What is User Generated Content?
User Generated Content (UGC) is a powerful marketing tool that can help your business bring in new customers with little to no investment. Essentially, your existing customers generate the content for you, particularly for use in social media. And, if all goes smoothly, their content serves as a digital review or testiminial that will work hard for you. In fact, one study suggests that up to 90% of consumers reported that UGC influenced their decision to purchase more than any other form of advertising.
How to Start Utilizing User Generated Content
With a little planning, setting up your business to benefit from UGC is pretty simple. If you don’t already have a social media presence, you’re a little behind schedule. The first step would be to build social media accounts for your business and begin to gain followers. But if you’re already established with one or more of the most popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twtter, Instagram, YouTube and even LinkedIn, you’re ready to get started. Just follow these simple steps.
1) Brainstorm a hashtag that your customers can use to tag your business or a particlar product or service. A hashtag is a pound symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase that relates to your business. Remember, you cannot use numbers, dashes, underscores or spaces. If using multiple words, readability is important, so capitalize the first letter of each word. For example, a hashtag that BarkMark Digital Marketing could use looks like this #BarkLikeABigDog or #PawsitiveResults.
NOTE: Once people start using your hashtag, it’s easy to search in any of these social media platforms for that topic. Simply type #YourHashtag into the search bar. Any post that includes that hashtag will appear in search results.
2) Once you’ve decided on your hashtag, search for it in social media to make sure another company has not already used it. You don’t want to accidentally give your competition free advertising that was intended for your business!
3) Promote the hashtag! Nobody will use it if they don’t know about it. Post often in social media. If you have a brick & mortor store, consider creating signage that promotes your social media and the hashtag. And, obviously, encourage customers to use the hashtag when talking to them in person.
4) Offer your customers an incentive to post using your hashtag. Many of your best customers might help promote your business with your new hashtag out of the goodness of their heart. But most witll not… unless there’s an incentive to do so. That could be as little as 10% off their next purchase. This is one of the least expensive and most powerful forms of social advertising around.
What Does User Generated Content Look Like?
Obviously, your business has a better chance of benefiting from UGC if you already have a large and active group of followers on social media. But if you don’t, this could also be a great way to build your audience. One of my personal favorite brands, Freedom Grooming, takes advantage of UGC by offering existing customers a discount on new blades for their electric head shaver. I see hair-challened people like me posting videos of them using the head shaver with the hashtag #FreedomFam and it was one of the things that made me purchase their product in the first place. Check ’em out!