How to Leverage User Generated Content in Your Marketing Strategy
While advertising costs raise everyday, user generated content become the best way to promote your business.
It’s a cost-effective and powerful asset that allows you to boost customers loyalty, conversion rate and brand awareness.
How is this possible?
We will see exactly user generated content (UGC) is, why is beneficial and how to leverage it, in this article.
What is UGC?
When we talk about user generated content we refer to any kind of content created by social media or web users.
The contents included in this subject are images, videos, posts, articles and many more. They born from unpaid contributors promoting a brand spontaneously. In this way, they allow a business to improve results without the need of investing in marketing.
In other words, clients create content to share their shopping experience with the community, promoting the brand while doing it.
This is how the UGC Marketing originated. It is the marketing strategy focused on stimulating users to create content about your brand and share them. In this way, you will then able to re-post their content to stimulate conversation, reliability and visibility of your brand.
What are the benefits of UGC?
User generated content is a powerful tool to promote and expand your business. In this paragraph we will see all the reasons why UGC can be an asset for your brand.
#1 Customer centricity
Today, you must focus on the client satisfaction if you want to win the competition. You have to know your clients and prospect and give them what they need or want.
This is the only way your business can survive in a complex and iper-competitive market.
Customers are now active players in the sale process. They know what they want and they know that if you are not going to meet their needs, another brand will do it.
If you want them to either choose you or remain with you, you have to move the focus from the sale to the customer.
Using UGC means giving your users a special place among your business. It means recognizing their importance, giving them credit and showing them you care.
Users are not the passive players of your business. They do not want to be marketed, but they want to choose the most authentic brand.
What does it mean? That they not only look for quality and service, but they also looks for values.
User generated content are authentic, because they are created by the people themselves. They are not the product of marketing strategies and campaigns. They are real, they are moving and engaging. In this way you will be able to win customers and users attention, making them to interact with your brand.
Being authentic is important when it comes to your business. In fact, 63% of consumers say that they are ready to change a brand if they don’t feel you are genuine.
UGC helps you connect with your audience on a human level, showing them you share the same values.
We talked about this a lot in our previous articles: trust is key to conversion. If you want people to visit your store and buy from you, you have to make them rely on you.
What is the best way to do it?
There are many ways in which you can boost your reliability. You can leverage email marketing campaigns, giving valuable content making them feel you care about them. You can ask previous clients to leave a review of your product or service. You can ask expert to give their opinion about your product or service. You can leverage relationship marketing.
These are only some of the example you can make yourself trustable in the eyes of the audience.
User generated content is a further booster for your reliability. By sharing pictures, videos, articles and any other content created by previous clients, you show them they can trust you.
This is why world-of-mouth has such an influence over people. Because they trust other customers like them.
User generated content have the power to create a community around your brand or a determined product.
Social media have a huge effect in creating communities: bringing people together it’s their main goal. By sharing the content of users you not only give your audience proof of your reliability and values. You also give them the chance to be part of a group with shared values and needs.
In fact, your products or services aim at solving problems. Being part of a community has a huge influence in the customer lifecycle. They will feel more likely to buy from you more and to not abandon you for another brand.
People need to be part of a community and to share feelings and ideas with other people. Is part of the human being characteristics. UGC leverages this need, by creating a loyal community for your business.
#5 No investment and high ROI
User generated content is cost-effective because you don’t need to create it. Your clients will do it for you.
In this way you will be able to reduce marketing expenses while having always the right content to share.
Even if you won’t have to invest budget in huge and complex marketing campaigns, you will have some very outstanding returns. In fact, stats say that the use of both professional and UGC make your brand engagement rise by 28%.
Making your brand trustworthy, authentic and engaging is important, but if you want your business to survive you have to sell. User generated content are also useful to raise the sales and revenues.
In fact, around 80% of users affirm that UGC influence their purchase decision.
At the end, everything is about selling your products and solving the problems of your clients, to make them come again in the future. This is how you can have a sustainable, durable, business.
How can you stimulate the audience to get UCG?
Now, you see the benefit of having users that create content about your brand, promoting it for free. But, how can you get it?
There is no rule of thumb that will assure your success, but you can follow some guidelines that will help you getting started.
Think about and create a plan
If you don’t have lots of followers already interested in sharing with the community your products you have to make it happens.
- First of all, you will need to be present on the social media of your relevant audience;
- Second, you will need to create engaging content to grow your fan base;
- Third, you will have to make your customers happy with your products or services.
These are fundamental steps for both having and using UGC to improve your business results.
The next step is to stimulate the audience to create content about your brand. This is what is called user generated content marketing. And, as every marketing strategy, it must start with a plan.
You have to establish which are the goals of your plan:
- higher brand engagement. UGC can help you get more likes and comments on your profile. It can also help you stimulate the conversation about your brand, improving also awareness and visibility;
- trust. As we already said, UGC helps you make people trust your brand. Users give you credibility when they create content about your brand or product;
- education. You can use UGC to educate your audience. The best way to do it is by first listening to them. Do they have questions? Do they understand your brand? Make sure that the user generated content you use solve their problems;
- content. Are you struggling with social media and the daily content to post? User generated content can help you filling your social network with relevant content without too much of an effort;
- higher conversion. Again, UGC is critical to convince your prospects to become customers. It has a huge influence on the decision of other users and you can take advantage of it.
Once you know your goal, you can start working on the real plan.
How are you going to make people create content about you?
You can launch a contest. People love to share their point of view, talent, ideas to show the world their value. This is what Starbucks did with the White Cup Contest only a few years ago.
You can start a giveaway. In this way you will be able to ask your prospects and customers everything you want. In fact, the occasion to win something exclusive, can be a booster for people to leave their personal contacts. Other than their follow, likes, comments and much more.
A prize, is not always necessary. You can stimulate UGC also thanks to hashtag campaigns. This is what Aerie did with #AerieReal. We are talking about a swimsuit and lingerie brand that fights the iper-edited images of women in society.
The #AerieReal campaign asked clients to share their non-retouched pictures with the hashtag. It had a huge impact not only on sales, but also on the perception of the brand.
Give users details
The more specific you are with your users, the better for your campaigns results.
This means that when you launch a UGC marketing plan, whether it is with an hashtag or a contest, you have to give your users all the details. You have to tell them what you expect from them.
Is it a picture or a video?
Do you want them to be in the picture or you want only the product?
Do you want them to share on social media and tag you or send their creation via email?
These are very important factors when it comes to UGC.
Create and maintain relationships
User generated contents stimulate conversation, engagement and credibility. You have to be smart and take advantage of their power to establish new relationships and maintain the old ones.
This means, being able to grow the community and be there to answer all the questions the have.
You have to keep people interested and engaged, taking part to the conversation. It’s your chance to show them you share the same value and your human side.
How can you leverage UGC for your business?
The market of advertising is changing. This is why you should focus on new marketing strategies.
Customers are now tech savvy, they know how you profile them and how you market them and they don’t like it. They want to be aware of what you do and how you do it. They want to be free to choose. This is why they try to bypass ads everyday.
In this context user generated content is a powerful asset for your business.
You have to plan and implement a UGC marketing campaign, making users willing to create content, but what’s next? How can you leverage it?
#1 Make people desire what you sell
Have you ever opened your Instagram feed to discover that one of your friends is having dinner right on top of the Tour Eiffel? What have you felt?
I guess you would have loved to be him or her. It’s ok, don’t worry, we experienced that too at least once.
Thanks to UGC you can create desire in your clients. It works with every product and every niche. Whether you sell swimsuit, fashion accessories, make-up, etc.
#2 Build brand loyalty thanks to already loyal customers
Your ultimate goal is not converting people for one single sale, anymore. Today, you have to build relationships with the audience. Prospect or clients, it doesn’t matter, you have to nurture your bond, strengthen it, and make them buy more than once.
In other words, you have to build brand loyalty.
User generated content allows you both to show the loyalty of your customers and stimulate new prospect and customers to turn themselves in ambassadors.
#3 Support your social media calendar
Thanks to user generated content you will be able to handle the social media plan easily. You won’t have to go crazy to create relevant content to be shared on your social network profiles.
Users will help you build a library of content that you can use whenever you need on your channels.
What you should always remember when it comes to UGC?
User generated content can be disruptive for your business. But if not handled well it can also make your current customers go away.
This is why you should follow some best practice:
- Never take permission for granted. Yes, it is true that they tag your profile and use your hashtag, but it doesn’t mean you can use their content without asking. This is why you should always ask users the permission to use their content on your profile or channel.
Sometimes, they will also ask you money for that. In this case, if you don’t want to spend, you will only have to find people willing to give you permission for free;
- Give credit to the creator. When you repost UGC, remember to always mention the source. Not only this is right, but it’s also fruitful. In fact, giving the credit to your users, will make them willing to create even more content and stay loyal to your brand;
- Never change requirements on the go. You launched your hashtag or contest. You have your users details. Now, it’s time to wait. Don’t get worried if you don’t receive the expected results right away, creation requires time. By changing requirements on the go you won’t get more UGC, but you will only confuse them, bringing your campaign down with your own hands.
Last, but not least, listen and learn. The web can be full of references to your products or brand. You have to be patient and keep looking. Go deeper and don’t stop yourself to the first results.
By doing this, you will be able to find UGC you didn’t know about, asking loyal and happy customers to tag you next time.
By analyzing the social media and web to find UGC you will be able to do much more. In fact, you can see how people perceive and use your products. You can find new angles you haven’t thought of that you could use to improve their image. Or to expand your audience. But you could also see that people don’t understand the product as you thought they would.
Listening and watching how people react to your product, service and brand is important to improve the marketing strategies and the consequent results.
In a complex market, like e-commerce, using new marketing strategy is the way to take your business to the next level. User generated content allows you to improve the reliability and visibility of your brand. In this way you will get higher conversion rate, establishing relevant relationships with your users.
To get user generated content you have to make your clients happy.
We can help you with that, thanks to our quality products and professional services.
In fact, uDroppy not only helps you handle the complex processes of e-commerce without effort. We also give you all the resource you need to make your business solid and successful, while focusing on the customer satisfaction.
Want to discover more? Create your free account and contact your e-com manager!
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