Getting your audience to work for you— 6 tips for implementing user-generated content

When consumers are looking for information about a product or service, studies have found that they are highly influenced by feedback provided by other customers.

Consumers like to do their research before choosing a place to eat or where to buy their new flat screen. Ultimately, people trust information that comes from people like themselves. They don’t take advertising at face value and are looking for unbiased information—information that comes from a third party, rather than the brand itself.

User-generated content has been shown to help brands win over consumers and perform better in search. In fact, DM News reported that 78% of consumers say that they trust peer recommendations and 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content.

So, knowing how valuable user-generated content can be, how do you then convince customers to share their testimonials, product reviews, photos and other valuable content with you?

Follow These Best-Practice Tips for Finding (and Implementing) User-Generated Content:

1.) Find out where your customers live online—Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, for example—and ask them to share their photos, testimonials and reviews on those social media channels.

2) Email customers who have recently made a purchase or dined at your establishment and ask them to share their photos and reviews. Be sure to make the process as easy as possible by including links to the desired review site (Google+ and Yelp, for example).

3) Offer incentives to customers to encourage them to share their stories, reviews and photos. Incentives might include profiling a customer story on your store landing page, or offering prizes (such as in a photo contest).

4) Make it easy for customers to share branded content by creating a themed hashtag for them to use on social media channels like Twitter and Instagram. Promote the hashtag online (via email and social media) and in your store. You can also feature your Twitter feed or Instagram photos on your local landing pages.

5) Ask customers to be your models. Encourage them through email and social media and in-store promotions to submit photos of themselves using your product, wearing your apparel, eating your food, or visiting your destination.

6) Make positive reviews go further by reposting customer-generated content (YouTube videos, tweets, Instagram photos, etc.) featuring your brand. For example, if you find a positive review on Twitter, repost it on your store’s local landing page or Facebook account.

Finally, Let Creativity (and Common Sense) Be Your Guide

Of course, there are endless ways to encourage your happy customers to create and share content featuring your brand. This list is just a starting point.

Get creative, connect with your customers one on one, and find out what they love about your brand. How you collect, and share, their content is up to you – but if done well, the results will be well worth it.

 

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