So for brands looking to create more meaningful engagement with customers, user-generated content holds a promising solution.
In fact, comScore found that brand engagement rose by 28 percent when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos. But what exactly does UGC include, and how are brands using it for greater impact?
Creating effective user-generated content
User-generated content seems to be everywhere today – but surprisingly, it has been around for years. We just didn’t have a name for it. For example, “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” created decades ago, leveraged user content to entertain and reach millions of viewers. With social media platforms — such as Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn — you can reach an expanded audience that you might not otherwise.
But here’s the catch: Content is generated by users, so how do we motivate our savvy business customers to participate, create that content, and help us connect at a much higher degree? Here are a few strategies for getting started.
1. Fuel sharing through contests
Some customers willingly share reviews because they are just that excited about your products. But an effective UGC strategy shouldn’t rely on the goodwill of customers alone. Customers need incentives to share their ideas; they need to feel inspired and motivated to take action. Contests are an effective way to reach this goal.
Take, for example, SketchUp, which is 3-D modeling software. The company asked designers to submit ideas for building a radically low-cost house (participants had a budget of only $300) for use in developing countries. The company used social platforms, such as Facebook, to spread the word and share the design ideas.
Think about your target audience — their pain points and their goals. Then create fun and innovative contests that allow them to share their ideas, using your brand as a platform. Publicize the results.
2. Leverage surveys
Customers are interested in trends. They want to understand the answers to important questions such as: What will the future look like in 10 years? What roles will change? And how will this impact my industry? Surveys are effective tools for gathering insights, identifying trends, and sharing the results.
For example, you could distribute a survey via email or social media and ask specific questions about your client’s most pressing concerns. Then you could take the results and compile them in a variety of assets such as eBooks, infographics, or a blog post series. With permission, you can also pull specific quotes from survey results, sharing these valuable nuggets of information through social media or other content marketing efforts. This content is then read and shared by survey participants and their networks.
3. Create B2B communities
Foster UGC by creating a forum that connects users to let them troubleshoot their problems. A side benefit is that you can listen in, uncover new customer pain points, and leverage that information to make improvements.
AmEx’s OPEN forum uses this strategy with great success. The forum allows business owners to share ideas, discuss trends and ask for advice from peers.