User generated content (UGC) is one of the most powerful tools available to marketers. The challenge is to leverage it to drive business results. The first step is identifying UGC tools, and the more critical next step is to create the strategy that maximizes ROI.
Experimenting with brand content is an excellent way to generate UGC. Content can be in the form of tutorials, recipes, education and more. It can be provided through blog, video or graphics. Surveys and polls can also generate excellent engagement. Once you have a feeling for what your customer responds to, commit to delivering content regularly. Creating a content calendar will help you plan your topics, media distribution, visual support, technology and budget.
UGC explodes when you have meaningful content that your customer values. Be ready to respond and engage with your customer before you start content distribution. It’s critical that you have a plan for each type of interaction, even the negative ones. Most consumers (like most people) simply want their point of view acknowledged. There is tremendous power in listening to an irate customer, validating their concerns and then working to solve the problem together. This builds trust, which is fundamental to long-term brand health.
Great content has value. Once you have determined which content works for your brand, share it. Find partners who are willing to post your content to help you engage with a broader segment of your target audience. Brands with excellent educational content will have no trouble connecting with experts who are looking to shore up their own content. KABRITA USA syndicates nutrition content through paediatricians, naturopaths, bloggers, and suppliers.
Reviews are one of the most powerful forms of UGC. According to Bazaar Voice, purchase increases significantly as reviews grow. Bazaar Voice offers brands a platform to collect authenticated reviews through their own website, and syndicate the reviews to partner websites. This means that the one hundred reviews on your brand site will now appear on partner sites such as walmart.com, costco.com, target.com and many more. For brands who are trying to balance resources across multiple channels and customers this is an excellent way to maximize UGC. Furthermore exceptional reviews can be leveraged in content and advertising.
If you’re not on Amazon you are missing an incredible opportunity to engage consumers through UGC. According to research by PowerReviews 40% of consumers will turn to Amazon reviews before purchasing. This happens whether the consumer intends to buy on Amazon or not. In this case UGC is paramount to conversion through any shopping channel.
UGC has become a mandatory element of any marketing plan. Consumers, and millennials in particular will turn to their online social circle for insight and opinion before buying. It’s the brand’s role to be part of the conversation.
Brand for Benefit helps companies transform their business through trust, purpose, and exceptional marketing.
CEO Carolyn Ansley is an award-winning marketer, entrepreneur and mother who believes using business for good is good business.