User-generated content is one of the most powerful ways to generate social proof for your brand. Using your customers as a resource can help you build content that you know your target audience can relate to. User-generated content comes in multiple forms, here’s a breakdown of what user-generated content looks like and different ways to cultivate it for your marketing strategy.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is authentic content generated from your business’s users without being paid. This type of content can come in a variety of different forms including videos, photos, testimonials and blog content. Whatever format used, cultivating user-generated content is the best way to improve your brand’s credibility. Your customers are your best advocates, so showcasing their feedback in a unique way can speak to new customers better than you can as a company.
Customer Case Studies & Testimonials
The first straightforward way to cultivate user-generated content is by featuring your customers in a case study or testimonial content on your website. There are a variety of ways to go about generating this content. One way is to simply ask for feedback during a point in your sales process. Another way is by creating a contest that helps you generate valuable customer feedback in exchange for something. This type of content can be repurposed for different areas of your website. Keep in mind however that if you do offer a prize in exchange for the feedback provided, it needs to be stated on your website. Case studies and testimonials are user-generated content that show real value in what your company does. This will build your brand’s credibility and take the need of self-promotion away from your company.
User-Generated Video Content
One of the most valuable forms of user-generated content in today’s marketing climate is video content. Video content from users is far more powerful that videos from a brand directly. In fact, user-generated content videos on Youtube get 10x as many views as videos created by the actual brand (emarsys). User-generated video content can be used on your website and social media sites to cut through the clutter and make a statement. One of my favorite examples of user-generated video content that I’ve seen this year is a local jewelry shop’s ads. They feature live proposals from their customers that have been captured by a video camera placed inside the engagement ring boxes. The authentic videos are a perfect way to convey the meaning behind the brand, which more people can connect with than just images of their products.
User-Generated Social Media Posts
User-generated content in the form of social media posts is another great way to showcase social proof. Cultivating user-generated content on social media is one of the easiest methods because you can create a hashtag to group together customer content. It’s another area that a contest would work well because you can increase participation for more variety. Once you’ve cultivated social posts through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there are ways to embed those posts, based on hashtags, onto your website. This is a great way to utilize this content for the long term. User-generated content cultivated from social media can be anything from customers reviewing your product or service, or more abstract, like Starbuck’s White Cup contest where users submitted their Starbucks cup design. Just keep in mind that the simpler your contest and hashtag, the easier it will be to get your users to participate.
User-Generated Blog Post Content
Another area you can cultivate user-generated content is through written content. Finding blog content that mentions or reviews your product or service and showcasing that on your website or social media sites is a great way to promote social proof. This long-form user-generated content gives added details that pictures can’t always portray, which can be helpful for promoting more complex aspects of your brand. One thing to keep in mind with this form of content is the credibility of the source. An good example of using user-generated blog post content would be a health product company using a blog post written by a fitness industry influencer who runs a reputable blog with a high following. This type of user-generated content can help you reach your target audience by aligning with customers that they can relate to or look up to.
Overall, user-generated content is one of the best ways to improve your brand’s credibility. It can help you promote a product or service without too much self-promotion. What are some of the ways that your company has cultivated user-generated content? Let us know in the comments!