There are two things that are key to the success of any business:
First, getting your brand seen.
Second, winning the trust of prospective and existing customers.
Naturally, there are several marketing strategies that can help you do both. But there’s one that can help you do it quickly and cheaply.
If you’ve ever read a thread on Reddit, you’ve engaged with user-generated content (UGC). And if you’ve ever reviewed a product on Amazon, you have created user-generated content.
In simple words, user-generated content includes any form of content that’s created by users outside your company.
But what makes this content so powerful? The fact that it is created by the customers and for the customers. You can advertise to your heart’s content, but in the end, it’s just your word, and not as powerful as the end user’s thoughts.
In addition, ads would be deemed as self-serving, whereas authentic UGC is more altruistic.
In fact, according to a 2021 TINT report, 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by peers more than that created by brands.
Now that we know that UGC marketing really works, let’s look at four tips to make it work for your own B2B business.
Tip #1: Encourage customers to review your product
Did you know that nearly 90% of consumers worldwide look up reviews online before making a purchase?
That makes reviews and testimonials one of the most popular forms of user-generated content.
Because they’re the secret sauce to social proofing your brand – a persuasion principle that powers UGC marketing.
People seek social proof so as to avoid making wrong choices. They use social proof to validate their buying decisions. It’s simply a self-preservation tendency in netizens that B2B brands can exploit to drive sales.
And this explains why customer reviews guide shopping decisions so easily.
So, if you haven’t yet started soliciting reviews from your customers, here are some tips to get you started:
- Get your customers’ email addresses during billing.
- Mention how much you’d appreciate their feedback.
- Take time out to respond to reviews.
- Offer an incentive they can’t resist.
You can then go on to include these reviews on your website. You can even convert them into testimonials and put them out on your social channels.
Here’s an example of how Mangools leverages online reviews to boost credibility:
Image Source: Mangools
As if these benefits weren’t enough, customer reviews can also improve your SEO rankings. Since reviews are likely to contain keywords relevant to your business, it helps Google understand what your business does.
And again, Google wants to offer its users the best experience possible. So, naturally, it will prioritize businesses with high volumes of reviews.
Lastly, remember that things won’t always be rosy. There will be times that you’ll encounter negative reviews. However, responding to those can help you win your customers’ trust. It will prove that you really care about your customers and that you’re committed to improving your product or service.
Tip #2: Make things visual
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the same holds true for UGC marketing.
If you are able to show prospective customers how much people love your brand and your products, you can drive more sales over time.
You probably already have high-quality visuals of your product. While these are important and have their own role to play, they often look hyper-real, and a little too “perfect.” User-generated visuals, on the other hand, look real, and can strongly impact your visitor’s buying decisions.
Starbucks does an excellent job at leveraging visual UGC marketing.
What’s even better?
The brand goes on to share these visuals on its own social channels, accrediting the original creator to win even more user trust.
Image Source: Instagram
Another way to capitalize on the potential of visual UGC is by incentivizing your customers to include photos or videos in their reviews, which not only helps drive sales but also improves your eCommerce user experience.
Image Source: Amazon
In fact, platforms such as Amazon have enabled video reviews too now.
In order to encourage visual UGC, you can even go on to offer recording tips (film in natural light, use a microphone, etc) to your camera-shy customers.
Visual content often embraces a playful approach to storytelling, which makes it much easier to consume. What’s more, such content is avidly shared on social platforms, giving your brand added reach and visibility.
Tip #3: Gamify the experience
Want to generate UGC at scale? Of course, you do.
A good way to do this is by running a social media contest with great prizes up for grabs. Do this right, and you’ll have a sea of UGC pouring in.
And what do you get in return?
Lots of attention and the opportunity to boost B2B sales exponentially.
Gamification not only motivates people to create high-quality content but also goes a long way in building lasting relationships with them.
In return, you can offer special discount codes, free memberships, loyalty points, etc.
GoPro is one brand that has truly harnessed the power of gamification for generating UGC.
The GoPro awards program. This program is constantly coming up with contests that require GoPro fans to create quality content and share it on social media.
Image Source: Instagram
Winners stand the chance to bag camera gear, cash, as well as exposure.
Thanks to GoPro’s fantastic strategy, thousands of GoPro videos and images are shared on social media on a daily basis.
All GoPro had to do?
- Come up with a dedicated hashtag.
- Curate a webpage dedicated to showcasing the best UGC.
- Encourage users to submit their best work.
Now, you may argue that GoPro’s product is such that makes UGC marketing a breeze for the brand. But what’s noteworthy is that there are several other camera retailers in the market. And none of them have managed to realize the brand-building services of their customers to this extent.
Another great way to amp up your UGC marketing strategy is by partnering with an influencer.
These social media celebrities boast a highly engaged following and have a way with their audience. By having them spearhead a contest for your brand, you’ll be able to generate even more UGC.
What’s more, there are several platforms for influencer marketing that can help you zero in on the right influencer for your needs.
Tip #4: Promote UGC across all touchpoints
Your UGC marketing strategy will be incomplete without republishing your audience’s content on your own social channels and website.
Social media platforms can be leveraged for boosting traffic, driving engagement, and generating B2B sales.
Take a look at how Adobe boosts brand credibility by resharing art created by their audience:
Image Source: Instagram
As you can see, the original creator has even left a comment on the post. When done right, reposting UGC can help boost engagement, and expose your brand to a new audience.
Another way to gain from UGC marketing is to incorporate such content into your product pages. After all, this is where visitors make the final decision of whether or not to purchase your product.
Here’s how dog food manufacturer Jinx improves its bottom line by placing customer reviews right beneath the product description and photos:
Image Source: Jinx
Finally, if your brand has a blog, you can include your customers’ posts, success stories, and comments about your products, in the articles.
Even if this doesn’t impact B2B sales directly, it will help you enhance brand awareness.
Ready to grow your business using UGC marketing?
The people that buy from you are often your best brand ambassadors.
And this explains why UGC marketing is one of the most powerful tools for eCommerce stores and other brands alike to grow their business.
If you’re still unsure about how to use UGC marketing, simply start by following the tips mentioned in this article.
Should you have any questions or suggestions, share them in the comments below.
Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company, and a Google Analytics and Google Ads certified professional.
He has scaled an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure income in just two years. He has increased leads by 10X, ranked 5000+ keywords, conversion rate by 2.8X, and traffic to 300K per month using content marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, landing page optimization, sales funnel, and LinkedIn.
He contributes to reputable publications like HubSpot, Adweek, Business 2 Community, HuffPost, TechCrunch, and many more. He leverages his experience to help SaaS businesses, influencers, local businesses, and eCommerce brands grow their traffic, leads, sales, and authority.