User-generated content is a powerful way to build your brand. If this is yet another marketing buzzword you don’t understand, we explain what user-generated content is and why it should be part of your small business marketing strategy.
What is user-generated content?
Unlike influencer marketing that’s usually paid for, user-generated content is created by customers or fans for no compensation. This can be by sharing your content on social media, posting their own pics or videos of your product, or leaving customer reviews on sites like Google or Yelp.
Remember Coca Cola’s #shareacoke campaign that launched in Australia in 2011? When the campaign blew up on social media, 76,000 virtual Coke cans were shared. Facebook traffic increased by mindblowing 870%. On Twitter, there were 170,000 tweets from 160,000 fans and 330 million impressions. It was one of the most successful user-generated campaigns in digital marketing history.
Why user-generated content works
User-generated content works so well because people trust what other customers say about a brand. That’s why 82% of people read reviews before making a decision to buy. It’s called social proof and it can pay off in a big way. According to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to do business with a company.
How small businesses can get more user-generated content
If you don’t know where to start, here are a few ways to initiate user-generated content.
- Be bold and ask customers to follow you. Promote your social media channels on your website and in your advertising campaigns. You can even place signage at your checkout counter prompting customers to follow you on social media.
- To boost followers, run a competition that requires customers to follow your Facebook page or post a tweet with the competition’s hashtag.
- Ask customers for reviews — 76% of consumers will leave a review if asked.
- When content starts to gain traction, keep the momentum going by interacting with your customers’ posts. You can even reshare the most unique customer posts or include them in marketing campaigns.