We’ve all seen it. Those artsy posts of your friends’ Frappuccino, the mouthwatering Instagram of a deep dish pizza that makes you want throw your diet out the window. These aren’t annoying or interruptive advertisements (unless your hours away from your lunch break), but just the normal social sharing you see on a daily basis.
User-generated content (UGC) is literally everywhere. It’s photos, blogs, reviews, videos, social posts, or any other type of content created by an individual user. It’s original, dynamic content created by those who matter the most – the loyal fans of your brand.
The internet is more social today than it ever was. We’re in the age of the customer, where they are more vocal and have a major influence on what they want to see and experience from brands. While this might make your PR staff anxious, you should realize that UGC gives you a whole new opportunity to develop and enhance your relationship with your customers. As a consumer, it can seem like many business campaigns have a hidden, evil motive. But by showcasing your fan’s content, your next campaign will feel more genuine, truthful, and honest.
WHO CAN YOU COUNT ON FOR UGC?
A large group of consumers known as Millennials (or Generation Y), have been getting a lot of attention from marketers. This group consists of those born between 1977 and 1994, and it accounts for 25% of the U.S. population. Whether they are a part of your target audience today or not, this group is definitely worth considering as a part of your inbound marketing strategy, because they are more than likely going to become part of your target audience in the future. According to MarketingProfs survey
, Generation Y’s annual spending of over $200 billion will surpass Baby Boomers by 2017. As a result, Millennials are estimated to be the largest consumer group in U.S. history. With that kind of purchasing power, marketers need to consider alternate strategies that align with thea purchasing habits of Millennials - and those habits involve validating their purchase with user-generated content from other real-life customers.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER UGC?
Other than the fact that Millennials are taking over the majority of the consumer population, there are quite a few reasons UGC is becoming more important to brands:
It Builds Trust
Traditional forms of online advertising are becoming increasingly ineffective as people rely on other’s personal experiences. People trust family and friends more than advertisements, especially the younger generations. According to a study featured on Cutting Edge PR, 74% of consumers choose companies or brands based on others’ experiences shared online.
It’s Cost Effective
Let’s face it, any time you can save money on advertising is a win for you. When users generate content, it decreases the production costs spent on your own content creation.
It Enhances the Customer Relationship and User Experience
Customers love to see their personal content publicized by their favorite brands. Reposting your customers content shows you’re listening, strengthens that relationship, and makes them feel part of a continuing conversation.
Everyone wants to increase their SEO. What better way than to push user-generated content? The more times your brand is tagged or mentioned, the more chances of appearing in search results.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Really it’s your users that need to get started, but you need to make it easy for them to do so. And sometimes they need a little nudge.
Make reviews easy to submit on your site
Give your users the ability to submit reviews about your products or services. People like to give their opinions, so give them what they want. Make sure you keep a close eye on these areas so when an issue pops up, you’re able to respond in a timely manner and make amends.
In order to get people to contribute, you can offer prizes, feature certain customers in posts, use their photos, or find other ways to engage them. Inspire them to create content!
If you want customers to share their stories and opinions, just simply ask. Post a question on Facebook or Twitter and watch the feedback pour in.
Repost, Retweet, Respond
If you’re asking questions, you need to make sure you’re listening and responding. This helps build trust and strengthens that customer relationship mentioned earlier. Having direct, uncensored access to your community allows your brand to hear your customer feedback. Negative or positive, someone is mentioning your brand because they want to be heard. Directly responding (to both negative and positive), shows you value your consumers and demonstrates authenticity.
As a business, UGC gives you the chance to benefit from content produced by those who purchase from you or use your services. It expands the reach of your marketing and increases inbound traffic. Remember, UGC is relatable, powerful, and a cost-efficient way to market to your customers. When they talk to you, it’s important to talk back!
Have a good example of a brand utilizing user-generated content? Contact us today!