When it comes to effective marketing strategies, there are few things more persuasive than a user-generated content marketing strategy. Customers are more willing to trust other customers than they are sellers or companies, so if you can tap into your existing customer base and use their content in your marketing, do it. Here are just a few of the reasons that user-generated content can help revitalize your company’s content creation process.
Marketing your brand can often feel like an uphill battle. You need to prove to your target audience that you’re a trustworthy expert in your field. However, consumers are often wary of advertisements that come from the company itself because they won’t easily believe that you really do have their best interests in mind. One of the most effective ways of combating this natural inclination towards doubt is to take advantage of customer testimonials in the form of a user-generated content marketing strategy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of user-generated content (UGC), then take a look at HubSpot’s simple definition: “User-generated content, or UGC, consists of any form of content that's created by users and consumers about a brand or product.”
User-generated content is contributed by unpaid users and can take the form of any of the following and more:
Pictures posted on social media
Tweets or Facebook posts
To help illustrate how UGC can revitalize your brand’s content marketing efforts, here are some of the ways that your existing customer base might be the best marketers you never knew you had.
Users Generate Content Whether Brands Know It Or Not
What makes UGC so beneficial to your company’s content creation strategies is that your consumers are already making it whether you know about it or not. Social media is a hub where people are constantly talking about their lives and the products that occupy them, which means your products are inevitably going to be mentioned on any, or all, of the social media platforms.
If you use your company’s social media accounts to highlight the positive testimonials you find, then you’ll not only be encouraging other users to share their positive experiences with you and your services, but you’ll also be producing an effective, and nearly effortless, marketing outlet.
The best thing you can do to encourage positive UGC is to include it in your ongoing marketing strategies. By pushing user testimonials in your emails, social media posts, and other marketing content, you demonstrate to your audience that you want to hear and spotlight their unique voices and stories.
People love to be seen, and the attention that brand-supported UGC provides can be an exciting incentive for them to share their own experiences with your brand’s products. Encourage users to tag your social media profiles when they post content about your products, emphasize hashtags, and be consistent in the UGC your brand spotlights.
All of this feeds into an ongoing cycle of generating content that is customer led, rather than company led. This reduces the amount of time you have to invest in your internal marketing efforts and maximizes your customer engagement by showing an audience that they are seen, heard, and valued.
Customers Trust Other Customers
Building trust is the ultimate goal of any brand’s marketing efforts. You want your target audience to think of you when they’re in need of a solution to a problem, and to earn that kind of mental real estate you need to prove that you’re a trustworthy expert in your field.
While your own marketing strategies can accomplish this, recruiting existing customers to do it for you can maximize the level of trust prospective clients are willing to give you. When it comes down to it, customers trust other customers more than they’ll ever trust a company.
Think about it like this: how much more likely would you be to try out a new restaurant in the area if one of your friends or colleagues recommended it to you, compared to the restaurant itself sending you a flyer in the mail? This is exactly what a user-generated content marketing strategy does; it puts the power of marketing in the hands of excited consumers. Potential consumers are more likely to become actual consumers when a peer encourages them to do so.
The more in touch you are with your audience, the better equipped you’ll be to spotlight your best customers and their personal testimonies.
Advocacy Increases Engagement
People are sharing more on social media than ever before, and one of the best things you can do as a brand is to be an active participant in that social environment. You want your audience to see you as a real group of people who care about their customer’s problems and want to see those problems resolved. There’s no better way to example this than by turning customers into active advocates for your brand.
Once you’ve closed a lead into a customer, your new goal should be to delight that customer by continuing to support them on their ongoing buyer’s journey. Making use of user-generated content marketing is a great way to do this. Customers will be delighted to see themselves at the forefront of your brand’s marketing, and it won’t only encourage them to continue to be customers and advocates, but also encourage other customers to follow suit and become advocates themselves.
When customers feel represented within the companies they support, it eliminates the risk of an “us-versus-them” mentality and replaces it with the comfort and security of a community. UGC, at its core, is about developing a community of people who share common goals, needs, and interests. When you encourage an audience of consumers to share their experiences with your product or service, you’re inviting them into a community that wants to see them flourish.
User-Generated Content Marketing Can Improve Brand Identity
Included in the cycle that a user-generated content strategy kickstarts is an improved sense of your brand’s identity. Handing the marketing torch over to your customers shows that you believe in your product enough to let it speak for itself. It’s basically a changing-of-the-guard, as you allow UGC to take charge of lead generation and release your internal team of employees to really emphasize continued customer satisfaction.
Externally, focusing on encouraging a user-generated content marketing strategy demonstrates to clients and prospects alike that they are a priority for your company. Putting the brunt of your marketing effort into the hands of your customers is an exemplification of trust.
You trust them to take the lead in sharing your product with others, and in turn, they trust you to keep delivering the kinds of quality products they need. It’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits everyone involved. Your company saves money, your customers are given the spotlight, and your prospects get to see you as the thoughtful company you are.
In the end, it’s all about authenticity, and strong, consistent support of your user-generated content marketing is one of the most effective and authentic advertising methods you can possibly invest in.