6 Exceptional Ways To Boost ROI With User Generated Content
By Kamal Jacob
Do you think brands are able to win the trust of customers through their larger-than-life advertisements and self-congratulatory product descriptions written by brands itself?
To a large extent, No! Because, in this digital era, people are more aware than ever of the marketing strategy behind advertisements, banners, and other such branded communication.
In a sea of branded content, where there is a huge trust deficit between brands and customers, brands are in a dire need of unique, trustworthy, and unbiased content about their products.
That’s where the User-Generated Content (UGC) comes into the picture!
Let’s first understand what this User-Generated Content (UGC) is?
As its name implies, UGC refers to content created by the user of a certain brand. The user could be a brand’s customer, client, social follower, consumer, and even site visitor.
With that said, UGC can include just about anything: testimonials on websites, social media posts, product unboxing videos, blog articles, pictures, reviews, comments, blog articles, tweets, Facebook photo and video shares, Instagram stories and many more that comes from the user.
Okay, but what exactly does it mean for brands?
If used well, this emerging consumer behavior has the power to do wonders for a brand and eventually can take your business to the next level with little to no cost. After all, it doesn’t get better than having your customers market for you, does it?
But, most of the above, other important benefits that put UGC at the frontline of the marketing battle is-Authenticity and trust.
Before buying something online, think about what you do? That’s right, as, like many other buyers, you also check the user reviews. It is because nine out of the ten online consumers trust UGC more than they trust traditional advertising. This is the magic of UGC!
Apart from being the epitome of social proof and providing credibility to products through real customer experiences, what’s more, you can expect from UGC?
It also boosts ROI (Return on Investment) for your business.
Let’s dive in to see the 6 exceptional ways to boost ROI with UGC:
1. Running hashtag contests
Had you ever thought, a telephone button will become a social media phenomenon? Yes, I am talking about Hashtags. Over the past few years, internet language has evolved considerably, and Hashtags are a huge part of this evolution.
No wonder we the people are curious. Isn’t it?
UGC Hashtag contests are one of the easiest ways to promote your brand, increase engagement with the customer and ultimately increase sales.
A UGC hashtag contest, different from “tag a friend”, “like”, or “comment to win” contests, is a promotion from a brand that asks its users to post a piece of content, during a set timeframe, on a social network by using a specific hashtag. Of course, all this is in exchange for a chance to win a prize for users.
You can run hashtag contest on any social media platform like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, etc., but you’ll be better off if you focus your efforts on Twitter and Instagram as hashtags are a fundamental part of both these platforms.
A study from Tailwind for Instagram shows that accounts that hold Instagram contests grow their followers by 70% faster than those that don’t.
For example, a contest created with simple hashtag #HalloweanTogetherContest by Petco generated over 1,500 entries from pet owners in 25 days.
2. Humanize your brand
How consumers can see your brand as human if they are looking just at your logo all the time? Letting your consumers see the employees/team members behind the business is one of the most powerful ways to humanize your brand.
Moreover, consumers trust experts and peers rather than logos and leaders. In fact, company experts are trusted 66% of the time.
For example, T-Mobile empowered their employees to inspire conversation about their experiences as insiders of the brand through an employee-generated content campaign named #BeMagenta. The result of this campaign was a 140% increase in Facebook likes and 150%growth in LinkedIn followers.
It shows seeing the amazing people “behind the curtain” help users build a relationship with the brand.
3. Ask questions
Another way to get more UGC and boost ROI is by asking thoughtful questions to the users.
Every marketer loves to talk about their brand rather than listening to their user. But, can you imagine any kind of social engagement with the user if you don’t ask them to engage positively with you?
So, to build social engagement with users and get more UGC;
· Ask plenty of leading but intriguing questions to them
· listen to their answer
· and most importantly keep the conversation going
For example, USA TODAY, an internationally distributed American daily newspaper, understands this and does an excellent job asking engaging questions on Twitter. See the following post that received 27 likes, 14 comments, and 6 retweets within an hour.
4. Offering rewards to your consumers
As said earlier, 9 out of 10 online customers trust content shared by average people rather than traditional advertising or branded content. But is there any way to ignite an organic and spontaneous response from the consumers?
Yes, offering rewards for the things your consumers are already doing can motivate them to do so for your brand.
The best thing about rewards is that they don’t need to be expensive, like contest prizes, rather they can be as simple as reposting a tweet, sharing their experience, photos or featuring their article on your website.
These simple rewards can provide social recognition to the consumers they deserve, will make them feel a part of your brand and at the same time can entice new users to submit new content as well.
BMW’s hashing campaign called #BWMRepost is a perfect example of a UGC strategy done right.
This user-generated content campaign makes BMW the most successful automotive brand on Instagram with having 10 million followers.
5. Support a cause with your customers
Do you want to build an authentic relationship with your customers?
Supporting a cause that is close to your customers’ hearts is the best way to achieve this. Rallying behind a cause not only boosts brand loyalty with existing customers but also attracts new customers as well as gains attention from media outlets.
For example, Warby Parker’s “Buy a pair, give a pair” campaign has played a huge role in making them what they are today. Check this video too!
Your customers already want to make a difference, isn't it? So, by using social campaigns, you can help them reach that goal while building a stronger customer community.
6. Embed UGC to spice up your product pages
71% of the customers agree that user-generated reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product. That’s why UGC is the most valuable testimonials, having the power to influence user buying behavior.
So, instead of just reposting UGC on your social media platforms, you can use it where it can make a greater impact i.e. on your product pages. By embedding UGC on your product pages, you can provide users a more authentic visual proof to take buying decision in your favor.
For example, on their product pages, TIJN eyewear embedded actual posts by people who shared their own pics with TIJN glasses on their Instagram accounts.
Cool and convincing right?
Without a doubt, UGC serves to be the most cost-effective and powerful content marketing tool. It spreads the good word about your brand, boost loyalty with your existing customers, attracts new customers and hence encourages sales. It is the best time to leverage User-Generated Content, to maximize ROI benefits, as today’s savvy consumers know better than to take the brand’s word over other users.
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