Here’s How You Can Drive ROI with User-Generated Content
We are living in times where people click before they eat, and look at the world through their camera lens. Everyone with a mobile phone and a social media account is a publisher these days. And some are writing about products and brands! This is a form of user-generated content. But, what does this mean for brands?
If leveraged well, this emerging consumer behavior can do wonders for a brand. After all, it doesn’t get better than having consumers talk about your product for free, does it?
Whether you asked for it or not, a consumer out there thought your brand was worthy enough to be spoken about on their social media platform. This makes user-generated content the digital world’s word-of-mouth marketing and a powerful one at that.
Apart from adding to your brand’s credibility and helping you reach a wider audience, user-generated content also influences purchase decisions and is 20% more influential than other media. What’s more, it also poses ROI benefits for your business. How, you may ask?
Here are 6 ways you can drive ROI with user-generated content:
1. Exclusive Campaigns
The easiest way to scope user-generated content is by creating an exclusive campaign around it. The idea is to urge people to share pictures of your brand or product on social media using a specific hashtag.
Such social media activity creates massive awareness without burning a hole in your pocket. It boosts your brand’s visibility on social channels and increases engagement too. And all while building a bank of authentic, user-led posts.
Some brands who have successfully carried out user-generated content campaigns in the past are Starbucks with their #WhiteCupContest, Coca-Cola with #ShareaCoke, and National Geographic with #WanderlustContest.
2. Establish a Hashtag
If you wish to integrate user-generated content into your social marketing strategy and make it an ongoing activity, the first step is to establish a hashtag for it. Having a specific hashtag makes your content easily discoverable and gives it a unique angle. It also lets users post with ease.
While deciding hashtags, make sure they are unique, succinct and reflect your brand’s persona. But don’t go overboard with them! And stick to using a solid hashtag across all of your posts.
Moreover, with Instagram’s latest ‘Follow Hashtag’ feature, brands have all the more reason to jump onto the hashtag frenzy and leverage it to promote user-generated content.
3. Show Them Off
Everyone loves to be mentioned on Instagram – be it brands, influencers or the general public. As a brand who receives user-generated content, it is a good idea to showcase it while giving credit to its producers.
You can choose to re-post in on your page, showcase this content on Instagram Stories or even create an Instagram page dedicated to user content.
By doing so, you are not only acknowledging those who have tagged your brand but are also showcasing them to your other followers who are likely to give more heed to the user-generated content than your branded content. So, the next time you get mentioned or tagged, remember to proudly show it off!
4. Reward Followers
Another way to encourage users to post about your brand is by rewarding users. This trick works because who doesn’t like giveaways and freebies! As such, it is highly recommended for startups and young companies needing to boost their user interactions.
Why not host a weekly or monthly giveaway wherein you give out vouchers or fun prizes to users with the best user-generated content? This can be an ongoing activity which will add to your pool of user-generated content and encourage more followers to participate.
5. Integrate E-commerce Platforms
If you are an e-commerce player, there is a lot you can do with user-generated content to boost page traffic and sales. As per a study conducted, customer reviews were found to increase conversions by 74%, proving that customers rely heavily on reviews and testimonials.
User-generated are nothing short of visual reviews. Now that you have a bank of such useful content, why not put it to some use by linking it to your e-commerce platform. You can link the posts to the respective product pages and let them serve as a review that can show visitors how other customers are using the same product, thereby influencing their purchase decision.
You can also create an online catalogue on your website which can house all user-generated posts.
Before you do this linking exercise, it is a good idea to get permission from the users. Not everyone likes this, and you don’t want to upset anyone. Last but not the least, make sure the content you embed on your website is SEO optimized.
6. Social Media Ads
Have you thought of using all that powerful user-generated content as social media ads? Not only will you be saving time and money by doing this, but you will also be giving potential customers a social proof that can influence their purchase.
Another way to integrate user-generated content for your paid strategy is by leveraging paid formats such as Facebook Carousels and Instagram’s Shoppable Ads. All you need to do is repurpose the user-led posts to suit the format, and you’re sorted!
User-generated content creates ample awareness and adds to your brand’s credibility at very minimal cost. Low cost + high return = great ROI, making it one of the most powerful marketing tools today.
Brands need to understand that just collating user-generated content is not enough. They will only start reaping the benefits once they maximize the power of such content. So, include user-generated content in your online marketing strategy and you are sure to see results because nothing beats authenticity in the marketing world.
Have you established any techniques that you have found to drive user-generated content? I’m sure your fellow readers would be thrilled if you’d share them (or any other thoughts on UGC). Thanks!
You may also want to read: Top 5 Steps to Craft a Blog Content Strategy
Adela Belin is a Social Media professional and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on G+ here, or tweet her @AdelaBelin.
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