User generated content (UGC) is a compelling tool generated by consumers and utilized by businesses. Varying from positive product reviews to helpful questions and answers, UGC is a source of beneficial information that sells itself. With the explosion of smartphones, store websites, online sales, and social media product influencers, consumers are enabled to research products and services through appropriately detailed descriptions, ratings, and accurate processes. User generated content allows companies to use these valued means to their corporation’s advantage in increasing overall brand awareness.
In order to make user generated content work for your company’s brand, consider these three suggestions that will increase your brand’s visibility and create a user friendly community for current and future customers.
Use Your Customers’ Voices
Similar to traditional customer testimonials, the power of any review holds immense value to any company. With a heavy percentage of consumers participating in online shopping, the community tends to look out for each other. A customer unsure of whether or not to purchase an item or service will turn to past experience chronicles: the review section. Approximately 88% of consumers trust what other consumers have to say about a product or service: a great experience with optimal shipping, warning that the product runs small or large, or even a manufacturing fault of a product are all things that can be said in consumer reviews. These reviews, ratings, and pictures posted by your customers are all compelling pieces of content that can be leveraged for other marketing efforts. They are all valid contributions that will not only aid in informing future customers but serve as a grading tool for your company, elaborating in great detail how the product stands with consumers. This, in turn, will make your buyers feel valued. The more a customer is exposed to experiences and reviews on a product of their interest, the more likely it is they will purchase and continue to purchase in the future. Additionally, this information can be shared through your website, emails sent to registered customers, and connected social media applications. Using this type of content can lead to brand loyalty, an increase in brand buzz/visibility, and overall trust in the company.
Embrace the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It is key to remember the customer is always right. Customer service is crucial in creating and maintaining positive relationships between consumers and companies. A positive review can be viewed as a win-win: the customer enjoyed the product and the company gained a potential loyal follower. However, sub-optimal experiences occur every day. A negative review of a product or experience can be viewed as a hard loss or a lesson learned. Whether it be a horror story or a dream come true, buyers want to know every possible outcome if they were to purchase your product and whether or not it’s worth giving you their money. Displaying negative reviews, ratings, etc. can be helpful in a few ways. First and foremost, it will show future customers how your company handles the bad along with the good. Additionally, showing that improvements have been made to certain products or services says to your current and future customers, “Hey! We’re here, we’re listening, we value what you have to say.” So in the end, adverse comments and experiences are crucial in improving on your product and service in order to make future experiences for customers favorable.
Employ a Brand Influencer
Jobs can be found through social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Individuals with high follower counts are found to be capable of influencing the masses through charisma and their valued opinion. Recently companies such as Airbnb and Nordstrom have employed brand influencers to not only serve as a form of advertising but also aid in user generated content. The explosion of social media within the last couple years has made influencers the new celebrity endorsements. Smartphones allow for the general population to have networks of people at their fingertips, making influencers relevant and trusted voices for the products and services they’re endorsing. Though they are being payed to use a product or service, these influencers often become engaged with their following and feel the need to be completely transparent with their “fans”. An influencer is only as valid and popular as their fan base which makes it extremely important to identify influencers who have established a strong, trusting relationship with their followers. The authenticity the influencer provides is unique in that they are both a consumer and an advertiser. Influencers can be found through their own established websites like bloggers, on YouTube through their respective channels, and, of course, on their social media accounts. Search for an individual who employs interests and obtains an opinion that aligns with your company’s values and beliefs.
Whether it’s a company fresh off the ground or a thriving business that’s been around for years, user generated content is a means of validation that comes directly from the buyer. Applying these three tips will help market your products or services in a unique, impactful way. If you’re already leveraging user generated content, we’d love to hear how in the comments section!