The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

UGC For Small Businesses

User Generated Content for small businesses, learn, understand, marketing

Small Business

As a small business owner it can be difficult to find the audience that fits your business, and even harder to have a campaign about user-generated content with such a small audience. UGC is an important factor in any business strategy because it engages the users while also givign your business content for free to use as marketing materials. There are a few reasons why UGC is important for any business, even for businesses with a small audience size. User-generated content engages the people you want to reach. Increased engagement, in turn, can result in more conversions. But there are other reasons user-generated content marketing is an effective way of promoting your brand.

The number one way to begin the path to utilizing UGC is to build brand awareness, make people know who you are online and all over social media. Once you build yourself a reputation the fans will come out and you can begin to strategize how to allow them to engage in a way that can be utilized as UGC. Since user-generated content is content created by your customers, most consumers consider it impartial and, therefore, more credible. When a consumer says your brand is excellent, others will tend to take their word for it and won’t hesitate to try your products. User-generated content gives you the social proof you need to bump up your conversion rate.

Content

Content can be found all over the place from users, reviews, social media mentions, and online blogs. Ways to create UGC include, challenges, contests, or other campaigns that will reward them for participating. Hashtag campaigns, photo challenges and other interactive content can be great tactics to increase user engagement and create UGC. Don’t be tempted to fake your user-generated posts or campaign. Audiences will quickly sniff out the false sentiment, which could seriously damage your brand reputation. Instead, always ensure that your UGC comes from one of three cohorts: your customers, brand loyalists, or employees.

UGC gives customers a unique opportunity to participate in a brand’s growth instead of being a spectator. This influences brand loyalty and affinity in a big way because people thrive off being part of something greater than themselves, and creating UGC allows them to be part of a brand’s community.

UGC also opens up conversations between a brand and consumer, and this level of brand interaction helps build and grow an engaged community. Sharing audience content also works to develop and deepen audience/business relationships, driving more brand loyalty. The authenticity of UGC rubs off on your brand as well. When consumers see your content is genuine, it perceives your brand as authentic. Consumers will appreciate your honesty when you show your products as they are. For them, honesty is an important part of running an authentic business, and when they see your products being used by real customers in real life, they are able to gauge your products’ quality more accurately and make informed purchasing decisions.

Starbucks

Highlighting UGC

Different ways to highlight the UGC you recieve include:

  • Website Testimonials
    • Create a client testimonials page. Assemble all of the customer testimonials you’ve received and place them on a single web page. Also create a prominent navigational link or tab pointing to that page on every other page of your site. This will allow your customers to do the selling and convincing for you, and will lend an entirely new level of warmth and authenticity to your brand.
    • Include the customer’s name (with their permission, of course), as well as their company, position, location, age, and/or any other piece of information that they would be willing to share. If at all possible, include a picture as well; this will lend an even more genuine feel to the entire testimonial.
    • Place some of your best testimonials at different decision points on your website. If you’re offering a product or service, add a few testimonial quotes near the product images. If you’re aiming to collect opt-ins for your subscriber list, a few well-placed testimonials near the sign-up form will provide a subtle yet powerful form of affirmation for the user.
    • Don’t limit yourself to just text-based testimonials. Encourage your customers to submit video testimonials, or even photos of how they’re engaging with your brand, and how your product or service has helped them.
  • Writing a blog post
    • Use blog posts as marketing tools. While you might think that blog posts are only relevant for B2C companies, that’s not actually true! In the B2B world, marketers love reading and writing blog content. If your product or brand is featured as an example in round-up content, or as a key tool in a “how-to” blog post, that counts as user-generated content too.
  • Creating case studies
    • Learn about what you consumer wants. Send out a case study to your consumers and find out what they think about your product or company and use the positive responses as testimonials from your case study on your website and social media pages.
  • Reposting on Social Media
    • Ask for permission. If the image you want to regram includes other people in addition to the original poster, get permission from them to repost their image under your brand. You can also choose to crop additional people out of the photo, although you cannot alter the image in other ways.
    • Permission is needed for revenue. Some property, such as certain landmarks and buildings, are also covered under intellectual property rights. Be sure to remove all doubt that you have permission to repost an image. Since your intention is ultimately to gain revenue from regramming, it is especially important for you to cover your legal obligations.
    • Keep a record of permission granted. Once you receive permission, keep a record of it for future use in the event you might need it. Then, you’re free to use any of the following methods to regram the post and reap the benefits of UGC for your brand’s marketing goals.
    • Give the original creator credit. Tag them in the reposted image. This notifies the poster that you’ve regrammed their post. It also lets the repost live in their profile for others to see, including the link back to your brand’s profile. Mention their @ profile name clearly in your caption. This will hyperlink their name, leading users to the creator’s profile, which further builds community on Instagram.

All these are great options to show off the UGC from users to other consumers!

User-generated content marketing is crucial to small business success. When you let your audience create content for you, you boost audience engagement and improve your conversion rate. With user-generated content, you can also raise brand awareness, generate trust, and promote brand authenticity.

If you want to learn more ways to create effective UGC campaigns click here!

Category: Social Media Marketing 101