The best marketing is often created by consumers. Recommendations from real individuals go such a long way toward promoting a brand’s message because people will often trust satisfied customers before the brand’s claims about itself. User-generated content that showcases the benefits a product or service has delivered can be branded and used in many different ways to sway audiences with the undeniable power of actual reviews.
If you can increase the chances that customers will share their delight in your offerings, you stand to build a considerable supply of user-generated marketing materials with which you can generate leads to more happy customers and more cost-effective UGC to utilize. Here, 13 members of Forbes Agency Council explore some of the best ways to promote content being created by customers and fans of your brand.
1. Tap Into Trends Your Audience Loves
Start off by understanding your target audience and their behavior, and then try tapping into a trend they love, as it will increase your chances of user participation. As an example, the newer generations love TikTok challenges. To maximize exposure, collaborate with influencers to kick your campaign off, give it that human touch and encourage the general audience to adopt it! – Emilie Tabor, IMA – Influencer Marketing Agency
2. Make Your Customers Feel Amazing
Make your customers feel amazing, as they are. Celebrate your customers’ wins on their behalf. As they reach milestones with your product, feature customers on your website, share them on social media and highlight them in your blog. Fresh content plus grateful customers makes for raving customers. – Damon Burton, SEO National
3. Leverage UGC To Build Excitement
User-generated content doesn’t just validate a product; it also builds excitement. Use your loyalists’ excitement about a new product to spark brand interest in net-new customers. For example, rethink the standard sweepstakes. Instead of asking for likes or tags, ask your customers to share why they’re excited about the product and use their answers to launch the product in other places. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo
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4. Include UGC In All Marketing Materials
Leveraging UGC in marketing is a win-win-win. Their company and brand is associated with yours—a winning proposition—and showcasing this on your website and in social media posts, newsletters, press releases, case studies, sales presentations, event prospectus and more is a surefire way to get your message out using your client’s words. – Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations
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5. Ask For Feedback Every Six Months
We ask our clients for feedback every six months. This serves a couple of purposes. It creates space for clients to voice issues that they haven’t in the day-to-day. It also reminds them that we are listening. We also ask if they would recommend us, which both gives us feedback and reminds them to actually recommend us if they said “yes.” – Michael McFadden, eAccountable
6. Ask For Reviews And Testimonials
We actively ask our clients for reviews and testimonials after projects are completed. We have a system that automatically pushes these positive reviews to our website and social media. Feedback that is less than positive we receive directly via email so that we can improve our team and correct any reported issues. Positive comments are well-used in all media outlets, from social to print. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC
7. Set Up Customer Focus Groups
Create focus groups. If you’ve got the money for it, they can be a powerful resource. You can film the focus group. Then, you often end up with hours of real UGC that’s honest and organic, with real people sharing their real opinions. That’s been a highly effective tool for us. – Danny Star, Website Depot
8. Give Away Free Products
Send consumers free items with encouragement to post about them on social channels. Or prompt fans to post UGC with a specific hashtag and brand tag as an entry to win a free product. Bottom line: People love freebies and will go to great lengths for them, so capitalize on that. It can lead to great user-generated visuals and positive product reviews. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures
9. Create An Engaging UGC Contest
A great way to repurpose UGC is to create a contest that engages all of your customers, calling for the best submissions. You can use the existing content to set an example for other potential customer content and add an incentive by offering a worthwhile award, such as a discount, gift card or product. – Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing
10. Share It With Similar Target Users
Sharing the UGC with similar target users through social media platforms is a great approach. Make sure to reward the user who generated the content with a discount or a free product to continue an organic content campaign. – Greg Carney, Freedom United Social
11. Use UGC For Retargeting Ads
The best way to use this type of content is for Facebook and Instagram retargeting ads. Similarly, you can share customer recommendations on your social media platform and also by creating a testimonials page on your website. – Jonas Muthoni, Deviate Agency
12. Add Testimonials To Your Email Signature
Brief customer testimonials can be used as part of email signatures to leave a lasting impression on new prospects as well as existing customers. We also weave results-focused testimonials into our blogs, social posts and marketing and website content to show prospects what we can do. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
13. Make Providing Feedback Easy And Fun
Offer a fun and easy way for customers to provide feedback that gives them the opportunity to shine in the spotlight. Whether in the form of short videos, audio clips or quotes combined with an interesting photo, showcase customers in a way that makes them proud to share it with their network and you proud to share with yours. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member