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A Simple Guide for Mastering User-Generated Content

blond woman typing.png January 12, 2017 / Ben Beck

Take a good, hard look at your current content marketing strategy. Who is responsible for developing and creating content for your business? Maybe it’s your marketing team, a marketing agency, a freelance content or copywriter, or maybe even YOU. You may find that you and your team struggle to find fresh, unique, and compelling content ideas, or you simply may not have the time for content creation at all.

However, your best sources of content might be right in front of you – in the hands of your customers and even your own employees. With the power, influence, and accessibility of social media, your customers are likely already interacting with your brand and creating content for you, and your employees know your customers and your business best.

Allowing employees to create content or even looking at what your customers are saying about your business is known as user-generated content, and many businesses and brands have yet to discover this little-known fact, nor have they recognized the value behind user-generated content. User-generated content can actually be more effective at driving sales than your own sales team or even the content you write yourself. This is because customers are likely to consider and trust other customers’ experiences and interactions with your brand before making a purchase decision.

In fact, according to a study by Reevoo, 70 percent of consumers pay attention to other customers’ recommendations and reviews above any other piece of professionally written content.

Furthermore, 75 percent of consumers claim that they will share a positive experience with a brand, and 70 percent are more likely to make a purchase decision or continue to work with a brand after a good experience.

Now that you know a little bit more about the value of user-generated content, and the potential opportunities for content from customer interactions that already exist on social media, let’s look at some tips on how exactly you can leverage this content to help further build and develop your brand.

Related: 3 Savvy Ways to Level Up Your Social Selling with Content

User-Generated Content Can Help Build Your Brand (And Here’s How to Make It Happen)

While you are reading this, you are probably thinking about your own business and your own customers, and how you can leverage user-generated content. Here are some tips on how you can do just that.

— Leverage Customer Content 

Customer advocates can often become one of your most valuable content marketing assets. Using customers to provide you with user-generated content for marketing works better than any form of traditional content creation, and it can even go a lot further for brands with smaller marketing budgets. This is also a great way to gather deeper insights on what your customers are saying and even what is important to prospects. Furthermore, these insights and information can help your sales team understand more about your customers and improve their sales tactics.

— Allow Employees to Create Content

Who knows more about your customers than the very people who spend every day working with them? That’s right – your employees. Your employees spend time every day answering customers’ questions, managing their projects, and communicating with them.

As a result, employees can become great sources for quality and diverse user-generated content. Allowing employees to participate in generating content has also proven to improve the quality of sales presentations and communication with customers.

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— Build a Social Media Community

One of the most crucial benefits of user-generated content is it typically sparks customer engagement, but this means that you have to build a solid and effective social media presence and community before you can connect and interact with customers and advocates.

This starts with consistency, but not necessarily content that is all about YOU or your brand; rather, your content should be centered around your customers and community. Your content should be tailored to consumer needs, solutions to their problems, and answers to their questions.

— Create a Social Media Campaign

The average consumer has five social media accounts, and spends almost two hours every day on social media. Most consumers use shared social media hashtags for posting or sharing content on social media. Many brands have created campaigns centered around their audiences on social media, and have used specific hashtags for the campaign. Campaigns can include promotions and contests that encourage customers and consumers to participate by posting pictures, comments, and share their experiences interacting or engaging with a particular brand.

The only caveat here is that your user-generated content should accurately reflect your brand, and your campaigns should appeal to your target audience and buyer persona. The best thing to ask yourself as a marketer, entrepreneur or business owner is: Will a particular piece of content catch others’ attention? Will it push them to take action?

— Measure Performance

So now that you’ve put all that work into creating a campaign or adjusting your content strategy to include more user-generated content, you want to ensure your new strategy is working; therefore, you have to measure it. There are a number of social media analytics tools available today to help you to track your overall engagement with user-generated content across all of your social media platforms and sites.

Not only do you want to measure the response and effectiveness of your content, or which content types are the most popular among your audience, you also want to track conversion rates, engagement levels, and other interactions to determine how user-generated content is converting leads into customers. 

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Is User-Generated Content Really Better than Traditional Content?

Smart marketers know that when consumers engage with their content, they also engage with their brand. User-generated content not only drives more meaningful engagement and interactions with customers as well as an increase in sales, it also leads to a greater ROI than traditional content marketing or advertising.

Competition and user fatigue

The Internet is saturated with content today, which is not only overloading and overwhelming consumers, it’s also becoming a huge challenge for brands to keep up with and even beat the competition. Therefore, content in its traditional form is becoming less effective, and consumers are even showing signs of fatigue. Now, new marketing tactics are taking its place: video marketing is one, user-generated content is the other.

Marketing costs

Generating content can not only be time consuming, but it can also be costly – in both time and money for entrepreneurs and business owners. One time-saving and cost effective solution is leveraging user-generated content.

If you are looking for content ideas, pay attention to your buyers, your audience, and what your customers are doing. What are their questions? What are their product or service success stories? What are they saying about your brand? There are a number of good content ideas right here. Pay attention to social media and be sure to review your blog for comments to get some good content ideas that are directly from the customer.

All in all, the great thing about user-generated content is that it can highlight your brand’s creative side without the need for an expensive videographer or marketing agency. And your brand’s best resources to creating user-generated content are already likely right in front of you: your very own customers and employees.

Free Guide on How employee advocacy boosts content marketing

Ben Beck
January 12, 2017

by Ben Beck