Brands are always looking for ways to get their customers involved, and user generated content is one of the answers.
If you can make your customers feel more involved in your business and what it stands for, they will be more likely to follow, buy and tell their friends.
Loyalty should always be rewarded, on both sides, and user generated content is a great way of doing just this. Check out the infographic below to see what I mean:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Take advantage of what you've already got
If you've got a business with an established brand, you will need to keep up the momentum to increase publicity and encourage more sales.
And the best people to do this are those who have already bought your products. Your loyal customers. Hopefully they will be satisfied with what they've purchased, will be happily using it to improve their lives, and be willing to sing its praises to others.
These people are your advocates, even though they may not know it. They need to be carefully nurtured to help you promote your brand to a wider audience. You want their audience to also become your audience, but with your customers' permission.
Focus on know, like and trust
Getting your customers to help promote your brand requires you to build a relationship with them. They need to get to know more about you and your business, just as much as you need to get to know more about them.
The process is very much give and take. It involves making each party comfortable with each other, to feel an affinity, and be needed and appreciated. Customers need to understand you have their best interests at heart, and think the product is produced only for them.
No user generated content can be created without trust. Customers need to believe in the brand, want to use it above the competitors' products, and always get excited whenever a new version comes out. In other words, develop a steadfast and unbroken loyalty built from trust.
Get customers to show brand usage
User generated content is produced by your customers. This gives the brand far more authenticity than if it had been created the brand itself. People tend to trust what their peers think and say far more than marketing spiel generated by businesses.
The answer is to get your customers to provide evidence of them using the product. Ask for photographs and videos of your customers using your brand, and publish these on your social profiles. People will love seeing their handiwork and will readily share it with their friends and family.
You may want to incorporate your marketing into the process. So ask whoever those who produce the user generated content to include certain brand hashtags within their conversations. This enables your marketing department to keep tabs on what's happening and monitor how much usage is going on.
Ask for customer opinion about the brand
Now you've got your customers' attention by giving them something exciting to do, you can ask them questions. Extend the process of finding out more about them, such as what inspired them to produce this user generated content and how they created it.
Socially chat with your customers about their photographs and videos showing brand usage. You may think these conversations could educate them about your brand, but usually it will be the company which will doing all the learning. Customers can be very astute and inventive, and are quite willing to divulge new ideas to manufacturers.
Showing customers using various products encourages others to do the same. People respond better to ordinary people's videos and images. They can relate to this much more easily than adverts with perfect models reciting marketing scripts. These have a better sense of reality, which is genuinely attractive to the general public.
Create a user generated content community
80% of potential customers say user generated content has a much higher impact on their purchasing decisions. Therefore your company would certainly benefit from encouraging their existing customers to help produce more of it.
One way would be to create social media contests with incentives to accrue better visual content. This should include clear, usable guidelines showing exactly what is required, such as hashtag usage and other brand regulations. This safeguards both content producers and the businesses benefitting from it.
Set up suitable social media groups and other online communities for interested parties to come together and talk with each other. Here the user generated content can be displayed, discussed and appreciated by an audience which should increase as its popularity grows.
Show the human side of your business
Since your business is now engaging with the general public, it is important they realise they are liaising with a real person. Allocate at least one permanent member of staff to culture the personality of your brand. Give them the possibility to contribute as themselves as well as on behalf of the organisation.
Communication with your business via your brand should be in real-time, just like any social chatting online. You need to have humans, not chatbots or AI, to respond to questions, submissions of user generated content and offers of solutions to solve problems.
This will help increase trust as well as the comfort factor of your customers. They need to understand your organisation isn't scary or aloof. This will make them more willing to participate in talking with you and offering more user generated content.
Learn more about your customers
Astute businesses will analyse user generated content for innovative ideas to make future improvements. They will also see how customers use actually their products, which could result in adaptations to meet demand.
Also socially listen into conversations generated by customers who participate in contributing user generated content. Learn what their problems are to provide solutions. Find out what customers feel about the brand, especially in relation to competitive products.
It can be a real eye-opener if companies are able to listen into discussions from customers to their friends and followers. However, any replies or joining in the conversation should be done tactfully. It's important to keep within the parameters of the participants.
How does your business use user generated content?
There is a wealth of information just ready for the taking, as long as you know where to get it from. Your customers are an excellent source of new ideas, awareness procedures and targeting problems which need to be solved.
Getting their participation on board through user generated content is a great method of communal collaboration. After all, customers are stakeholders just as much as the business owners and workers.
Let us know in the comments below your experiences of user generated content. Please offer ideas, suggestions and tips to brands who have yet to make this leap into the 21st century.