Wouldn’t it be great if every satisfied customer you served posted a positive review of your business online? Wouldn’t it be even better if those customers tagged you in their social posts with images or stories about how they’ve used their product in their lives? Though it’s not likely that you can receive this kind of brand loyalty and dedication from every customer, you can effectively tap into the world of user generated content, which allows your customers to become brand ambassadors who will offer more value to your campaign than the average social post or share.

User generated content can take many forms—it’s simply organic promotion of your brand from your actual customers. This might mean a picture of someone using your product, video reviews from customers or even notable YouTube celebrities, or entries from a photo or storytelling contest hosted by your company. Whatever form user generated content takes, it should be supported with a well-rounded content strategy in your marketing campaign as well as sound customer relationships that encourage positive feedback.

What makes user generated content effective?

Yelp reviews and written testimonials can be helpful in swaying potential customers, but user generated content goes a step further in convincing people of the quality of your brand. In fact, 86% of Millennials say that user generated content is a good indicator of the quality of a product, service, or brand. Any marketer knows that this client base is perhaps the most elusive and difficult to predict in purchasing behavior, so user generated content may go a long way in appealing to this unique audience of young adults. Millennials may also be more likely to post user generated content, which can have the following perks:

  • Trustworthy testimonials – User generated content may have a certain roughness to it. Videos aren’t professional quality, and photos may be a little blurry or not quite framed in the most flattering light. These rough edges add a sense of genuineness that showcases a connection between customers and a brand to the point where customers are willing to dedicate time and effort to sharing their stories.
  • Low-cost lead nurturing – It can be difficult to isolate the costs of user generated content, because so much of the production process occurs with other elements of your marketing campaign. Still, because most of the work in content production actually comes from the customers, and content is so effective in attracting new clients, you can consider user generated content a means of low-cost lead nurturing that is worth pursuing.
How do you get user generated content?

Now that you know some of the benefits of user generated content, you might be wondering how to get it started for your business. Though the idea is to get people to post content on your site and social pages, you will need to create opportunities for this to happen. Here’s how:

  • Build a consistent, likable brand image. Brand awareness is at the heart of user generated content, so you need to have a clear, consistent message about what your brand is. As you build the images, colors, and designs that will become synonymous with your brand, think about the types of emotions you want to elicit in people when they interact with your marketing materials. The same emotions should trigger customers to produce their own content, so be sure that your message lines up with the theme of your brand for any campaign that focuses on user generated content.
  • Stay active on social. It’s not a strict rule that social media is necessary for user generated content, but it can certainly help the process. To effectively promote user generated content, you should not only post regularly to your pages, but you should also pay attention to posts that tag your business or use your unique hashtags. By responding to a post wherein someone mentions your brand, you have just forged a lifelong relationship with your brand that can yield further returns with future content opportunities.
  • Utilize contests and giveaways. Along with social posts that may emerge from everyday brand engagement, you might encourage users to post content with specific contests and getaways. These may be simple weekly drawings to select an individual for a photo entry with rewards like gift certificates, or they may be much larger-scale contests with winners featured in national ad campaigns.
How do you mitigate user generated content risks?

User generated content is not all perks. There are some potential downsides to consider, including the potential for damaging posts connected to your brand as well as joke entries that might gain more traction than serious ones. Though it is impossible to predict any and all potentially disastrous posts that might occur with user generated content, you should stay prepared with strategies to handle potential negative responses. You can also focus your campaign toward more vetted customers, targeting only the most loyal of your social media followers.

It can take some extra hands to produce all the content you need for a successful marketing strategy, which is why Pennington Creative is ready to jump in with a variety of content services. To learn more about what our team has to offer as a partner to your brand, connect with us on our website.

About the Author

Marissa - Digital Marketing Manager, Account Services
Marissa Storrs

Digital Marketing Manager, Client Engagement