When you run a small business, it can seem as though every day is a battle to stand out against the competition. Every day they seem to be snapping at your heels, every day you worry that your loyal repeat customers could be in danger of crossing the road into their open arms. Yet, while this paranoia is understandable, the digital age offers small businesses a number of ways in which they can generate real value for their customers and prospects alike and stand out among even the fiercest competition.
Aside from the efforts you put into training your employees, perfecting your products and services and delivering outstanding customer experience, you can also generate significant value in your brand and increase conversions by a regular stream of User Generated Content.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content refers to any type of content that is created and made available to the public by a consumer of a service or product. It is often generated without a commercial marketing intent. It could be anything from a blog post to a YouTube video, or even a review left on a business’s Facebook page or in a Google My Business company profile. Even selfies count as user-generated content.
User-Generated Content (UGC) could be considered a form of content marketing. Yet, while most content is generated by brands themselves (or outsourced marketing agencies and creatives) UGC is generated by the people who use the brand. These might be social media influencers or simply regular customers.
Different types of User Generated Content
And brands can’t fake authenticity. Instead, they need consumers to develop authenticity for them. The power of consumer-created content is huge. Peer endorsements hold more sway than celebrity endorsements and are ten times more likely to encourage in-store purchases. In this day and age, customers are less interested in advertisements and more interested in peer commentary.
UGC is a broad church and it can refer to numerous different kinds of online copy. These typically include;
- Blog posts
- Social media posts and tweets
- Images via platforms like Instagram
- Youtube videos
- Customer reviews and ratings on sites like Google
There are numerous forms of UGC and an effective strategy leverages as many of them as possible. Ideally, you want to ensure that wherever users look, they find that somebody is saying all the right things about your brand. What’s more, it’s usually easy to curate UGC and transplant snippets of it bodily to your own website or social feeds.
This can involve some effort and coordination. But the potential benefits speak for themselves…
Benefits of User Generated Content:
No matter how much time and effort brands put into creating engaging marketing copy, the truth is that users will always take anything you say about yourself with a pinch of salt. Today’s consumers have seen and heard it all before. They’re extremely savvy when it comes to decoding flashy ad campaigns and see more value in what is being said about you by other consumers.
This is why influencer marketing should be a priority for your brand. Influencers are, after all, just extremely high profile consumers.
Generates value and convenience for the user
When a prospect is in the “research phase” at the top of your sales funnel, they’ll likely want to do their due diligence on your brand to make sure that you can be trusted. This usually involves investigation through several websites and feeds. However, when you snippets of UGC front and center on your homepage, it saves users the digital legwork.
It helps users to feel like they’re genuinely engaging with your brand
Isn’t it frustrating when you’re trying to communicate with brands but you feel like you’re shouting into a void? However, when you generate UGC and brands display and share it, it helps you to feel as though they value you and are proud of the service that they have provided. Even a simple retweet can go a long way towards demonstrating that you’re the kind of brand that lets users’ voices be heard.
It shows you what your target market thinks about you
Mark research should be an ever-present part of your evolution and growth as a company. The great thing about UGC is that it represents a form of market research that takes care of itself and affords you valuable consumer insights.
It even helps your SEO
When users are generating their own content pertaining to your brand, they’ll usually include backlinks to your website. This, in turn, can give you a nice little SEO boost and position you in front of your competitors in search results pages.
Getting UGC right
In order to leverage UGC effectively, you first need to take steps to incentivize it. Decide which platforms are most meaningful to your target market and encourage users to post reviews or other content there. If users aren’t doing this organically, perhaps they might be enticed by a special offer or discount that, say, users can only access when they leave a Google or Facebook review.
Think carefully about where you put UGC on your own website. Putting 5-star ratings on your homepage can be an excellent way to encourage users to click through, while putting images from Instagram on your product pages can show users how other consumers just like them are enjoying your products.
You might also want to have a user review page or customer testimonials page. This makes for a useful resource which you can link to in your social feeds and blog posts.
Now you know a little more about UGC, how will you use it to build value for your brand?
Generating User Reviews With 2 Step Reviews
Gone are the days where you have to sit back and hope that positive feedback piles into your review pages. With 2 Step Reviews, you can generate hundreds of real reviews, fast. This user created content will put your business on a pedestal compared to your competition.
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