Did you know that individual users and not businesses create most online content?
This means that most people who contact your business will be more interested in reading and watching user-generated content (UGC) than traditional promotional materials.
Businesses create their own types of content (text, pictures, infographics, etc.) to help their audience learn more about the company and its products. User-generated content differs from this professional content because it’s made by someone who isn’t representing the company.
Such content is free and easy to find. As a business owner, you’d be smart to leverage such user-generated content and use it to find more customers.
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Why user-generated content is important
Content uploaded to social media networks, blogs, and discussion forums can create a dialogue between your business and potential customers. UGC shows your audience what other people are saying about your product or service, which increases trust among new visitors.
It helps to increase brand awareness as it documents real-life examples of how other people have benefited from using your services. It’s an effective way for you to market yourself without appearing overly self-promotional or pushy.
Another way to use UGC is for marketing research and development. UGC can help you learn what consumers want and need. And you don’t need to hold focus groups or surveys – try asking consumers questions directly on social media and in online forums like Reddit instead.
These are just a few of the benefits that UGC creates for your business. If you leverage UGC well, it can help you build trust, drive conversions, and grow your business.
What user-generated content looks like
You come across UGC all the time. However, not all of them are relevant to your business. Here are some that are:
- Posts on social media about your products and services
- Images of customers using your product
- Testimonials from customers
- Messages sent to you by users through email or your website
- Videos posted on YouTube where they review your company’s products
- Customers write blog posts about their experiences with your products and services.
- Wikis are created by customers that describe how to use specific features to work best for them
- Product reviews and ratings
- Forum discussions and more
There are so many formats in which UGC appears. The important thing is to track the ones that mention your brand, product, and services. And to encourage your happy customers to create ones that support your brand.
You don’t have to wait for people to make UGC that’s relevant for you. You can also create marketing campaigns that encourage people to make them.
How do you collect UGC?
You can generate and collect high-quality content from your audience in many ways. You need to strategize this activity and track the outcomes. We’ll explore ways to collect UGC for the rest of this post.
Create branded hashtags
Create a hashtag that’s unique for your business so people know it belongs to you. Ask customers to tag their social media posts with this hashtag when they use your products or attend events.
By doing this, you’ll have an easier time finding other people’s UGC that includes your brand or products.
You should also monitor hashtags that are relevant to your business but aren’t branded so you can find content related to yours. You can do this by tracking hashtags that are used by other businesses or brands in your industry. You can also follow hashtags that are related to a specific problem that your product helps with.
Ask questions on social media
A simple way to get user-generated content is to ask questions on social media. You can ask them directly via your Facebook or Twitter page or comment on another company’s post.
Another way to leverage social media is to use polls. This feature is in-built on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and many others.
Using polls makes it easier for customers to choose an answer and leave their opinion. And you can use these responses to learn more about what people want and even share them on your own profile.
People take action when they have a powerful motivation to do so. And you can motivate your audience to create content by rewarding them.
For example, offer $50 gift cards to the first 10 users who submit a picture, a story, a caption, or some other type of content.
Another essential way to encourage people to create UGC is to create surveys. You can feature the results of your survey in your online communication. For example, if 95% of your survey respondents are happy with your offerings, then this makes a compelling result to share with your audience.
You’ll build trust and authority when you have positive responses from your customers.
Create contests and giveaways
Creating contests and giveaways is a great way to encourage UGC. Ask your social media followers to upload content and add your brand’s hashtag to enter the contest or giveaway.
You’ll need to use a giveaway plugin to collect entries and get people to complete different tasks in order to win a prize. Giveaways help you build a buzz online and can also produce great content for you to use.
Monitor online conversations
Social listening tools can help monitor what’s being said about your brand, website, products, and services online.
Make sure that you use a social listening tool or a social media management tool to not miss out on any opportunities that might arise from these conversations.
Promote user-generated content across all channels
If you want to encourage people to make content then you need to show that you’re sharing content already.
Make sure that you feature posts by your audience on your own social channels. People appreciate having their content shared by brands when it’s done appropriately.
Promoting user-generated content via email newsletters is another good way to communicate with your email list to share what’s being said about your product or service.
Create a social feed on your website
A social feed is a great way for people to see what others think about your product and whether or not they should give it a try. You can add and curate content on your WordPress site using a social feed plugin.
A social feed plugin allows you to embed social media content into a page on your website. You can feature content such as testimonials, customer stories, photos of people using your products and services, and any other type of relevant user-generated content.
By doing this, you won’t miss out on opportunities created by online conversations about your brand or industry because they’ll be available for anyone who visits the page. Another advantage is that people don’t get distracted by content from other social channels, and they’ll stay longer on your site.
Use a form tool to collect submissions
You can use a form tool to ask visitors for their opinions, feedback, suggestions, and ideas about your product or services.
A form tool is also great for collecting user submissions like stories that can be done anonymously.
This means that you won’t have to create backend access for people to add content to your WordPress site. You can curate and approve posts that come right from your forms.
The more user-generated content that’s available about your brand, the more trust you’ll build among your audience members and customers.
It has the potential to increase traffic and conversions too. And you can use it across all online channels, so this type of content is truly valuable for businesses that want to improve their digital marketing efforts.
Start encouraging your audience to create online content. You’ll benefit from having other people talk about your brand.