By Stamatina Copulos
User-generated content is a great tool companies can use to broaden their marketing reach. Customers create their own kind of advertisements for a product or service that speaks to audiences not typically sought out by the company itself. Accordingly, we have come up with six tips on how to optimize this strategy.
1. Set Up Goals
It’s important to decide what the end goal of the strategy is. Are you looking to broaden reach? Do you want to make a closer connection to your customers? Can you test new graphics for advertisements by seeing what the public can come up with? As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to understand why you want to use this tool. Before starting, you should also consider whether user-generated content is a good idea for your business.
2. Interact with Customers
The easiest way to get the ball rolling on user-generated content is by making the first move. Go through your social media pages and read comments that customers have left. Do they need help? Do they have a concern? Or, do they just want to praise the product or service? By revealing your company’s humanity, your customers will feel more connected to the brand. You can also tag them in your own posts if you feel inspired by something they did.
3. Work with Customers
If you see that customers are putting out their own content that supports your brand, use them! Repost their content (don’t forget to ask!) and reach out to them for collaboration. The best way to get user-generated content is to just ask for it. So post on your social media asking for photos, videos or testimonials and use them for your own pages. Customers feel a sense of pride when they feel noticed.
4. Stick to Your Brand
Remember, you don’t have to use everything the world puts out there about your product or service. It’s fine, if not preferable, to sift through submissions or posts and weed out the ones that are not on brand. If you feel that the account does not reach the right audience or would not be a good representation of you company, don’t use it! This is YOUR marketing strategy; go forth in the way that is best for your brand, not how your customers want to see it.
5. Be Authentic
Nobody likes a fake person. In the same way, customers don’t like a disingenuous company. Be thankful for the submissions. Hype up accounts that produce content about you. Respond to comments in a voice that sounds authentic and human.
6. Track Your Progress
You never know how well a strategy is working without numbers. Use social media tools such as Sprout or Hootsuite to track how many comments and tags you’re getting across multiple platforms. Additionally, create a content calendar and schedule dates and times for user-generated content. Stay organized. These tools will help you see how far the strategy is bringing you and how often you should be using user-generated content.