“Every person holding a smartphone is on your marketing team. Empower them to share visual content about your brand.” - Donna Moritz
User-Generated Content (UGC) is one of the biggest trends to emerge in content marketing in the last few years.
If you can get customers to send in their own content about your brand, it’s like getting a positive review, social proof, and a strong word of mouth recommendation all in one.
People are essentially putting their stamp of approval on your brand, which encourages other people to become customers.
It’s easy to see how B2C businesses can use this style of marketing well. GoPro did it brilliantly with their YouTube contest. They asked ordinary people to take videos of their own action-filled lives and post the content to YouTube using specific hashtags and tagging the official GoPro account on the platform. They received millions of entries, and recognition of the brand skyrocketed.
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In the B2B market, it can be a little bit trickier to build a UGC campaign on social media and other digital content platforms. However, you can still leverage the power of this tactic, and it is definitely worth your while to do so.
According to a survey conducted by Crowdtap, a UGC campaign is 20% more impactful than other online campaigns in persuading millennials to make a purchase. It’s also been shown to be 35% more memorable than other types of campaigns.
That being said, how does a B2B business make use of UGC effectively?
B2B businesses should definitely have a strong presence on social media platforms. According to DataReportal as of July 2021, at least 17 social media platforms have 300 million or more monthly active users, including:
- Facebook - approximately 2.85 billion users
- YouTube - approximately 2.29 billion users
- Instagram - approximately 1.39 billion users
- TikTok - approximately 732 million users
- Snapchat - approximately 514 million users
- Twitter - approximately 397 million users
An established, regularly updated presence on some or all of these platforms is essential for starting conversations and keeping them going. Having your own blog with the comments section turned on is also a great space for online conversations.
The idea is to ask questions, run polls, or start a hashtag or a challenge. Anything that encourages your readers and followers to respond with their input is the goal.
On a platform like Twitter, you can then Retweet the top answers that you think the rest of your followers will gain insight from. You can also publish the results of polls or Q&A threads on all of your platforms – even write a blog post about it. This all shows that you care about what your customers have to say, all the while giving you that stamp of approval the UGC gives a brand.
This may seem simple, but you have to build an online audience that actively engages with your blog and social media profiles to make use of this kind of UGC. This can take time and a little bit of strategic thinking.
You can start by getting your employees to share the content and engage with it. You also need to remember to stay authentic with your brand voice and personal in your interactions with customers.
Have A Space For Reviews
Reviews and testimonials are some of the best and most popular UGC submissions. They show that you are active in the online space and that your customers care enough about what they receive from you to take the time to rate your business. You need to make sure that these reviews and ratings are being used to their full advantage.
There are plenty of ways to collect them from your customers. The simplest way is to ask. You may not get reviews from all your customers, but enough of them should happily take a moment to write something or at least give you a star rating – if you make it easy for them to do so.
Firstly, you should decide where or how you want to collect reviews and stick to one avenue. Google and Facebook have options for you to collect feedback publicly. All you have to do is share a link with your clients via email or social media.
Other options include setting up a survey or online platform that you can quickly email out to customers when a job is finished or a sale is made. You can then choose which reviews to publish or how to publish them.
Once you have your reviews, you should always put them to good use. They should be shown on your website, on your social media, and anywhere else that your customers find you online.
Share Your Mentions
You don’t have to run a specific marketing campaign in order to get great UGC.
If customers are talking about your brand on social media, you should be interacting with them.
Any positive mentions should be shared with your audience as soon as possible, along with a thank you or some form of personalized comment. It’s essential that you acknowledge the customer and attribute the original post correctly.
You should also interact with any negative mentions on social media or online forums. If you can turn a negative situation into a positive one with good customer service, you can win a very loyal customer and show potential customers that you are worth taking notice of. Nothing says you care like publicly sorting out a problem in a professional manner.
Add It To Your Email Marketing
UGC doesn’t have to stick to the platform it was originally created on or shared to. You can take it and repurpose it to any of your marketing channels.
One of the best places to include your UGC is in your email marketing. This is still one of the most effective methods for new lead generation. In fact, according to HubSpot, 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
You can include recent testimonials and reviews in each email or newsletter that you send out. Simply adding them in a section of your newsletter will show other customers or potential new customers that you are worth taking notice of. It’s especially beneficial if you can keep putting in new reviews with each send.
Content marketing is multi-layered, but by harnessing the power of UGC any brand can grow its B2B reach, increase its audience, and guide customers through the sales funnel. It’s an excellent way to forge a meaningful relationship with customers and to show potential customers how real people feel about what you’re selling.