In the past years, User-generated Content (UGC) has become an important part of the corporate brand communication. With UGC, user generated posts on social media, companies have the opportunity to involve their customers in their own marketing. This blog post will show you the best ways for a company to engage your customers to participate in marketing campaigns.
To be honest, who doesn’t like to read reviews before buying a product or booking a vacation, because you have more confidence in a product when you see that other customers have also been convinced. Therefore, it is very important to have social proof, if you are a sales organization. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon in which several people assume that the opinion or action of one or more people is correct and therefore they copy it. In the areas of marketing and especially online marketing, this effect occurs regularly when influencers advertise a product with a high number of followers. But even your customers who are already happy with your product can build this social proof. Once this social proof is recorded on the product pages, the conversion rate increases. This means, that social proof is a pictorial representation of written reviews. With this visual representation, the future customers have a much better idea of what the product looks like in real life.
Most of your customers feel flattered when they can participate in a marketing campaign and usually they don’t expect anything in return. Nevertheless, it can be helpful if the company directs its customers in the right direction and directly encourages them to participate. For this you can pursue different strategies:
1. Send Cards with the request to produce UGC
Whether it’s by mail order, at the store checkout, or on social media, ask your customers to take a picture of your product after the purchase and share it with you! This way, you are able to collect lots of UGC which suits your products in a really short time. The most efficient way to do so is to create your own hashtag for your customers to become a community. A great example of this is JUNIQE, a lifestyle brand for curated and affordable art, such as murals and home accessories. The same campaign also works for restaurants, hotels or fashion brands. Most importantly, you should guide your clients and show them exactly what you expect them to do. For the best outcome, your company should use your branded hashtag in its Instagram captions, so that your customers can orientate themselves on your pictures.
2. Share the UGC on your own marketing platforms
Show your customers how much you love their posts by sharing them on your own marketing channels. A great example to implement this, is to create a “social wall” on your website, where you visibly share the UGC with everyone. But don’t forget to ask about the usage rights beforehand. If you want to know more about the topic of rights management, you can download our free whitepaper here. Once you have the rights, you can use the images for all of your marketing channels. This means that you can not only post them on social media or on your website, but also, for example, use them for your offline channels such as magazines or posters.
3. Organize Competitions
A great example of a competition among customers is the restaurant Neni in the HafenCity in Hamburg, Germany. The restaurant actively challenges its visitors with a card on each table to take a photo of the meal or visit and upload it to the social media platform Instagram. To make it easier for the restaurant to find the uploaded posts, the visitors should tag the restaurant in their pictures and additionally use the company's branded hashtag #nenifood. Every week the restaurant chooses the photo that suits them best and gives the publisher a free lunch or dinner at the restaurant. They also publish the photo on their website. This way they encourage their visitors to join the action, which allows them to generate a lot of UGC and also increase their attendance. Of course, the same principle of the competition also works for other brands, if you are giving away vouchers instead of a free meal.
Keep in mind that you should not use your social media channels just to collect UGC. Social networks should be a permanent channel for your brand to quickly engage with different audiences. For example, Instagram allows you to communicate with your customers easily and effortlessly, which promotes customer loyalty. The attention and reach of Instagram etc. should therefore also be used outside of campaigns and promotions of your company permanently.