User generated content (UGC) is the original content that is created by your audience. It can be anything from comments or reviews on your blog or social media site, to images and videos.
According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising. This is probably because UGC is not paid for by the brand and created by your audience, so it is unbiased and seen as more trustworthy and genuine. It acts as social proof and helps you to grow your following, strengthen relationships with your clients, helps with SEO and can boost sales.
Here are a few ways to use user generated content for your business.
When potential customers want to buy something, most like to look at product reviews before taking the plunge. Reviews show them that your product or service is reliable. Ratings and reviews can help increase traffic to your website, which ultimately can help grow your business and encourage those potential customers to buy from you.
I would advise every business to encourage customers to leave reviews wherever possible. You can ask them to leave reviews on your website, social media page, or on your Google My Business page.
You can also give an incentive to get more reviews, by offering something like a discount or gift card. Send an email with incentive keywords in your subject line to encourage customers to open them.
If you get a negative review, don’t ignore it. Treat it as an opportunity to turn the customer round and gain their trust. Always reply personally to show that you care about their experience and try to solve the problem they’ve highlighted. If you do turn them around, they will then recommend you to their friends and family.
Host a contest
One way to get customer content is to host a contest on social media. You can even create a unique contest hashtag and get followers to contribute to the hashtag. Users could share their photos or videos accompanied by your specific hashtag to win a prize. If enough of your followers do this, it can push your hashtag to trend, which will not only build engagement with your target audience, but also build awareness of your brand and boost sales.
If you do decide to do this, just keep in mind that your hashtag needs to be simple and not difficult to spell…and also use one that sets you and your business apart from your competitors. And don’t forget to start using your new hashtag in all your own posts.
Video is a fantastic way to create user generated content. Video has such great potential for sharing and there is a higher possibility that video content will go viral.
User generated video give your audience a new perspective on your brand, which not only boosts your credibility, it also illustrates that your brand is genuine as these are the videos of real customers…not something you’ve created yourself.
Use events and holidays
There are loads of different holiday seasons and individual days in the calendar, from Christmas and Easter, to Valentine’s Day or just summer! You could also choose to use a major event.
These holidays or events gives you an opportunity to engage with your customers and connect with them. This gives your followers the chance to share images or videos, use your hashtags, take part in a competition or even write a testimonial and share it with their friends.
A few years ago, a major coffee chain launched a campaign during December. They produced a branded coffee cup with a Christmas theme and asked for inspiring and innovative photos with their cup in the photo. There was a prize of a gift card…and of course, in order to take part, customers had to buy the cup first. They were inundated with photos, which were really imaginative and published them on their website. Customers absolutely loved coming up with really innovative ideas, they loved seeing their entry on the website, (which of course they shared with their friends) and the coffee brand sold loads of coffee. All for a very simple idea.
Have a think about what you could come up with for your business.
User generated content acts as social proof and helps you grow your following, strengthen relationships with your clients, helps with SEO and help boost sales.
Have you ever done this? If you have, I’d love to know how you got on. If not, why not try it out. Again, I’d love to hear all about it. Please comment below and share your story.