In a sea of branded content, it is understandable why customers tend to turn a blind eye to advertisements, banners, and other such branded communication.
In order to capture their attention, brands need to cut through the clutter and present them with something more authentic. This is where user-generated content comes into the picture.
What is all the hype about user-generated content, you wonder?
User-generated content refers to content surrounding a brand, voluntarily posted by another user. Not only does it act as powerful social proof, but it also adds to your brand’s credibility.
By encouraging user-generated content, you let customers market your brand while saving on time and costs – it doesn’t get better than that, does it?
Here are 6 effective ways to boost ROI with user-generated content:
1. Running contests
The easiest way to encourage user-generated content and engage your followers is by hosting a UGC-led contest.
Start with establishing the goal of your contest – which in this case would be to get more user-generated content. After which, you need to chalk out the contest guidelines. Remember to keep it simple because you need to maximize participation.
Decide which platforms you want to run it on and then comes the most important part – promoting the contest. Apart from promoting it on social media, you can also send your customers an email about the contest, run banner ads, do a blog post about it, and even involve influencers to create buzz.
The idea is to create an engaging contest, add to your pool of user-generated content, and build a long-lasting relationship with your fan base in the process.
2. Create an online catalog
Move over perfectly shot product catalogs, it is time to bring in catalogs curated by your dear customers by creating an online catalog, or a microsite devoted to all the user-generated content posted by your customers.
This is a great way to get everything in one place and send out a clear message to potential customers who are browsing your site. As per a study conducted by Bazaarvoice, 86 percent of millennials said that user-generated content is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service. So, why not influence purchase decisions by demonstrating how your loyal customers are using your product?
Take inspiration from Pottery Barn who encourage users to post Pottery Barn products in their home using #mypotterybarn. The best photos are then displayed on their website.
3. Spice up your product pages
User-generated content is considered to be highly valuable testimonials that have the power to impact buying behavior. Did you know that 71% of customers agree that user-generated reviews make them feel more secure in their decision to purchase a particular product over another? That gives businesses enough and more reasons to incorporate user-generated content in their marketing strategy.
Instead of merely reposting UGC on your social platform, why not use it where it can make a greater impact? Link your content to the respective product pages to help boost conversions and sales. That way, you are giving customers more authentic visual proof to compel them to buy your product.
4. Develop UGC-focused blog posts
If you have a blog, you can take inspiration from the user-generated content you receive and weave a blog post around it. For instance, if you are a home brand, you could do a post on “X ways to decorate entryways” and utilize all the user-generated content that demonstrates the same.
Remember to give credit to all those followers whose images you have used by tagging them. Everyone loves a mention on social media and they are likely to share your blog post on their pages as well.
Another way to integrate UGC in blog posts is by asking open-ended questions on your social media channels and do a blog post where you can include the best answers and give people credit.
This is an effective way to showcase user-generated content while imparting value to your readers.
5. Leverage UGC in social media advertising
As a brand, you must have spent a lot of time and money creating those perfect advertisements to run on social media, but how many of those ads have actually led to purchases? As per a study conducted by Facebook, user-generated content drives 6.9 times higher engagement than brand-generated content because people are more likely to find customer-generated content ads more engaging and credible.
Moreover, when it comes to ads, Facebook gives priority to relevant content and user-generated content being the most reliable of the lot is sure to cost you less and give you a greater ROI.
Hence, next time you plan to run an ad, it is a good idea to curate ads with user-generated posts for better visibility and outcomes. You can use Facebook static posts, carousels or even shoppable Instagram ads.
Here’s a look at how Explore Canada promotes Facebook Carousel ads using user-generated content.
6. Take it offline with event marketing
Whether you are hosting a concert, a talk show or an award ceremony, you can take your event marketing to the next level by integrating user-generated content.
Start with establishing a hashtag for the event which can be used across channels. At the event, set the ground and create Instagram-worthy areas or even create a social media wall to encourage guests to post live tweets or take selfies which get automatically uploaded on social media.
This keeps the excitement going and also gives you a lot of marketing content to use for future campaigns.
Lastly, when you plan to use user-generated content on your platforms, it is important to take the necessary permissions from the respective users to avoid being met with legal issues. Even though it is an added layer, it is a critical one.
User-generated content serves to be the most cost-effective and powerful content marketing tool to create brand awareness, encourage sales and spread the good word about your brand, thereby building trust and confidence with your customers. Hence, if you aren’t leveraging it to maximize ROI benefits – it’s time to do so!
Guest author: Adela Belin is a private educator and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers. Feel free to contact Adela on G+.