Are you using your brand fans to boost your marketing impact?
When customers spread the word, their voices hold more weight than advertisements or paid influencers. People are more likely to trust promotions that aren’t sponsored by the brand. However, getting organic content isn’t always a simple process.
This blog will look at how to encourage customers to become brand advocates and create content that promotes your brand.
What are Brand Advocates?
When your audience becomes loyal enough to spread the word, they are a powerful marketing force. Customers who love your products, services and branding can become brand advocates, telling their friends and family about your company.
Brand advocates stick up for your brand when people complain about issues. They promote your brand when the opportunity arises. Brand advocates encourage others to try your brand because they believe in it and want to spread the word. You can encourage loyal customers to become brand advocates and create user-generated content by showing them how much you appreciate their loyalty.
What is User-Generated Content?
One of the most powerful ways to impress your audience is through content created organically through your customer base. User-generated content includes the posts, images and videos that your customers create about your brand, products or services. UGC is unpaid content that is created because your audience feels inspired or wants to join your brand bandwagon.
User-generated content (UGC) can be somewhat of an elusive marketing beast.
Unlike verbal brand advocacy, user-generated content is something more concrete. As great as word-of-mouth advertising is, a post is going to live outside of a lone conversation. Not only can you use the UGC for your own purposes by reposting, but it is also likely to reach a wider audience with visibility in the original poster’s circle of followers.
How to Pump Up Your User-Generated Content
How can you increase and utilize UGC? Here are a few tips for increasing your UGC strategy.
Set UGC Goals
If you don’t know your current rates and set goals for increasing UGC, it will be nearly impossible to really improve your strategy. While audience interaction can be difficult to predict, you can still create specific goals that focus your efforts on encouraging UGC. Setting a strategy with clearly defined goals allows you to test your theories and measure your successes.
Ask for Interaction
CTAs (calls to action) are extremely important in your marketing strategy to spark your audience to perform a desired action. When it comes to UGC, asking your audience to produce content will often go a long way in increasing your outcomes.
There are several different ways to approach UGC:
Create a Trend: If you have an engaged following, you may be able to start a branded trend that encourages content creation from your audience. Trends can be hard to start since it is difficult to predict how one might pick up. To increase the chances of starting a trend, encourage content that is funny, empowering, interesting or creative from your audience and connect it to a memorable hashtag.
Make Specific Requests: Asking for UGC is a good start. You can ask users to post very specific content that supports your other marketing goals. For example, if you are running a campaign for a certain feature, you can ask users to post about how they appreciate that feature as they use your product.
Hold a Contest: Contests with prizes are more likely to increase the number of people participating in UGC. It’s important to note that contest UGC is not going to be as powerful as organically created UGC because the content is being created with the hope of a reward. However, contest content can still give your company great material to repost and can help spread the word about your brand.
Host an Event: Live gatherings with social media selfie stations are an example of how you can encourage UGC with an event. Include a hashtag near the station to encourage users to connect to similar content and interact with other participants’ content from the same event. Live event UGC is something you can encourage at conventions, trade shows, community events and more.
Packaging CTAs: On your packaging, you can include CTAs asking your customers to post content if they like your products. Beautiful packaging that considers the unboxing experience can also increase the likelihood of UGC.
Use Influencers to Lead It
While influencer content doesn’t have the same power as content freely created by your customers, it can help spark a trend. You can hire influencers to create the kind of content you are hoping to inspire your audience to create.
If someone does create an image or video with your product included, you need to ask permission to repost it. ReTweeting or rePinning content is fine, but taking content to post to your own feeds (like an Instagram or Facebook post) should only come after permission is granted. Many users are excited to have their content published on the brand’s feed, but some are not. However, UGC is still valuable to you even if the original poster doesn’t want their content used in your marketing channels.
It may be worth offering to send a free product or small token as a thank you to users that create the kind of content you want to repost. UGC will save you money you normally paid to photographers or influencers for content. Thanking willing participants will also encourage continued loyalty.
If you do post content, make sure you give the original poster credit for the content. Tagging the original poster helps show how authentic the content is. You may feel like a tag could send your audience down a rabbit hole, but it helps encourage the original poster and shows the content came from a real account.
Measure and Adapt
Keep pushing to improve your UGC numbers for a highly engaged crowd of brand advocates. If you want help creating campaigns that encourage UGC or increase your brand reach, contact us today! Vinci Digital has two decades of experience in online marketing and social media outreach. Talk to our team today to find the right strategy for your brand!