The best type of content for your content marketing is user generated content. In this article I’m going to go over 7 ideas of how you can get more user-generated content for your marketing project.

The ways in which people look at marketing content keep changing each year. Customers today distrust brands that use pushy and salesy content. They count on brands that use authentic and transparent content marketing strategies.

A study conducted by Stackla’s business scholars revealed that 90% of consumers are likely to buy from brands with authentic marketing content than those that rely on an influencer or brand-driven content.

A related investigation steered by Inc.com found out that 84% of consumers trust recommendations from people who have tried a particular product or service. They distrust marketing content from a brand’s influencers.

Based on these statistics, forward-looking marketers say that focusing on getting more user-generated content would be one of the ideal ways to improve your marketing content’s authenticity and credibility.

Already, prominent organizations like Coca Cola, Apple, Starbucks, Wayfair, Aerie, and many others have been using it to outsmart rivals, as well as win the hearts of customers who crave for authentic marketing information.

User-Generated Content is Vital to Your Content Marketing Success

  1. Consumers trust user-generated content

An infographic from ReeVoo indicates that many consumers trust UGC just the way they trust recommendations from personal networks.

Therefore, spicing up your ordinary brand-driven content with some elements of UGC could help you win the loyalty of millions of consumers with an affinity to follow the advice of their fellow consumers.

  1. User-generated content strengthens SEO

SEO experts from the Search Engine Journal (SEJ) say that UGC can take your brand’s SEO strategy to the next level.

In line with the experts, many businesses can improve their page visits within nine months by basically including a customer review section on their pages.

  1. User-generated content has a higher conversion rate than brand-driven content

Sometimes, even the fanciest content may not deliver the best conversion rates.

Your content might be too salesy to be authentic.

So in that case, spicing it up with UGC testimonials and reviews will deliver an excellent conversion rate since people trust other people more.

  1. User-generated content is cheaper than you think

Ideally, creating relevant brand-driven content is expensive.

You will need enough time to superintend the entire content development and execution process.

Focusing on UGC will save you from almost all these content development process.

Your loyal customers will take the responsibility of writing and posting valuable videos, pictures, posts, and any other content on your behalf.

  1. User-generated content provides valuable marketing insights

Marketing experts from SocialMediaToday say that UGC is a gold mine for vital marketing insights.

For instance, UGC can help you identify what your clients like, their pain points, as well as their buying behavior.

Such insights help you understand your audience, offer products/services that match their unique taste, as well as address the pain points tactically. That way, your business will grow sustainably.

Ideas to Help You Get More User-Generated Content

  1. Understand your customers

Just like in any marketing plan, you should understand the clients you serve before you spark off a campaign to get more UGC. Take time to understand their likes/dislikes, the type of content they want, their purchase patterns, and the social networks they love.

Afterward, use the insights to create products or offer services that can keep clients talking and posting about your brand. Many customers will create UGC naturally, as long as you give them quality products and or services.

Nonetheless, most marketers ignore this crucial step since understanding an audience isn’t a walk in the park. You will need a thoughtful analysis to understand every customer that visits your site buys your product or use your services.

If you find it hard to understand your customers, the following tips will help you out of the situation.

  • Use surveys to collect the specific information you want
  • Identify the segments that make up your customer base
  • Engage with your customers in real-time
  • Get more insights from your site’s analytics
  • Put yourself in your clients’ shoes to understand them better

  1. Use the right social network for your UGC campaign

Successful UGC campaigns are run on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. However, it doesn’t mean that every social platform will work best for your user-generated content strategy.

If you want to get the most out of your UGC strategy, find out and use the social network where most of your prospects spend their time. For instance, if you aim at getting pictures from your users, then it would be imperative to run your campaign on Instagram.

As an alternative, you can use several social platforms if you have established a strong following across all major social media platforms. The multi-platform campaign will help you target a majority of your customers, thereby getting the maximum return on investment from your UGC strategy.

How can you use social media to strengthen your UGC campaign?

Use the right content on the right social network

Marketers from Single Grain say that not all types of content work best on all social media platforms. For instance, the experts argue that Instagram works better for photos and short quotes, while Facebook works better for curated stories and videos.

React to your audience’s grievances proactively

When running your UGC campaign, you are likely to encounter negative feedback from a few customers. While negative feedback can displease you, experts say that they are less harmful to your business’ reputation if you address them tactically.

Establish healthy relationships before you ask your customers to share content

It will seem out of character to start asking your users to share content if you haven’t been addressing customer concerns and engaging them regularly. So, if you want to create UGC without raising suspicion, focus on establishing strong connections with your social media followers first.

  1. Create a buzz on your brand by running a contest

Brand Buzz matters when you are launching your UGC campaign. The buzz will prompt your customers to start creating UGC, share it, as well as tag their friends with an interest in your brand.

While there are a thousand ways to create a buzz, UGC experts recommend running a contest as one of the ideal ways to spark the buzz you need to make your brand go viral on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social network.

Why? Contests increase your following, create more engagement, and they incentivize followers to submit quality UGC. In fact, many leading companies use contests to create buzz on their brands.

For instance, in 2016, Dove launched #BeautyStory, a beauty contest that prompted customers to send a photo of their mom, as well as the lessons they learned from her. In response, customers sent Dove hundreds of pictures with personalized stories.

While running a contest looks like an ideal way to get the user-generated content you want, organizing a successful one can be stressful. Are you finding it hard to start one?

The following are quick tips to help you create a photo, video, and caption contests that will convert:

  • Give a reward to attract more contestants
  • Write the contest’s rules in simple language
  • Use an exciting hook to get your customers on board
  • Add an urgency influence to the contest
  • Make sure that the competition isn’t against the policies of the platform you are using
  • Launch your contest at the appropriate time

  1. Appreciate your customers with rewards

If you want a straightforward way to create UGC, then giving occasional prizes to your customers would be the most appropriate strategy for you. Experts say that a reward or an incentive is an ideal way to ignite unprompted responses throughout your digital marketing strategy.

Unlike contests, rewards can help you generate various types of user-generated content. For instance, some customers can decide to share their appreciation in the form of written reviews/testimonials or visual content.

According to SocialMediaToday, you can use inexpensive rewards to get UGC from your loyal customers. So, you don’t have to reward your customers with hefty cash rewards and or expensive valuables.

Rewarding will not only help you create more UGC, but it will also come along with multiple benefits for your business. It will establish a stronger connection between your brand and clients, promote word-of-mouth referrals, and it will improve customer retention.

  1. Leverage the power of hashtags

Hashtags, when used professionally, can be an excellent tool for creating more user user-generated content. However, marketing experts from SocialMediaToday say that hashtags are best for targeting your audience on Twitter and Instagram.

Therefore, if you intend to use Facebook and other social media platform to create UGC, then hashtags might be less effective.

How exactly can you use hashtags to create UGC? According to SocialMediaToday’s experts, the strategic use of hashtags helps you spread the word that your brand has a promotion or a contest running. You can ask your prospects to share your hashtag for a reward.

For instance, in 2014, Red Bull started the #PutACanOnIt, a hashtag campaign that generated an overwhelming UGC on social media. The energy drink manufacturer asked its consumers to take a photo of a Red Bull can be shared along with their personal stories.

The campaign generated over 10000 branded photos on Twitter and Instagram. The creative campaign won the Shorty Awards. It was among the few 100% organic and user-generated hashtag for the year.

How do you start such an award-winning Hashtag campaign?

  • Create a hashtag that resonates with your followers
  • Make it short and memorable
  • Use branded hashtags to enhance your brand visibility
  • Use your influencers and or loyal fans to execute the hashtags
  • Reinforce the hashtag campaign with rewards

  1. Organize a philanthropic event

Organizing an event is an appropriate way to scale your UGC strategy. Unlike the competitors that hardly support a cause, giving back will show your fans that your company doesn’t just exist to make huge sales. But, it also has the vision to uplift the living standards of the people it serves.

How do you incorporate your UGC plan into your philanthropic event? When giving back, you can ask other participants to share photos, videos, or any other content about the amazing experiences they encountered in your event.

As an alternative, you can start an event-specific hashtag for your giving back event. Again, you can ask your partners, participants, and your followers to use the hashtag whenever they post or share any info about your event.

  1. Solicit for testimonials from customers who buy from you

Statistics posted on strategicfactory.com show that testimonials are a powerful form of UGC. In line with the statistics, 92% of consumers say that they read a brand’s testimonials before they make a purchase.

Also, the statistics show that 80% of customers trust in testimonials just the way they trust recommendations from friends and relatives. Therefore, focusing on getting many authentic testimonials would improve your brand’s conversion rates.

How can you get many testimonials? According to Convince & Convert’s marketing team, you should solicit testimonials at the point of purchase. During that time, customers feel delighted about your brand. They wouldn’t mind writing a positive testimonial about your brand.

I See Me!, a leading seller of kid’s books, has been using this UGC tactic to enhance their social proof. The bookseller encourages its shoppers to write a short testimonial immediately after buying a book. Afterward, the bookseller publishes the testimony on its pages for social proof.

Before you start soliciting for testimonials, focus on delivering high-quality products or high-value goods to win the loyalty of your customers. Otherwise, many of them wouldn’t give you a positive testimony.

Getting the Most out of UGC

Getting more UGC is a creative way to augment the strength of your content marketing plan. It boosts your content’s authenticity, establishes strong customer relations, positions your brand as the industry’s thought leader, and it strengthens your social proof.

Unlike brand driven-content, your customers will take charge of creating and publishing the UGC. It will save you the time and resources you would have spent creating content for your blog and social media accounts.

Therefore, if your brand-driven content has been keeping you lagging behind competitors, put our ideas into use, and start enjoying the benefits of creating more user-generated content for your brand.