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Boost Your Marketing with User-Generated Content

Anode-User-Generated-Content-TweetEverywhere you look someone is declaring “content is king”! However, creating all that content on a regular basis can be difficult. User-generated content (UGC) can help create content and provide numerous other benefits. UCG capitalizes on people’s desire to express themselves, connect with like-minded people and earn rewards from brands they love. That content can then be repurposed in many ways for your campaigns.

So What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content takes many forms including reviews, social media posts, blogging, contest photos and question-and-answer forums. This content can be on a third-party site or directly on a site you control. Basically, whenever someone is talking about your brand online, they are creating UGC.

Why Brands Need User-Generated Content

Obviously, you need the content. But what else can UGC provide?

  • Greater understanding of target audience – What people say can help you better understand their needs and concerns and anticipate future desires.
  • Increased engagement – UGC allows you to deepen your engagement and connection with consumers by creating a two-way dialogue.
  • Trusted content – An Nielson report states that 84% of consumers trust earned content more than any other form of advertising. The greater the trust people place in content, the greater its influence.
  • Stronger community – As consumers interact with each other, a community builds around your brand. The community members can then act as your brand ambassadors.
  • Greater website traffic – UGC can drive more traffic to your website or microsite as people gain greater awareness.
  • Increased time of site – If the content is on your site, people will spend more time on your site and possibly convert.
  • SEO benefits – The more content you have the more content can be indexed. Also, UGC will naturally contain the keywords people are using most.
  • Greater customer satisfaction – Setting up forums and community boards increases the likelihood that consumers will quickly find the specific answer they need.

How to Use User-Generated Content

UGC can be quite fragmented and spread across so many outlets. However, brands can influence consumers to generate it using multiple techniques.

Share content posted on social media
If you have fans posting pictures or videos of themselves using and enjoying your products and services, share it on your social media accounts with a link back to your site if possible.

Incorporate UGC into your contests or giveaways
An easy way to gain UGC is to make it part of a contest or giveaway. Require people to post videos, pictures or specific text with a unique hashtag. With permission, that content can then be repurposed.

Crowdsource ideas for your next campaign using social media
Marketing campaigns can be expensive, and sometimes your ideas get stale (think: car commercials). Ask your fans to submit ideas, and use the best one(s) as your next campaign. You can also test ideas this way. For example, you could directly use the idea or turn, say, a collection of videos into a commercial.

Feature UGC on your website
With the creator’s permission, include UGC on your website. This content could be a collection of the best entries in a contest or a featured consumer or content. The extra love shown will only increase brand loyalty. Also, the content on your site will be viewed as more authentic and genuine.

Incorporate UGC into your traditional marketing
With the creator’s permission, you could incorporate visuals and text into your marketing campaigns. This content could be requested as part of a contest, testimonials or reviews. Repurposing UGC will increase its lifespan.

Integrate user-generated content into your marketing strategy is easy and affordable and provides a constant stream of fresh content that enhances your efforts. Tap into this powerful form of content and leverage it to influence today’s consumer. Start with something simple like a contest. Done right you will reap the benefits of sales driven by consumer created content.

About Jennifer Nash

Jennifer Nash is the owner and president of Living Business, a consulting business that focuses on the intersection of strategy, marketing and operations.