5 Smart Tips for Creating Effective User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) has been a hot topic in recent years, particularly because of its effectiveness in customer conversions. According to Statista, 73% of customers reported that UGC made them feel more confident when buying from a business, and 65% agreed that UGC was more interesting than traditional marketing content. This is especially important for businesses looking to engage better with their audiences through relevant and meaningful content.
However, it can be extremely difficult for brands to organically cultivate UGC, particularly if they are a new business or have a relatively passive audience. Customers don’t always think about actively posting about the brands or products they love on their personal accounts.
So, how can your company gather this extremely effective type of content when it seems that none is available? Here’s how.
1. Create Testimonials from Customer Reviews
Customer feedback is a perfect source of influential content that builds trust with new customers who are just checking out your brand. Since 86% of consumers report that they look at a business’s ratings and feedback before making a purchase, it is incredibly important for brands to make the most of their best reviews.
Using customer reviews as social media posts, UGC is a great starting point for brands to attract new customers. Positive feedback can easily be transformed into snippets or captions for social media posts. For example, the fashion brand Gunas regularly shares customer reviews on their Instagram posts, which makes their feedback more visible and creates highly engaging social content.
2. Host a UGC-Fueled Giveaway
Contests on social media are a huge trend and can be a great way to get followers to start sharing good content. Not only is this strategy highly engaging in terms of increasing likes and views per post, but it can also get the UGC ball rolling.
Top strategies include asking customers to like posts, follow accounts, and tag friends for a chance to win; you can also reward followers for additional entries. Southwest Airlines ran a highly engaging UGC-fueled giveaway last holiday season that asked customers to share their best pictures that included both the Southwest brand and Dr. Pepper for a chance to win a gift card. This #12DaysofLove contest generated nearly 3K posts that were submitted by customers.
3. Start the Conversation
If your customers aren’t sharing visual content to mention your brand on their own, you may need to try some alternative strategies to get them talking about you online.
Ask your customers questions on social media to instigate conversations that could lead to great content, such as unique ways to use your product or special stories regarding how your brand has changed their life. Be sure to respond to customers on social media as well. Re-posting meaningful or humorous Twitter and Facebook conversations can be great for genuine UGC, showing that your brand engages and cares about customer experiences. Just make sure that your responses still fit in with your brand voice; being funny and casual works for some, but it may not suit formal businesses.
4. Try an IRL Brand Experience
While it’s certainly possible to build relationships with customers solely online, many stores see great benefits by connecting in real life as well. If possible, plan a branded event to host a unique marketing experience, such as a pop-up store, special event, or partnership. These occasions create opportunities for unique UGC moments. Encourage attendees to document their time and share posts with a branded hashtag, and be sure to create photo-worthy moments or locations, such as photo booths or attractive displays.
Bumble does an amazing job of cultivating a brand community offline through events all over the country, specifically for their Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF audiences. They often partner with social media influencers to host fun meetups like dinners and discussion panels to connect customers to each other and the brand.
5. Focus on Brand Advocacy
Customers are a lot more likely to take a brand or product recommendation when it comes from a friend, so using your most loyal customers as social brand advocates is a great way to generate some UGC that leads to more conversions. Encourage repeat customers to become advocates through effective incentives, such as discount codes that can be shared on their personal pages for rewards.
Micro-influencers can be effective in this space as well, but you should view every single customer as a micro-influencer in their own space. The average social media user has about 150 followers on Instagram, and chances are, they personally know most of the people behind those accounts. Therefore, a brand mention could perform quite well and potentially carry more engagement weight than it would from a major influencer with thousands of followers.
UGC is becoming so influential because of its authenticity and honesty in a world of highly curated advertising and fake news. Brands that want to make genuine connections and cultivate real engagement with their customers are wise to use this type of content in their marketing – but getting audiences to start sharing this kind of content on their own accord can be tricky.
Be sure that your brand is transparent and genuine in its approach to building UGC libraries. Focus on the customers’ experiences, feelings, and need for connection. Use authenticity in your approach, and great UGC is sure to follow.