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4 Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content for Explosive Growth

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi

Many well-known brands rely on user-generated content to grow their already successful business.

Have you ever tagged a brand on social media while using one of their products? Most people participate in these events because they genuinely enjoy the company and the value they offer. These social shares are just one type of user-generated content (UGC). 

User-generated content is a term used to describe any unpaid content that consumers publicly post about a specific product or brand. Types of UGC include: 

  • Reviews and testimonials 
  • Blog posts
  • Videos and pictures
  • Social mentions

Some of the biggest companies you can imagine have used these tactics to grow their already successful business. Specifically, Coca-Cola and Netflix managed to see massive gains in brand awareness and social mentions using UGC. For context, Netflix's use of the hashtag "Stranger Things2," which by extension hyped up the audience to submit UGC, resulted in 1 million views in 2 weeks. 

The two most significant benefits to users creating content for you is that they help you build social proof with new customers, and the campaigns are very cheap to run. More social proof means new visitors are likely to trust your brand because word-of-mouth feedback means more than any branded marketing banner. 

Today, our goal is to show you how to leverage the power of UGC to see explosive growth in your sales and brand awareness. 

Encourage consumer reviews.

Product reviews are a great way to get more people interested in your brand. These tools can help you build social proof on your website, as well as popular review sites. When consumers are shopping around, they look for products and services that have reviews. Think about it, would you personally feel comfortable buying something from an online store if there wasn’t a single review? 

You can turn more visitors into customers if you allow reviews on individual products. If someone is coming to your online store for one thing they likely want to see what kind of experiences others have had with that item. Allowing for individual reviews on your products means that you can find ways to improve your marketing or overall design. 

There are a couple of ways you can encourage users to leave reviews. We suggest sending out emails to new customers a week after receiving their orders and asking them for feedback. You want to wait long enough for them to enjoy the product, but not long enough that they forget the name of your company. You can also encourage users on your product pages to leave their feedback on social media for others to see. Both of these strategies result in more UGC for your brand. 

If you need more proof that reviews can help your business grow, consider this: online reviews on product pages can skyrocket conversions by 270%

Look for opportunities to ask for visual content. 

Visual content is another excellent source of UGC. People like watching videos and looking at pictures more than ever before. There's a good reason that posts with visual elements tend to see 94% more views when compared to content that only features walls of text. 

The best part about this type of content is that consumers are happy to make it. Think about when Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was going strong in 2019. The brand created personalized bottles and cans, then encouraged users to find their name and take a creative picture or video showing how they, well, share a Coke. 

As a result of this campaign, Coca-Cola received over 500,000 submissions from users around the world. But that's not even the most exciting part. Their Facebook following grew by a mind-blowing 25 million people during 2019 alone. 

The best way to ask for visual content is to look for fun and exciting opportunities for customers to record themselves using something from your online store. Think about how people use your products and services and how you can connect that back to your target audience and make the experience personal. 

Brands that use relevant marketing to inspire more visual UGC content see 28% more conversions, making this one strategy you can’t afford to miss. 

Create a unifying group or hashtag.

One of the things that bring people together on social media is talking to other like-minded individuals. Depending on the platforms you use, there are several options you have at your disposal. Facebook groups are a great place to build a community of people that are interested in your industry and want to stay connected to your brand. 

On websites like Instagram and Twitter, you can benefit from creating unique hashtags that your customers can use when posting user-generated content. Not only does this tip make social listening a breeze, but it also allows people to meet and talk due to the group or hashtag connection. 

Over 3.81 billion people use social media, so it's not hard to imagine how using a way to group your customers together can help you dramatically increase sales and brand awareness. The key is to find your target audience and show them the group so they can start posting relevant content. 

When you bring people together, you'll start to see more people following your brand page, visiting your website, and hopefully buying your products. UGC in these groups is the thread that keeps everyone engaged with your company. 

Connect with influencers.

You can use the power of social media and influencers to find some genuinely breathtaking UGC. Social media influencers are internet personalities that have a medium to large following. The people who follow these influencers look to them for advice and purchasing decisions. 

If one of these high-profile figures review your product or service, make sure you share the review on your main page. You want people to see this content created by someone else that speaks highly of your brand and service. 

Some businesses pay influencers money for their reviews, which makes sense. But you don't have to directly pay many of these people to review your product. Some people are willing to take a look at your product or service for a review copy. 

Find people interested in your industry, and ask if they are willing to create a short video review in exchange for your product for free. This will ensure that the influencers give an honest review because they are not financially benefiting from misleading their users. 

We know that this strategy works for businesses because of social media platforms like Instagram. Over 130 million people click on Instagram shopping posts every month, and this figure includes influencer reviews and promotions. 

When you have someone who is legitimately interested in your product, create a video review, there's a good chance that some of their subscribers will visit your site, which means more exposure and traffic, at the very least. 

Over half of the global population uses the internet to talk to friends, shop, and check out businesses. If you want to truly see your company thrive, make sure you're finding ways to add user-generated content to your site. 

Let new visitors know that customers shopped with your company and enjoyed their experience by showcasing your top reviews, videos, and fan-made images. Use reviews on your website, social media feedback, and campaigns that ask for UGC, and you’ll see a steady increase in traffic, sales, and signups. 

 

Image Credit: grinvalds/Getty Images
Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi,
business.com Writer
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Hello, I'm Syed Balkhi, a 27 year old award-winning entrepreneur with a strong 8 figure online business. I was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by the United Nations. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. At age 12, my family immigrated to the United States. Ever since I can remember, I have been extremely competitive which makes me hustle at everything that I do.