We’ve already touched on how user generated content is more trustworthy than a paid ad, but let’s dive a bit deeper.
What your users have to say about your product has more weight than what your brand says. In fact, 92% of people trust other people, even those they don’t know, more than branded content. For example, if users post about your brand on social media, no matter if it’s positive or negative, that will sway your prospects more than anything your brand posts.
This is why you, as a marketer, want to leverage user generated content. Promote positive statements your users make about your company. If it’s a short social media post, that’s great. If it’s an online review, that’s great, too. If it’s a long-form blog post or video, of course that helps. It could be a short video or social post, or a long blog post.
Again, it doesn’t matter what type of content it is. Often times there is real value in being concise, but there is also value in offering a deeper and more detailed view. You want to get as many eyes on content made by your users that highlight your brand in a positive light.
User generated content is more authentic, and that’s why people like it. There is no agenda attached to user generated content because people who post it aren’t getting paid for it. It’s not an ad or a brand talking about itself. Again, it’s more believable and trustworthy.
In addition to promoting your brand in a way that people have more confidence in, it also increases your brand’s reach and visibility. The followers of people who promote your brand might not have ever heard of your brand before. When they engage with a post, their followers might see it as well, which greatly expands the visibility and reach of the post even further to people who might not follow your brand accounts.
User generated content also presents your products and services as something other people like, which validates them and your brand. When potential customers see people they relate to using your product, they’re more likely to consider using it themselves.
When brands promote user generated content, and interact with the users who created that content, it presents the brand as more open to conversation, which people view as more welcoming.
User generated content is also less expensive than paid ads or branded content. Since this content is crafted by a third-party, you only need to promote it. Encourage people who’ve had a good experience with your products and services to get the message out any way they’re most comfortable.
Once you have a piece of user generated content, you could repurpose it into an advertisement. You can pick a social post, a review, or any type of user generated content that speaks highly of your brand, and turn it into a paid ad campaign for others to see. You want as many people as possible to see how much your customers love your products and services in order to drive interest.
User generated content is a way for people to welcome conversations and engagement from others, and when done consistently, it can help build personal brands.
When people create content for public consumption, it garners an audience, which builds up their digital presence, gaining credibility and valuable following.
Content is a way for someone to share their thoughts, ideas, and insights. It’s an avenue for knowledge sharing and a channel for thought leadership. People appreciate someone sharing their expertise and sharing a story of first hand experience.
Any content put out on social media is a reason for someone to engage with the person who posted it, and people who present content from their own experience are respected for being authentic and trustworthy.
Any piece of user generated content can draw a great amount of engagement as long as it’s presented to the right audience. If you post content about your experience with a product or service, and prospects of that product or service see it, they’re likely to engage with it.
In 2016, user generated content about a brand drove almost 7x more engagement compared posts by brands, according to Mavrck.
This tells us that people can build their own personal brands up through content they create, and that brand can draw a deeper connection to other people than an organization’s brand ever could. Again, people are more relatable and trustworthy to other people than company brands are.
This is why you need to promote content your users put out about you. Your prospects are looking at your digital presence, whether it’s your social media presence, receiving your emails, looking at your website, reading online reviews, etc. If you promote positive user generated content in these places, you are more likely to convert those prospects into buyers.
You’ll also deliver the author of that content a great amount of engagement, which will give them an incentive to create more content about your brand and its offerings.
User generated content is incredibly important in the decision-making process for any business or consumer.
Again, reviews on Google, Yelp, and other websites are incredibly important. That’s why ratings for products and businesses are so visible on Google. The same is true with products on shopping websites such as Amazon.
Ratings and reviews from buyers will always influence the decisions of prospective buyers, whether it’s a consumer or a business. That is why user generated content is so powerful and something all businesses should take advantage of.
Businesses can take advantage of trust and recommendations through influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a tactic marketers use where they hire someone with a large following to promote their products or services.
Influencers post on social media all the time to appease their followers, creating trust in the influencer and fueling the fire of the influencer to post more content. Trust and user generated content are so powerful, that businesses will actually pay influencers a great amount of money to act as a user of their product and say how much they like it.
As we all know, it’s tough to trust influencer marketing. Many influencers don’t actually use the products they promote, and people can recognize when an influencer puts out a social media post or Story that is a paid promotion. It comes off as inauthentic.
User generated content allows you to promote users who have said something positive about your products or services, and who have an authentic voice because they weren’t paid to promote your product. This is more trustworthy than a post by an influencer and far less expensive.
You can’t pay your users to promote your product, but there are a couple of different things you can do.
One of the easiest things you can do is simply search for brand name, the names of your products and services, or types of products you offer, on social media platforms and review websites. This will give you a list of people who mentioned your brand name and allow you to find posts and reviews that place your brand in a positive light.
Below is an example of a Facebook post that doesn’t have any brand names or hashtags in the caption, but describes a product and what it does. You can find this and other posts similar to this through a quick Facebook search.
A way you can not only find, but encourage user generated content about your brand, is through user generated content campaigns. In this case, you’ll ask your users for great user generated content, and offer to promote it in return.
We’ve gone over many examples of what user generated content could look like. Any piece of content published by a customer about a product, service, or brand that puts that organization in a positive light is an example of user generated content and customer advocacy. It could be about a laptop, sneakers, a marketing platform, or anything else people use or consume.
Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of campaigns companies have put together to get more user generated content to promote their brands. You’ll notice that both of these examples are of user generated content and customer advocacy.
A sunglasses company called Knockaround asked its followers to post pictures of themselves wearing their sunglasses on Instagram and include in the caption #KnockFan. Every Friday, the company’s Instagram account reposts one of many images it can choose from, and all participants are entered to win a free pair of sunglasses.
Another great example of a company getting user generated content from customer advocates is Apple’s “Shot On iPhone” campaign.
One of the biggest differentiators between high-end smartphones is the camera. On older iPhone models, users have complained that the camera isn’t always great in dark lighting or when trying to take a picture from a distance.
Instead of Apple just telling its customers that the newer iPhones have better cameras, or showing them pictures the brand put together, Apple decided to get the users to do the talking for them. They did this through its Shot On iPhone campaign. Apple asked iPhone users on social media to post their most impressive iPhone pictures and include in the caption #ShotOnIPhone.
In return, Apple reposts many of these pictures on its social media accounts, but some are even turned into massive billboards on the sides of buildings in major cities. Think about that next time you post a great picture on Instagram.
There are many different types of campaigns you can do around customer advocacy and user generated content, and it works for both B2B and B2C environments. Don’t forget about events either. There are a ton of different types of content former and current attendees can put together about an event you’re going to throw or are currently holding.
We’ve covered a bunch of different ways customers play a big role in user generated content, but your employees can help you in this area in a similar way.
Promoting user generated content is a great way to show off all the positive posts about your brand, but you have to go about it the right way.
If you see content about your brand and you want to use it or repurpose it as your own in ad for example, you have to ask for permission. This isn’t just as a common courtesy. There are legal reasons attached in the form of Digital Rights Management.
The fine print of terms of service agreements on social media platforms can be overwhelming and complex to the point that most people don’t even read them. But to make it simple for you, you’ll want to ask permission before repurposing someone’s content, such as a social post, as your own post or as an ad. After you get their permission, you can post their content as your own, but you need to give them credit in your caption.
Outside of legal ramifications, you’ll want to make sure you run a user generated content campaign properly to avoid confusion from participants. Make sure you are clear on what you’re looking for, and what they might get if they participate. For example, your campaign could ask people to post pictures of your product with a specific hashtag. What you’ll offer in return is that you’ll pick a specific number of posts on a specific date to repurpose. You may even offer a prize. Just be clear on the numbers, dates, and other specifics.
User generated content works well with customer advocacy but it also works well with employee advocacy.
Your employee advocates are people who work in all different departments across your organization and believe in your brand, products, and services. They’re happy to promote your brand on social media, and other areas of the internet such as YouTube, Indeed, Glassdoor, and more.
Incorporating user generated content into your employee advocacy program is a great way to get more content out about your brand that is trustworthy in the eyes of your audience. Again, it’s very similar to what we’ve already covered.
Your employee advocates can write reviews about your company on Indeed and Glassdoor, and post on social media positive messages about your organization and its initiatives. They can share job postings to help with your Human Resources department.
But it’s not just about reviews and making your brand look good. They can also create content about what their area of expertise is, and your employee advocacy program can promote their content. Just like user generated content, employee generated content can be social posts, reviews, blogs, videos, podcasts, and more.
If employees aren’t comfortable creating their own content, you can feature them in your branded content to make your branded content appear more trustworthy. Interview an employee in a video testimonial about your brand, or ask them to discuss their area of expertise, quote them in blogs and ebooks, interview them in podcasts, and more.
As we’ve covered, it’s important to promote user generated content.
If a user says something positive about your products or services, you need to amplify that message so your prospects will see it. GaggleAMP allows you to do just that by having your employees share a post on social media, or engage with a post on any social media platform, YouTube, or even an online poll.
Additionally, people in your employee advocacy program can suggest posts. Maybe they saw a post from a customer that the program’s manager hasn’t seen. Maybe an employee wrote a blog post about your products, services, or their area of expertise that they would like promoted.
Again, employee generated content is great for your brand and is trusted by your users and prospects. It also builds credibility for your brand by highlighting the knowledge of your professionals.
User generated content allows you to spread your message authentically through the voice of your biggest fans. It’s less expensive than running ads or influencer campaigns, and more trustworthy, which means it results in more engagement and better results.