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Leveraging User Generated Content

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Over 15 million people watched the Stranger Things 2 premiere. How did the show get so many fans?

The show’s irrefutably likeable characters and hair-raising storylines had something to do with it.

But, if we look closer, we see how Netflix harnessed its user-generated content (UGC) to amass a following larger than the population of Belgium.

Firstly, it identified Instagram as the platform that generates the company’s highest levels of engagement. Then it reshared fan’s posts to circulate fresh content.

This strategy enabled Netflix to reach a vast audience and raise hype to extreme levels for the show.

And that is a perfect example of user-generated content done right. We explain how this works further and what a good UGC strategy looks like.

User-Generated Content Unwrapped

UGC comes in many forms:

• Pictures• Videos• Testimonials• Reviews• Social media posts• Blog posts

It’s content that has been created by the user and published online. Such users are known as unpaid contributors (aka your biggest fans) – they don’t get paid to promote your offerings, they do this based on their own inclination.

Unsolicited customer engagement in the form of UGC can result in many lucrative benefits.

Get Audiences to Believe in Your Brand

86% of millennials say UGC is a good indicator of brand quality. Why?

It’s word-of-mouth marketing that consolidates a strong following: a business simply can’t generate quality UGC without customers invested in its products, features or services.

This is why consumers value UGC so highly – especially millennials who prefer tangible evidence of a brand’s value to encourage them to make a purchase.

An Extra Supply of Marketing Collateral

With users creating content for you, your in-house writers will have more time to dedicate to other tasks, such as brainstorming ideas or writing long-form articles.

UGC is also a phenomenal way to curtail the costs of producing content.

For example, you can enlist guest writers to create content for you in exchange for exposure. And the more influential they are the more engagement you could gain, further driving sales.

Improve Your SEO Rankings

25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are linked to UGC.

A big reason for this: UGC naturally boosts SEO. Especially when it comes to customer reviews brimming with keywords, backlinks and internal links, this is a lean way to bolster higher search rankings.

You can also use insights from UGC analysis, such as identifying the most used keywords, to improve SEO rankings from content your in-house team produces.

A Clearer Understanding of Your Target Audience

Explore your UGC and you’ll strike gold in the form of audience insights: discover what they find engaging, what’s trending and their biggest pains.

This will help you drive personalisation as you learn what subjects resonate with your audience. The ultimate payoff is an improved bottom line as you push sales forward and generate more leads.

Does the idea of implementing UGC into your marketing strategy get you fired-up? It should do considering all of the juicy benefits above! Next, we reveal how to create an effective UGC strategy.

How to Create a User-Generated Content Strategy

Step One: Define Your Objectives

As with any marketing campaign, you need to decide which objectives you’re going to meet so you can accurately measure success.

Your goal might be to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate more leads
  • Petition for product feedback
  • Advertise a new product or service
  • Advertise a promotion
  • Promote a time-bound campaign

For example, Coca-Cola created a godly UGC strategy to promote its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. It had a clearly defined goal – to supercharge brand engagement and drive sales.

Leveraging personalisation as a key engagement driver, users were able to purchase bottles with their names on them and share them on social media.

The campaign was incredibly successful. Not only were more than 150 million personalised bottles sold but the strategy garnered 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag.

Measuring these social media stats allowed Coca-Cola to accurately assess how successful their campaign was in-line with their strategy objectives.

Step Two: Understand Your Audience

By pinning down users who will generate the content you’ll understand how to grab their attention and drive them into action. Not only do you need to identify their demographics but you should determine what incentive they need to create content.

Perhaps a competition would elicit a big response. You could mimic National Geographic: it built a huge community while simultaneously capturing leads en masse by asking users to submit a photo – via its subscription-only ‘Your Shot’ page – for a chance to win an expedition to Yosemite National Park.

Less extravagant ideas are a special mention on social media channels, early access to a new product or an exclusive discount. Shape your decision around your unique offering and customer base.

Pro Tip: Define the audience who will consume the content too! Understand what they like to see and where they’d normally look for it to ignite engagement.

Step Three: Nailing the Logistics

To help users understand how to submit content and the rules involved, you should create a guide on your website that describes:

  • What you expect in terms of content
  • The mode of submissions
  • Rules and guidelines
  • Any judgement criteria for competitions
  • Your contact details

Pro Tip: Make sure you promote the campaign in advance to create a buzz. You could do this via your website, social media pages, email marketing or product packaging.

Getting consent to promote UGC is also critical. This can be as simple as using a unique hashtag (#) on social media so users explicitly understand that they are sharing content with the brand.

You could also create a widget specifically for content uploads that requires an opt-in for successful submissions.

Or if you want to repurpose content from influencers, you could email them for permission or send them a comment on their blog post.

Step Four: Monitoring Performance

Last but not least, monitoring your campaign’s performance is integral to understanding its effectiveness and boosting your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.

A simple way to do this: measure likes on submissions to understand which types of content your customers enjoy the most. You could also tally submissions week by week or view engagement via analytics.

Take Your Marketing to the Next Level

Take advantage of UGC’s numerous benefits to boost your business in fantastic ways. And for your in-house marketing, check out our blog, 7 Tools To Help You Be a Better Content Marketer, to help you create super-engaging content.