User Generated Content: What is it and should you be doing it?
User generated content is any form of media that is created by users of an online system or service, for example blogs, discussion forums, posts, chats and tweets and incorporates, text, images, video and audio.
So how is user generated content going to help your business?
We all know how important it is to add fresh content to our small business websites. However, coming up with that content can sometimes present a challenge and then once you've created it how do you get people to read it? This is where user generated content can help.
People do business with people and If you have an existing, returning customer base the chances are they're happy with your products and services. That could be a potentially huge resource of brand affirming content for you to share and engage with either by blog post content or sharing and engaging with you on your social media channels.
Users and customers also tend to be more interested in hearing from their peers ... some studies have shown that consumers trust user generated content more than all other forms of media. So it's a win ... win.
- Your users create the content for you
- It's more valuable to your existing and potential customers
What's not to love about it? So how do you get started?
1) Invite customers to tell their stories.
This is not a testimonial. Your customers could have an interesting story to tell. It could be personal or it could be how using your products and services has become integral to their business. It could be humorous. Speak to your long term customers and invite them to write an article that could feature on your blog.
2) Ask customers to send you their photos
You probably have one or more social channels that you are already using to promote your business and website. Ask your customers to share their images ... if there is an accompanying story so much the better.
3) Connect with your customers on social media
If they've got a Facebook page ... Like it. Follow them on Twitter. Creating a Twitter list is a very good way of keeping in touch with what's current for your customers and gives you opportunity to interact with them. Instagram is great if you have a visual product.
4) Create a campaign that specifically encourages sharing and contribution
Rather than try and explain this one I'll use an example.
Coca-Cola created the 'Share a Coke' campaign and produced bottles with customers' names on the labels. They then aksed their customers to share the pictures of their personalised coke bottles on various social channels. This campaign was credited with a 2% increase in sales after a decade of falling revenues.
Above all else communicate with your customers via your website, email marketing and social channels. This demonstrates that you care about them and also shows the wider community of potential customers how much more there is to gain from becoming associated with you and your brand.
If you would like some help getting a blog incorporated into your website or even just getting a website set up, please get in touch on 01494 534612.