User-Generated Content, or UGC, is the kind of collateral every brand dreams of. Not only can it give you a ready-made library of social media and web content, but it serves to amplify your brand story as well. A significant 70% of consumers will consider UGC reviews or ratings before making a purchasing decision. User-generated content creates trust that drives purchasing decisions and makes your brand feel more authentic to potential customers. So how do you harness it? Here are a few key considerations when developing your strategy.
Understand the Why
When beginning to craft a UGC campaign, it’s important to understand what networks are already sharing content in your industry and how they’re communicating about products and services similar to yours. Identify what platforms will be most useful to you and what conversations it will be beneficial for your brand to be a part of.
Set Goals for Your Campaign
You’ll have the most success with UGC if you approach it holistically, as you would any other marketing campaign. Similar to building an influencer strategy, it’s essential to define what goals you want UGC to accomplish for your business. From brand awareness and increased social media engagement to an increase in leads or customer education, UGC can be used in a number of different ways. Determining how you will define success for your initiative will not only help you determine what metrics to measure, but it will also give you an idea of what kind of content you’ll want to encourage.
Aim to Inspire
When everything is open-ended, the possibilities are too boundless for the average customer to take action. Define specific parameters for your audience, and make your ask something they want to talk about – make it about them, not about you. Tell them what you want them to share and where, as well as what benefit they might receive from doing so. Remember that UGC can be nearly anything you want it to be. Blogs, podcast mentions, reviews, and tutorials are all valuable forms of UGC that you can leverage. Develop a prompt that will inspire your audience to share the kind of content that will be useful to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Create a giveaway: You don’t have to give away something expensive to inspire customers to share content. Be clear with your parameters, and offer your audience something they would find useful in return for their posts, experiences, or insights. Since awareness and engagement are valuable currency on most platforms, the simple possibility of having their content featured could be enough to encourage people to begin sharing their experiences.
Post Questions: Never underestimate the power of a well-asked question. By strategically soliciting opinions on topics you know will engage your audience, you can easily extract ideas and content from users who are excited to share their thoughts.
Ask for Success Stories: The experience of satisfied customers is powerful information for your audience. Ask customers about their stories – the successes, innovations, or creative ideas they’ve been able to attain and find ways to reshare that information with your audience.
Start a hashtag campaign: Depending on the platform you choose, a well-designed hashtag campaign can be an ongoing source of material for your brand. Make sure that you communicate the hashtag clearly and often and that your customers understand what you’d like them to share.
Promote Your Initiative
Make your ask prominent, easy to understand, and clear. Put it in your bio or design some of your social media posts to include information about what and how your customers should share their experiences. Remember that not all content has to be solicited publicly on a social media platform. Design an email campaign aimed at getting customers to share their stories or set up a dedicated landing page where they can go to share their experiences with you.
No matter what, the primary key to a UGC campaign that works is to be clear and ask often. With a little persistence, you’ll be on your way to a steady stream of content that can lighten your content-creation load and delight your audiences.
More than half of consumers wish that brands would tell them what type of content to create and share.
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