User generated content or UGC is a busy buzzword these days. It refers to the content that consumers create about your brand: ratings, reviews, blog posts about products, photos uploaded to brand sites, video testimonials and images uploaded to social platforms, among others.
Your brand likely already has user-generated content streaming in to your website, social platforms and popular review sites. It’s a big deal. Bob Moore of RJMetrics notes that shoppers are “63 percent more likely to purchase a product from a site if it has ratings or reviews. Surprisingly, nearly 20 percent of the top 500 online retailers aren’t (yet) offering ratings and reviews. If the reason is fear of negative feedback, it turns out that bad reviews serve a valuable function as well because they build overall brand credibility.”
Clearly, user generated content is something to embrace and encourage. Check out our three tips for winning at the UGC game.
1. Make It Easy to Contribute
To get UGC, you’ll have to make sure shoppers can add their contribution without a hitch. This means turning on reviews on your website; making sure Facebook users can post to your wall; and displaying your brand’s social icons in prominent places on the company website, blog and email campaigns.
With all of this content streaming in, you’ll have to be on your digital toes. Make sure your brand’s marketing team has a solid workflow for dealing not only with complaints, but also with cool photos from brand advocates. Make sure to thank contributors by liking their contributions, retweeting, reblogging or repinning.
Create community standards and post a link to them in obvious places, such as your social “About” pages and your brand website. That way, if a posted image or video violates your community standards (think nudity or violence), you can remove it quickly with little fuss.
2. Create Campaigns to Encourage UGC
From Urban Outfitters to Ford, great brands are embracing the magic that is UGC. Your digital team can jump into the same game. Request video testimonials from your fans. Ask for photo uploads of favorite products. Let top pinners have access to a special Pinterest board. Make a place on your website where people can shop the most pinned items.
Once your customers have created a lot of UGC, make a point of showcasing it with specially-designed images posted to Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook (giving credit to the user, of course!). Or follow in Chobani’s footsteps and make billboards of user generated tweets.
Another suggestion: try “31 Days of Our Amazing Fans” and post one UGC item each day. Your brand advocates will want to see themselves highlighted in your feed. Other creative ideas to prompt content include video contests, Twitter scavenger hunts and Instagram hashtags (#myfavoritelipstick or #bestnycfroyo).
3. Make Fans Guest Bloggers
This suggestion comes from Jason Boies over at ExactTarget. Broadcast that your brand is welcoming guest contributors to the company blog. Choose from a few excited contributors and brainstorm their posts with them. When the post goes live, chances are, these brand evangelists will share it far and wide. Reward them with some great goodies. You’ll have a fan for life.
Olga is a Senior Manager in Sales and Marketing Operations at Connectivity.