Having a session where customers are encouraged to enter content, experiences and opinions make your brand much more intimate with your consumers.
User-Generated Content is any type of media – comments, posts, photos, videos – that the user (or the consumer) spontaneously produces for the company. An example of user-generated content might comment at the end of posts and product reviews, made by customers themselves.
Anyone who works with Digital Marketing knows that creating interesting content – one of the main pillars of this methodology – for your target audience is a daily challenge. So why not get help from your own customers to facilitate this process?
The term User-Generated Content became known in the digital environment from 2005, with the popularization of the internet and, consequently, of the dialogue between consumers and brands in the digital world.
Today, the strategy is mostly used by e-commerce stores – if you’ve shopped online, you’ve probably already gone to the product reviews section to check, beforehand, what other shoppers are talking about and check if the purchase is worth it.
User-generated content can be important for many types of businesses, mainly because it doesn’t require a lot of effort from the brand in the creation process. Having a session where customers are encouraged to enter content, experiences and opinions makes your brand much more intimate with your consumers.
The cooler the design of this space, the more comfortable customers will feel. It is interesting to transform this part of the site into a pleasant place to be, without pollution. Creating this sense of community with consumers adds a lot of value to the business and makes your name relate to the subject that permeates what you sell.
When you open this channel, you end up indirectly adding more information about your products, with more consistency and richness of details for the buyer of these items.
And don’t forget, if a customer gives you feedback, incorporate that response into your posts. Thank him in public. This demonstrates how important he is to you.
5 Reasons Your Business Can Leverage User-Generated Content
1. Reliability and credibility
People rely heavily on the experience of other users. If I see an app full of negative reviews, don’t download it. If I see a restaurant full of people complaining, I don’t go there. It’s kind of word-of-mouth.
When producing content for your blog, for example, as close as you can get to your customer, the feeling is not the same as when the content is created by users. The participation of these users creates a feeling of closeness and trust among other potential consumers.
Furthermore, this shows that the brand is self-confident and is not afraid to receive feedback. A tip that generates credibility for the business is to value even negative comments. This demonstrates that you care about listening to opinions and always improving your business.
2. Low investment
Taking advantage of user-generated content does not require an investment in a financial sense. On the contrary, even if the company doesn’t want to, people will produce content about it in two moments – either when the experience is good or when it is disastrous.
The biggest proof of this are the reviews on Google and on Facebook fan pages. Nobody “invests” in this, it is a totally spontaneous interaction, over which the company often has no control. Investment in UGC, in fact, is nothing more than making a good product, having good service and good service.
3. Source of ideas
If your company has limited time or budget to produce content, UGC can help maintain your calendar. Readers’ comments can be sources of input for your materials – several RD blog posts have already been made from public comments, for example.
In addition, it is possible to use the content made by users as a source of texts and testimonials.
4. Help in defining the persona
Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is based on real data about your customers’ behavior and demographics, as well as a creation of their personal stories, motivations, goals, challenges and concerns.
Interacting with your real consumer and paying attention to what they have to say is a good opportunity to improve your knowledge about your persona. This allows you to understand what interests the audience most and can align your content to those interests.
Another tip to help you define your persona is to use The Fantastic Persona Generator tool.
5. Identification with the company
Having a space dedicated to user-generated content helps to build greater identification between company and customer.
Once users start submitting photos, for example, they share it with their friends and end up bringing more awareness of your brand.
But it is important that someone controls this section so that nothing inappropriate is shown.
How to leverage user-generated content in your business?
Reviews and testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are the simplest forms of CGU and you can integrate them into your website or social networks.
In addition to the most common text format, in the case of e-commerce, customers can be encouraged to take photos with the products, so that other interested parties can see them in addition to the official photos.
Another possibility is to offer discounts or coupons to those who evaluate your product.
Here at RD, our customers can rate us through Facebook or Google Meu Negócios reviews.
Questions and answers
Including a FAQ section or discussion forum within your site encourages conversation among users.
In addition to the frequently asked questions answered by the company, a Q&A section from the customers themselves can be used in which they interact by answering each other’s specific doubts – whether the shipment was fast, whether the product numbering corresponds to the size, etc.
An example that we implemented here in RD was the “Ask what you want about Digital Marketing”, an action in which the public was encouraged to send questions about Digital Marketing to be answered by our experts. Afterward, they were compiled and sent to the participants.
You can also use hashtags to encourage the production of user-generated content.
CGU campaigns on Instagram are a good example, as they help to collect material to display in your online store, in the case of e-commerce, in addition to generating “buzz” about your brand.
At the 2015 RD Summit, our annual event on Digital Marketing, we encourage participants to use the hashtag #EuNoRDSummit on social media. Thus, we obtained content and dissemination of the event, in addition to engaging participants.
How to tell Google that links are User-Generated Content
In September 2019, Google announced a change in tagging external links: if until now only tagging Nofollow links was the option for links that weren’t naturally included on pages, we now have other options, including one for User-Generated Content: rel=”ugc”.
For more information, check out Google’s help center, which goes into more detail on how to properly classify links.
Are you already enjoying the content generated by your customers and users? In what way? Let us know below in the comments!