Business Marketing

How to Leverage User-Generated Content For Your Business

Satisfied customer sharing product on social media
Written by MicroStartups

Every business exists to serve its customers and the companies that customers feel most endeared towards, are the ones that stay in business the longest. The relationship between the customers and the brand determines its future. So how do you ensure the relationship status between your customers and your business?

There are many ways to sweeten and deepen the relationship, but one significant aspect we will be focusing on is by tuning in to the power of User-Generated Content.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-Generated Content is any content that customers create and share in relation to your business or products on social media or elsewhere ranging from Photos, Social Posts, Reviews, Reviews, Blog articles, and so on. 

They are all considered as User-Generated Content or UGC for short. Sometimes they might also be referred to as Fan-Generated Content if your business is related to Fan Following such as Movie production, Book Publishing, etc.,

Is User-Generated Content (UGC) that Big of a Deal?

Yes, it is a big deal and companies are increasingly starting to realize the UGC in implementing them with their basic content strategies.

According to a study by Salesforce, including USC in the marketing strategy improves a 73% increase in email click-through rates, and 4-times increase the Ads engagement.

Knowing that UGC has a powerful effect on marketing, we will look at the core idea that utilizes UGC to deepen customer relationships with your brand.

How to Generate More UGC?

Chances are your business already has a lot of UGC accumulated over the years in the form of reviews and recommendations. You don’t need ideas to generate more reviews or recommendations; instead, you need to tap into the psychology of your clients through UGC in a way that gains their loyalty. Enough talk. Let’s begin.

The core idea you need to get your head around is human nature that strives for meaningful contribution and understandable desire.

We feel good about ourselves when we contribute to a cause that we believe in, through our simple actions.

We also love it when we are given the odds of winning something or experiencing a brief rush in return for quick participation in an online activity.

The human need for meaning and purpose is what you really have to leverage using UGC as your vehicle. Now how can you do that?

This is where creativity rears its beautiful colourful, creative head. We have all seen the giveaway and lottery contests online a million times in return for a share or a comment on social media. This strategy still works today but is not appealing to young customers (millennials) and may not improve your brand’s image among the general public.

Creating Brand Awareness using UGC

What one’s got to do instead is to create a campaign around one’s product or business that encourages customers or others to create original content that is of enough interest to them to share among their friends and family.

Disney Parks’ Share Your Ears Campaign

For example, let’s take a look at Disney Parks’ Share Your Ears campaign that encouraged people to take pictures of themselves with Mickey Mouse ears and share on social media using the hashtag #ShareYourEars. In exchange, Disney Parks promised to donate $1 for every photo taken with a million-dollar cap to the Make-A-Wish organization. The campaign was so successful that Disney had to readjust their donation cap to 2 million dollars.

This campaign had both the hallmarks we had discussed regarding human nature, humanity’s quest for meaning and desire to feel good (either by experiencing/getting new stuff or gaining social currency in terms of sharing desirable/viral content).

How can UGC help Your Business?

If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is the never-ending human desire to consume new content. People have been spending more time consuming content ever since the dawn of social media and streaming services. And companies have been working really hard to utilize this trend to help their own businesses. 

However, this trend comes with its own downside. Every day we are bombarded with viral content. What is viral today enjoys its few seconds of fame before being replaced by another and forgotten till kingdom come.

Therefore it is not profitable for your business to leverage UGC once in a while as it would absolutely do nothing to build your brand. UGC instead requires a strategy that is dedicated and persistent. In fact, for UGC to have any significant impact on your business, you must incorporate it as one of your main strategies. 

Remember that this would be a fail-proof strategy. Relying on your customers’ generated content to build your brand is a smart, inexpensive strategy that sends a strong message to your customers that they are at the heart of your business leading to increased brand loyalty.

What You Shouldn’t Do with UGC

Now, let’s focus on the what-not-to-do when it comes to leveraging UGC:

Do not resort to the plain old Testimonials your primary UGC strategy

This is essentially a relic of the past. Yes, even today, you see the testimonials from select customers on businesses’ websites. However, it’s not the best UGC strategy – think of this the ‘Hello World’ of UGC-leveraged marketing.

Do not use Customer Reviews in a Conventional Way

Reviews are very important for business, and almost all businesses are using customer reviews in their marketing strategy. However, it has become outdated, and you need to use customer reviews in more creative ways. You could implement a review management tool in your business website to collect and use the customer reviews creatively. 

For example, like Amazon, you can create a Review Community. You can allow customers to upvote the reviews that they find helpful and can award the Top Reviewers with their name in Top-10 reviewers of the week. You can also give coupons and other rewards.

If you have an eCommerce business and you have collected reviews from customers, you could launch a social media campaign such as “Why customers love Product X” and publish the best customer review content and even run ads for this content.

What You Should Do with UGC

Finally, let’s look at the certainly what-to-do:     

Get all everyone involved

You would only see the maximum results when you throw open your business to the whole wide world. It doesn’t matter if people are interested in your product or not, get them involved.  Get them to know you and chances are; they might recommend your business to friends as they go about their lives exchanging anecdotes about ‘that great company that had this great social media challenge’.

Give people a reason to get involved

As we had seen with the Disney Parks example, appeal to people’s need to contribute and the pursuit of feeling good.

Be consistent

Consistency is the key to sear your brand image into the hearts and minds of your customers. Give your customers regular opportunities to create content.

Alright, now off you go and become a UGC leveraging superstar for your business!

 Alright, now off you go and become a UGC leveraging superstar for your business!

Author Bio

Justin Kumar is the Editor and Content Marketer for HelpieWP.com and StarCatWP.com. He loves to write about Digital Marketing and Brand Development. You can contact him at this Twitter handle – @PraveenJustin

About the author

MicroStartups

A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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