Recent technological advances mean that more people than ever are using voice search tools like Siri for their information needs. As a result, content now has to be optimized for customers, not search engines. What’s more, the number of options available to publish online means that user-generated posts are at an all-time high.
This is great news for your business, because it enables you to provide a service while improving your likelihood of being included in voice searches. Regardless of its form, user-generated content is always the result of an audience member promoting a brand, rather than the brand itself. Although there are a number of ways to encourage this type of user promotion, social media is perhaps the most significant generator.
Social media enables users to easily share content on their own profiles, and many platforms make it simple for customers to post images of the products they’re using. The inclusion of your products in these type of posts is a free and organic form of promotion.
Customer reviews and testimonials are another example of user-generated content. 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchasing decisions. That means displaying reviews and testimonials on your site can be an effective way to influence buyers.
As we’ve hinted at already, including user-generated content on your site can be incredibly beneficial. Let’s look at just three of the ways it can give your promotional efforts a boost.
Putting Your Users First
In the age of voice-search technology, it’s important to turn your focus towards content that’s optimized with the user in mind. Companies have to keep up with the ever-changing interests of their audiences, as attention spans are short. If your site isn’t meeting your target market’s needs, another brand will.
Above all, your audience wants to know that you care about their wants and needs. Studies have found that 64% of Millenials and 53% of Baby Boomers (two key demographics) want more brands to listen to their opinions.
Never forget that your users are vital to the success of your website and company. Featuring their feedback and content is an excellent way to show your appreciation. Including user-generated media in your marketing helps to ensure that your audience feels seen and heard.
An easy method of doing this is reposting some of the messages you are sent on social media. This can mean adding user content to your Stories when using Instagram, or simply retweeting it if you’re using Twitter.
Keep Your Costs Down
Perhaps one of the clearest benefits of user-generated content is the free promotion it offers. Resources and budgets can often be limited, especially for small businesses. So the reduced marketing costs made possible through encouraging this type of content can be very significant.
After all, it can sometimes be cheaper to generate hundreds of pieces of user-created marketing than it is to put together one advertising campaign in-house. With user-generated content, your customers are creating the assets for you, and bringing in their own audiences as well.
Not only will this save you money, it may also increase revenue. One study found that brand engagement increased by an average of 28% when relied on user-generated visuals for promotion. This means that including the content your audience creates on your website could lead to an increased conversion rate.
Build User Trust More Effectively
We all know that marketing exists to sell us something. As a result, many people distrust messages that are clearly the result of marketing campaigns, and consider them to be untruthful. This can result in your efforts being ignored, wasting both your time and money.
Featuring content such as testimonials and user reviews is an excellent way to build user trust, which is a key factor in increasing conversions. In fact, 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded marketing. Additionally, 47% of users trust user-generated content, whereas only 25% will say they trust branded content.
In short, opinions provided by other real users are generally seen as more genuine. Fellow buyers aren’t being paid to be positive, nor do they have something to sell, so they’re more likely to leave an honest review. By understanding that and featuring those reviews and testimonials, you can better prove your worth to website visitors.
How to Encourage User-Generated Content
The benefits outlined above are certainly appealing. In order to actually attain them, however, you’ll first need to get your hands on some user-generated content. Fortunately, there are a number of effective ways to encourage your audience to generate some content:
- Focus your efforts on crafting a strong social media presence. On social platforms, you can prompt followers to share their opinions.
- Try using social media as an incentive. Re-post user-created media, such as images and tags, to your website and social media platforms. You can even run competitions, and offer a prize to those who create the best (or most liked) content.
- Develop some relevant hashtags, and encourage users to attach them to their posts. This will make the content generated by your followers easier to find.
- Ask for reviews and testimonials, either on your website or through email (or both). Then, feature them prominently on your site.
This process may take some time, so it’s important to be patient. The better the relationship you have with your audience, the more content they should generate as a result. It helps to go the extra mile and communicate with them authentically (and often).
In a crowded market, getting your website noticed is more important than ever. Leveraging content generated by your users is an excellent way to do that. Through the strategic use of social media, and by displaying reviews and testimonials on your site, you can let your audience help promote your business.
Do you have any more questions about how to encourage and display user-generated content? Let us know in the comments section below!