Engaging your target audience so directly in your marketing strategies is a powerful and creative way to expand your reach.
When you publish UGC content, you make your customers the stars of the screen. That goes a long way to deepening relationships and encouraging them along the customer journey. This strategy provides focus for seasonal marketing campaigns and can provide measurable results.
User-generated content marketing leverages the benefits of social media primarily because people rely on their news feeds, and the posts from their friends and family, to learn new things. But its reach goes even further than that. One study reported in Business News Daily that 90% of customers would rather buy an endorsed product over one that wasn’t endorsed — even if they didn’t know the person who endorsed it.
To implement a strategy that includes UGC content creation, start by gaining an in-depth understanding of what this entails and ways to add it to a comprehensive marketing plan.
What Is User Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content, or UGC, is anything that a brand publishes that was created by a member of the public rather than marketing professionals hired by the brand. The term is straightforward: The users of social media generate the content, not the people behind a business’s profile.
However, it’s worth noting that the user-generated content definition doesn’t explain how brands encourage people to create content for them. This type of work still requires a marketing strategy to execute it with success. Marketers must create opportunities and incentives to get current and future customers to do this work.
To execute this strategy, you’ll need to know the different kinds of UGC marketing to request from the client’s potential customers. These types of content include:
- Social media posts, including shared brand posts
- Customer reviews
- Case studies
- Community forums
The UGC journey can mirror a typical customer journey, starting with an initial introduction to the brand and ending with a case study outlining how the product or service met a need or even changed a life. You can develop an incentive program for real people to create this type of content for every step of the buyer’s journey.
6 Ways To Leverage UGC for Business Reach
As you begin to integrate user-generated content into your brand’s social media platforms and website, it’s important to know your B2B buyer personas or customer avatars. All kinds of marketing, even UGC. require in-depth knowledge of your target audience, including their demographics, pain points, and habits.
Only then will you be able to leverage UGC social media posts and digital media on behalf of your clients and brands.
1. Boost Brand Awareness
One of the first steps in the typical customer journey is to simply have people become aware of the brand. UGC dramatically helps with brand awareness. When users of social channels post updates, stories, live videos, or shares from the brand — and especially when they create their own — people who might not normally see your posts will see theirs.
For example, let’s say that you’ve created a UGC creator campaign in the format of a contest to win a free product. To enter the contest, the person would need to share a 30-second video about why they love the brand and post it in their stories on Instagram and Facebook with a tag to the brand. That UGC video will be seen by their friends and will introduce them to the brand.
2. Improve SEO and Lead Generation
Another way that a UGC content creator can enhance business reach is through SEO, or search engine optimization, which in turn can result in new lead generation. One way you can leverage this benefit is through the natural use of keywords in testimonials and other write-ups on customer experiences. The more places the brand name is written in association with keywords, the better the rank on search engine results pages.
When new leads appear, it’s always a good idea to create a survey or other system to learn where they first heard about the brand. That way, you’ll know what UGC platform or marketing efforts are working to generate new customers. Write the questions carefully so the new leads can share what content encouraged them to learn more about the business.
3. Enhance Conversion Rates
UGC work also enhances conversion rates. This happens when you create a foundation for prospective customers to smoothly transfer from hearing about the brand from a friend to completing a purchase. The customer journey takes time, but a UGC content creator can be the first step in a lead nurturing system.
One way to do this is by making a community forum to foster a sense of community and meet the needs of your target audience. To join the forum, users will need to enter their email address and agree to receive direct mail from the brand. When you set up an automated welcome series, your clients keep leads warm without spending extra time.
Then, your marketing emails can meet the needs of the potential customer in even more ways with targeted products and services. When done correctly, this will enhance conversion rates and improve the bottom line.
4. Build Consumer Loyalty and Confidence
A random social post by your brand won’t go far in building customer loyalty, but a strong testimonial by a user-generated content creator will definitely encourage confidence in your client’s products and services. Testimonials that speak to the values of the brand or the character of the team are just as important as those that explain how the brand solved problems in an effective and efficient way.
Customers who know how to write a testimonial are extremely valuable because you can use well-written feedback in blog posts, on websites, and throughout all social media platforms. The more prospects see how impressive the brand is to others, the more likely they'll be to buy with confidence.
And when the customer who writes the testimonial gets a heartfelt reply of thanks, you’ll be building loyalty, too.
5. Provide Valuable and Cost-Effective Content
Best of all, user-generated content — like those reality shows on television — is some of the cheapest content to produce. You won’t have to hire writers and editors once your marketing strategy for UGC SEO is implemented effectively. You can use the content made by customers on every user-generated content platform, which adds to the value.
6. Develop an Online Community
Finally, you can leverage user-generated content to develop an online community of people who make up your target audience. Brands can use online communities to learn more about their customer avatars and your clients can be inspired to create new products and services to meet the needs expressed in the forums.
One way to develop an online community is through influencer marketing. This is a strategy in which brands partner with online personalities who have a strong following on a particular social media platform. When you work with someone who has already fostered a community of followers, the brand can easily reach a broader audience.
How To Encourage Customers To Create Content
Your marketing strategy must include incentives that motivate customers to create content on behalf of brands. This requires creativity, as you must know the desires of the target audience before offering incentives. Some ideas for this kind of encouragement include:
- Giving a discount for UGC content
- Sending coupons for participation
- Having giveaways for a product or service
- Doubling or tripling loyalty points
- Hold a contest with specific rules for content creation
You can also simply ask your loyal customers to submit testimonials. You may consider creating an ambassador program with UGC applications to further deepen the relationship with people who may already be singing your praises in a less formal way.
How To Promote UGC Effectively
Part of your UGC marketing strategy needs to include what to do when your clients receive user-generated content. Promotion can take a small testimonial or video and make it a big deal. Create a structure for sharing all customer content, including:
- A webpage dedicated to testimonials
- Design templates for sharing short feedback on social media platforms
- Schedule for posting to evenly spread out the UGC
- Ways to acknowledge the work of the content creator so they feel appreciated
Remember, all user-generated content is part of the customer journey — so honor the person by promoting their efforts. They’re helping the brand stand out from the competition, and that should be seen in tracking customer relationship metrics at the end of the campaign.
Unlock Effective Content Strategies With Compose.ly
Successful user-generated content strategies don’t happen spontaneously. Content marketers need to target customers with the right requests, methods, and incentives to effectively encourage them to create content that matters. To get help with the process, connect with Compose.ly’s managed service team. When you work with seasoned content strategists, you can get results quickly and efficiently.