But how do we give consumers this? How do we get consumers to talk about your brand? It’s actually quite simple; have a look at user-generated content. An easy way to explain UGC is; you take your most loyal customers and turn them into your content producers. So basically, they create content for you.
All you have to do is work it into your marketing strategy, create a campaign and get your consumers to generate the content for you. What’s even better, is that you can attract more brand followers and you can increase customer loyalty. But how do you get started? How do you inspire users to generate your content?
We prepared 10 tips for you!
Spark up a conversation
Firstly, you need to start talking to your customers more. Post more on social media. Answers your customers’ questions or ask them questions. Build a relationship with them. Don’t let them think of you as just a brand, let them think of you as a friend. Just remember, there should be a strategy behind your posting. Don’t just post the very first thought that pops into your head.
Don’t ask your customers what the square root of Pi is (some of you might actually know the answer, but that is besides the point).
In other words, don’t make your already loyal customers jump through endless loops just to share their content or thoughts with you. Choose one platform to get the ball rolling. Look at Coke’s ‘share a coke’ campaign. They created an actual website where users could look through a list of names and share a virtual coke with their friends. You could also submit your name and go look for it on a bottle in stores. You can even design your own customised bottle. They turned a simple act of drinking a refreshing drink into an amazing, engaging experience.
Look in your back pocket
If one of your loyal customer or clients send you a review, question or success story, why not share it with your other customers? Get the ball rolling and encourage your other followers to share their thoughts.
If you don’t ask you will never know
Don’t be shy to ask your customers or clients a question or two. In fact they will love it. Just don’t make it too obvious that you want them to create your content, because you don’t have a back-up plan. Make it so irresistible that they think they came up with the idea.
Look at Starbucks for example. Starbucks created a social media campaign called the #WhiteCupContest. Followers were asked to turn their cups into works of art and share it online. But the unbelievable thing is, they received over 4000 entries in 3 weeks. Of course a prize was involved.
Which brings me to my 5th point, a little incentive can go a long way
Who doesn’t love winning something? If you ask your customers or clients to share their thoughts or creative ideas, why not repay them with a nice reward. Thank them for being a part of your brand. Look at the ‘share a coke’ campaign again. What is better than coke bottles with your name on it? It makes you feel special and it definitely builds brand loyalty.
Make your brand loyalists the hero of your product or service
Put aside your stock photos for a while and use your customers as the heroes of your marketing. Whether you are creating a video or posting an ad, use what is right in front of you; real life people that uses your product/services, that your customer or clients can relate to.
For example, GoPro does this really well. It started with the just a few user videos to inspire, but they already have over 6000 videos made by users on their YouTube channel. These videos contain real-life people and their adventures. They still receive videos every day.
Start small and reap the benefits later
If you are still very new to the concept of user-generated content, don’t immediately jump in with both feet. Start with one platform whether it be a microsite, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform. We suggest you start off with a social media platform as you have already build a following (if not, build one first).
For example, create a blog and start posting about your product, services and news. Follow this up with a Twitter and Facebook account where you start engaging more with your customers. Once you have a following, start creating user-generated campaigns.
Don’t leave your customers hanging
Okay, so you have gone through all the trouble of getting your followers to share their videos, pictures, creative ideas and so forth. So why would you not follow up? Keep your customers/clients hooked with more ideas.
For example, Target in America promised to donate $500 million to education with a cool college acceptance letter campaign. They asked their customers to film themselves while they are opening the letters and share it online. They followed that up with an announcement that the best videos will be used in their new commercial. Chobani, a Greek yogurt company, also created a really cool campaign. They asked their loyal customers to share videos of themselves praising the yogurt. It increased customer engagement instantly. They also shared the videos on their website, other advertising mediums and billboards.
The key is originality
Step out of your comfort zone and create an idea that is truly irresistible. Think outside the box. Your idea does not necessarily have to be massive, but it should be smart. Put yourself in your customer’s or client’s shoes and think what they would like or enjoy. Also, choose your platforms wisely. User-generated content can be blog comments, videos, Facebook comments, reviews, testimonials, user videos or stories, podcasts, forums, Instagram user images etc. The opportunities are endless.
Track EVERYTHING you do
Okay, so we are changing the face of digital marketing, but let’s not entirely reinvent the wheel. UGC is exciting and gets your blood pumping, but we still need to fall back on ONE great marketing wizard, tracking. Track everything you do though analytics. Find out what is working and what’s not. Use this knowledge to better your next ideas and create even more engaging UGC ideas.
Do you feel inspired yet? Are you ready to embrace the new rules of digital marketing? User-Generated Content is changing the way we think and do marketing. It will propel the relationship between brands and their customers/clients to new heights. I can’t wait to see what the results are. Can you?