How to Turn Customers Into Advocates With User-Generated Content
With almost 4 billion people using social media to freely express their opinions, user-generated content (UGC) has become invaluable when it comes to brand positioning.
Through UGC, businesses can reach large audiences in an authentic way. And authenticity is key when potential buyers are considering your product. If they read positive and honest reviews about it, chances are that they will make a purchase.
Another great thing about content generated from users is how inexpensive it actually is. Most of the time it is completely free with paid influencers being the exception. With that in mind, we can conclude that UGC is a low-cost marketing tactic with a high return-on-investment ratio.
Content marketing efforts require a clearly defined strategy for optimal results. This is no different when it comes to UGC. Set straightforward guidelines about what type of content you would like to receive and how you are going to use it. Distinguish who your target customers are and plan not only how to catch their attention, but how to actually convert them into advocates of your brand.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the impact of user-generated content on your brand and how you can use it to increase your business’s success rate.
What Is User-Generated Content?
This type of content isn’t generated by your brand but rather by the people that have interacted with its services. These people can be customers who share their experiences, employees that talk about the good work environment at your company or fans of your brand.
There are several reasons why user-generated content can greatly increase your outreach and lead conversion rates. Let’s dive deeper into each one of them.
It Builds Trust Through Authenticity
Businesses say great things about themselves all the time and that is something normal. Of course, you want to promote your product in the best possible way in order to get customers to trust it and buy it.
Yet, consumers tend to believe recommendations from strangers and friends more than from commercials. In fact, 90% of buyers state that authenticity is crucial for their decision to use a certain product.
This is why this type of user content is useful. It displays accurate and honest feedback about your products and services that may inspire leads to become clients.
It Creates a Community Around Your Brand
User-generated content is also great because of its ability to create communities around your services. It breaches the gap between a company and its loyal fans or customers. Careful review of what users have expressed regarding your products will help you understand their needs better.
It provides the opportunity for groups of people, often with similar interests and experiences with your products, to gather and share opinions.
Different Types of User-Generated Content
Some social platforms like Facebook and YouTube have more than 2 billion users. And these are just two sites out of many. Social media outlets provide users with a variety of ways to share their experiences and express their points of view.
Whether through a picture, video or a comment, the opinions that people share can all be classified as User-Generated Content.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of UGC and how you can use them.
The reviews and testimonials customers leave online can have a great impact on your sales. More than 89% of consumers read them to educate themselves before purchasing a certain product. This statistic alone implies how important it is for your brand to encourage good reviews.
Since you can’t control what people write and how they feel, the only thing to do in order to ensure positive feedback is to never compromise quality. High quality products leave clients satisfied and the probability of them sharing a good review becomes higher.
By focusing your efforts on pleasing the consumer’s needs,this type of user-generated content works wonders by increasing sales.
Of course, you can never please everybody and you should be prepared that there will be negative feedback as well. Yet, if you approach it correctly, it can be turned into an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.
Research carefully what is troubling your audience and devise a plan on how to resolve their issues. If you succeed by turning your critics into fans, they will become loyal to your brand. Success in this endeavour will ultimately result in a stronger bond between you and your customers.
Content Generated on Social Media
Social media platforms are great places to collect user-generated content from. Most of us enjoy sharing moments and thoughts with our family and friends through them.
Whenever someone posts pictures or videos that feature your product, the UGC pool increases. That means that your company will have access to a wide variety of content that they haven’t paid to produce.
And some of these media files can be so creative, that you could even feature them within your marketing campaigns. And you should, because people truly love to feel involved with the labels they like.
You can motivate users to share interactions in various ways. The UGC on social media can vary but most often it will be in the form of pictures, stories, videos, tags, or comments.
A great way to encourage people to post the content you want to use is by initiating competitions. For example, if you need a specific type of photo, you can explain to your audience what parameters they should follow and state that the best picture will be featured by your brand online or in its media campaigns.
To make public content easily accessible in a well-organized manner, you should create dedicated hashtags for people to use. Clicking on a hashtag will display all available public content that features it. This way, you can scan easily for any UGC you could use in your marketing efforts.
Inspire Users to Become Brand Advocates
Brand advocates are one of the most compelling ways to advertise a brand. They are the people that will spread positive opinions about your label without expecting any payment in return.
What they do is, they defend and recommend your company to their friends, family or social media followers. And consumers are way more likely to believe a word of mouth advertisement rather than sponsored commercials.
In a way, they act as a marketing team, devoted to your products, without expecting much in return.
Understand the User’s Psychology
In order to turn a customer into an advocate of your brand, you should understand what
is making them loyal to it. Of course, the most common reason is the quality of your products.
High quality services result in dedicated clients which will be more than happy to recommend you. If your services offer – or exceed – the outcome that users are expecting, it will further strengthen the bond.
To further increase your knowledge about what makes your customers happy, you can try surveying them about their experiences with your brand. Ask them if they would recommend it to a friend or what they like, or dislike about it.
Whenever you ask for feedback, make sure they feel like their opinion is being heard and that it actually matters. Follow what people are saying about your company on social media and try to investigate what the popular reactions to your user-generated content are.
Which Users Can Become Brand Advocates
Of course, your brand can have fans which are not necessarily clients or employees. These are people who see your business as something they relate to. Another group of people that can serve as advocates are the influencers.
Influencers are people that make a living out of promoting different businesses. They get paid to do so but their cost rates are way cheaper than hiring super famous media personalities. And moreover, just on Instagram alone, there are more than 500,000 influencers.
Usually, influencers can reach up to tens of thousands of people that follow them regularly and relate to them. This means that if they promote your products it is very likely that their audiences will try them out as well. This will ultimately result in more sales.
Nurture Advocates In the Right Way
Focus your marketing efforts so they are as appealing and engaging as possible to your audiences. Your sale offers should be tailored to target the needs of your public. The understanding of what clients want comes after careful research of their feedback.
Another thing that users just love is to be rewarded for their referrals of your brand. If you like what somebody wrote about your product – share it on your brand’s official page. This will show that you really care about customer’s opinions and will inspire others to leave reviews.
Giveaways are another way you can reward your followers. Through them, you can potentially gain a lot of new followers as one of the most common conditions to enter one is to follow and share the post they are related to. You could even create a blog post around a review that your customers have left.
Follow Federal Trade Commission Guidelines
User-generated content may be easy to get a hold of and be used for marketing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legal aspects of it to take into consideration. If you are going to work with a photo or a video that a follower of yours has made, be sure to ask them if you can use it.
If they agree to let you use their materials, you should disclose that. Give the authors public credit by using their social media handles or names.
User-generated content is a great marketing tactic that every business should adopt. It is a very low-cost way to reach broader audiences in a trustworthy and authentic way.
Implementing user-generated content into your marketing strategy has a huge outreach potential that can convert since it is a source that customers trust more than sponsored advertisements.
People love to interact with their favorite brands and if you can keep them satisfied with the quality of your products, they can become the biggest advertisers of your brand.