Brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage their target audience and stand out from the noise. User-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a powerful tool to help businesses achieve these goals and more. By leveraging the creativity and authenticity of their customers, brands can unlock a wealth of benefits, including increased brand trust, enhanced customer engagement, and access to a rich source of fresh, relevant content.
There are many reasons why UGC has become so important for enterprise brands, and it may be the missing ingredient in your cross-channel marketing strategy.
Why UGC campaigns are so powerful
Consumers are increasingly savvy and skeptical of traditional advertising methods. They’re more likely to trust recommendations from friends, family, and other consumers than they are to believe brand content – especially if they sense a sales pitch headed their way.
This is where UGC comes into play.
UGC is any form of content created by consumers, such as reviews, testimonials, photos, and videos, that share positive personal experiences with a brand. It’s more authentic. In fact, 86% of consumers said they trust a brand more when they use UGC because it comes from real people who have had real experiences with your product or service.
UGC can also help you reach new audiences and build relationships with customers. When people see UGC, they’re more likely to connect with your brand on a personal level. They’re also more likely to share UGC with their friends and followers, which can help you reach new audiences and expand your customer base. And the very interactivity required for brands to reach out to consumers to source and use their content should be very positive, helping to cement that relationship.
In addition, UGC can save you time and money since it’s content that you don’t have to create yourself. Creating high-quality content can not only be expensive and time-consuming but, frankly, difficult – especially when many consumers are naturally skeptical of brand content from the outset. By using UGC, you can tap into a wealth of free, highly authentic content to promote your brand.
How to collect UGC
One of the most intimidating (and sometimes misunderstood) aspects of incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy is how to identify, curate, permission, and then activate this content for promoting your brand. Here are a few tips:
Use a platform to find and curate UGC
There are a number of platforms available that can help you find and curate UGC from your customers. Having some sort of tool in place is pretty much essential if your UGC strategy is going to be efficient. The right platform can help you monitor social media for content that’s relevant to your brand, narrow that list to content that meets your standards, get permission from the creators, then use it across all your connected marketing channels.
Run a contest or giveaway
Contests and giveaways are a great way to incentivize customers to create UGC. Offer a prize that your customers will be excited about, such as a gift card, a free product, or a chance to be featured on your website or social media channels.
Incentivize customers with discounts or exclusive access
Offering discounts or exclusive access to your products or services is another great way to incentivize customers to create UGC. For example, you could offer a discount to customers who post a photo of themselves using your product on social media, or you could give customers who sign up for your email list exclusive access to new products or sales.
Promote your UGC campaign on social media
Social media is a great way to promote your UGC campaign and reach new audiences. Share your UGC on your social media channels, and encourage your followers to create and share their own UGC.
Partner with influencers and brand ambassadors
Partnering with influencers and brand ambassadors is a great way to get high-quality UGC that’ll reach a large audience. Influencers and brand ambassadors can help you create UGC that’s authentic, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
Using UGC for personalized cross-channel campaigns
UGC can take your marketing efforts to the next level, and its versatility extends far beyond social media. By segmenting your audience based on their interests and preferences, you can create dynamic, personalized landing pages that are tailored to each individual’s needs. This can significantly increase your chances of converting visitors into customers.
For example, if you sell a variety of products, you could create a landing page for each product category. On each landing page, you could feature UGC that showcases how real customers have used and benefited from your products. This can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers, and make them more likely to purchase from you.
You can also incorporate UGC into your cross-channel marketing campaigns. By including UGC in your email, push, and SMS campaigns, you can make them more relevant and engaging to your subscribers. If you’re using MessageGears for audience segmentation, you can even use the data you have on each customer to only share UGC that’s relevant to their interests or recent purchase/browsing history. This can lead to increased open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
For instance, if you’re sending a campaign about an upcoming holiday sale, you could include a video testimonial from customers who loved some of the on-sale products you want to feature. Different audience segments can get their own version of the message showing UGC for a product that fits with that audience’s previous behavior. You can do this across email, push, and SMS. This can help to generate excitement about the product and encourage subscribers to click through to your website to learn more and make a purchase. It also makes customers feel more understood and that you’re a good steward of their data because you’re using it to send more relevant messages.
By using UGC for personalized cross-channel campaigns, you can create a more engaging and effective marketing experience for your customers. This can lead to increased brand awareness, customer loyalty, and sales.
Using cross-channel campaigns to prompt UGC submissions
Email, push notifications, and SMS messages are all effective channels for prompting UGC submissions. By using them strategically, you can reach a wide audience and encourage customers to share their experiences with your product or service.
When using your email channel to prompt UGC submissions, it’s important to keep your messages personalized and relevant. Try to use whatever you know about the recipient to make the message as relevant to them as possible, and make the subject line reflect the tailored nature of the message so you can get their attention and prompt them to open the email. A clear call to action is key. You can also include a link to a landing page where customers can easily submit their UGC.
In-app and mobile push notifications
In-app and mobile push notifications are a great way to reach customers wherever they are, and tap into an audience that’s likely to be interested in your products since they self-selected by downloading your app. When sending push notifications, be sure to keep your messages brief. Use emojis and images where appropriate to make your message stand out when you make your ask. You can also use push notifications to offer exclusive discounts or access to new products to customers who submit UGC.
SMS messages are another effective way to prompt UGC submissions. When sending SMS messages, be sure to keep them brief and to the point. Use clear and concise language, and avoid using jargon. You can also use SMS messages to offer incentives to customers who submit UGC. It may also pay off to use two-way SMS in these situations, in case the customer has any questions or comments you could respond to in real time.
By using sound cross-channel marketing principles, you can effectively prompt UGC submissions and create more engaging and effective marketing campaigns.
Incorporating UGC campaigns into your strategy
If you’re not already incorporating UGC into your cross-channel marketing strategy – from prompting your brand’s fans to submit it directly, all the way to building campaigns around the best content that people are creating on their own every day on social media – it’s time you start thinking about how best to make it part of your marketing mix.
If you’d like some expert advice or even a demo on how to get started, check out Emplifi to learn more.