User-generated content (UGC) is content that comes from your customers most typically these days via their chosen social media platform such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog posts, etc. UGC is like gold because it helps you connect with your current customers and prospects in a more personal and relevant way not possible before. UGC can (and should) be used in your marketing to both reinforce brand loyalty while also attracting new prospects. It works!
• Seventy percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)
• Twenty-five percent of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)
UGC works great to build consumer confidence in your brand. It brings a human quality to your product or service that helps build a trust relationship. And, e-mail is the perfect platform since studies show consumers prefer e-mail for marketing communications. And, UGC in your e-mail to prospects is like letting them talk face-to-face to your loyal customers. You can’t beat that.
A word of caution here. One thing I can’t stand is when I see a testimonial, but it’s cloaked in a veil of secrecy. That doesn’t work. Make sure you use at least the first name of the person whose UGC you are using. You may also want to provide a link to their social site. This is the only way your prospects know you are using UGC from real people. That goes a long way.
UGC helps build brand loyalty and sales. Use it strategically to speak to your prospects where they are in the buying cycle. If it’s your first communication with a prospect, consider using several UGC that show the different products or services you offer. Then, as your prospect gets closer to buying, you may choose to use a more in-depth UGC testimonial with a strong call-to-action.
Trends in User-Generated Content
One trend in UGC is to sponsor a contest. Actually, this one works really well to generate UGC! That’s a win-win. Your customers will jump at the opportunity to post UGC for a chance to win something of value to them. Yes, you must offer something that they will actually want. And, be specific about what you want the UGC to contain. Must it picture your product? If so, indicate that.
Another hot trend in UGC is to partner with a charity and encourage your customers and prospects to participate by posting a photo of themselves with the purchase, using the hashtag you’ve promoted that they should use.
UGC has taken off and is here to stay because it is a very effective tool for building a relationship with your customers that also works to drive leads. You can leverage UGC to build trust and demonstrate your brands uniqueness. Using UGC on some of your e-mails will help boost your credibility and sales.