Creating quality branded content is obviously one of the most effective components of your digital marketing strategy. If you create relevant content for your website pages and other content distribution platforms, it can generate more traffic to your site and increase conversion rate. Effective content creation helps you to earn qualified traffic from organic search, ads clicks and backlinks. Besides, websites like Keyword, offer keyword research and SEO tracking tools to improve your content.
However, with so much information at their disposal, consumers find overly branded content unreliable as it can be both exaggerated and incorrect to entice potential buyers. To avoid these frustrations, today’s shoppers look for genuine sources of content to get unbiased insights that can influence their purchasing decision. Consequently, consumers are more likely to trust and respond to content generated by other customers than one created by the brand itself. Additionally, creating quality content is a big challenge for many companies, as the process can be very expensive and time-consuming. In this guide, we will discuss how you can leverage user-generated content to enhance brand authenticity.
What is Customer Generated Content and Why does it Matter?
Customer Generated Content (CGC) is simply any type of content including text, images, videos and audios related to a brand, voluntarily created by its followers, fans and customers. CGC can be in the form of wikis, product reviews, social networks’ comments and posts, ratings and online surveys among others. With the growth of social media networks, CGC constitutes much of the content available to shoppers as people have a variety of platforms to share their experiences they have had with a product or brand. Further, customers are compelled to share their genuine opinion about a brand to help a potential customer make the right decision. This makes CGC one of the most influential and affordable tools for growing authentic brand presence online.
Benefits of Customer Generated Content
- Promotes brand authenticity: CGC offers unbiased information about your companies’ solutions, boosting your brand credibility and at the same time saving you resources. According to statistics published by CrowdRiff, nearly 90% of consumers trust recommendations and reviews from relatives and friends, who have had an experience with the product or service of interest.Further, a different survey by Social Media Today reveals that the majority of consumers, over 60%, find user-generated content more authentic than brand generated content. With millions of posts, videos and photos shared across various social networks, consumers are more likely to view CGC than brand promoted content.
- Boosts Trust and Confidence: Consumers want to understand what to expect from your product or service before they purchase, and there is no better way than getting the message from other users. Majority of new customers trust recommendations and reviews from people they know as well as massive online reviews and ratings. If your customers share a positive opinion about your brand, more shoppers will trust and have confidence in your brand. Moreover, referrals form one of the most cost-effective ways of building your customer base.
- Influences the final purchasing decision: Potential customers want to establish a real human connection with your brand before they can buy your solution. This explains why most people spend time on social networks and forum community research for new products. If they find rich CGC, they are highly likely to comment, click the link or directly purchase the product. If you need to build an authentic brand, there’s no way you can ignore the power of content coming from your customers. Besides, it saves you time and money, leaving you more time to focus on other important aspects of the business. Below are some of the tips for using customer-generated content to build your brand authenticity.
Smart Ways of Using Customer Generated Content to Promote your Brand
Nurture a Strong Brand Fanbase
To get started with CGC, you need to grow your fanbase who love and are proud of your brand as well as willing to share their experience with others. Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Choosing the right platforms – social networks, review and forum communities are not the same. So, the first step is to select a platform based on the number of active users, type of content and your target group. Different channels are ideal for certain CGC:
- Facebook – Text, Images and videos.
- Twitter – News updates, GIFs and blog posts.
- LinkedIn – professional content and corporate news.
- Instagram – high-resolution visuals, stories and quotes.
- YouTube – Video content.
- Pinterest and Flickr – infographics and photos.
- Community Forums like Reddit – user Qs & As.
You may use multiple platforms to promote CGC for your brand.
- Recruit Influencers – Brand influencers comprise of celebs, bloggers and other community idols. Get a list of these figures to talk about and endorse your brand. This will entice their followers to like your product, increasing your online fans as well as increase conversion rates.
- Create a brand desire – Share user-generated content to create a desire for your brand. For instance, you can share a screenshot showing the number of likes or retweets for one of your products. This will attract more users who will become envious and left out in the dark.
Curate Customer Generated Content
Once you have fostered a large fanbase, it is now time to gather and organize content from your loyal fans/ customers.
There are several ways of doing this:
- Social media posting – Encourage your customers to post content on social media You can do this by showcasing your customer photos, liking and commenting on their posts, sharing their posts and so on. Make sure that you give credit to the original creator of the content by tagging or mentioning them on your post. This will excite the creator and encourage more people to create and post more CGC.
- Collect customer reviews – Going by a recent BrightLocal survey, 64% of consumers must read at least 5 reviews before trusting a brand or a product while 40% of customers disconnect with a brand if they read a few negative reviews. It is advisable to collect reviews from independent review platforms because they are the real options of your customers.
- Do not use fake reviews or testimonials as most consumers can easily detect them from a distance.
- Do not erase negative reviews as both good and bad reveals shows a true reflection of your product or brand experience that informs the buyer decision.
- Use negative reviews to improve your product or service for the benefit of your company and future customers.
- Create a buzz with contests and incentives – come up with a contest that encourages the customers to create more content for your brand. You could ask the customers to showcase their experience with your brand through a story, sharing their photos and reward the winning entry. The reward doesn’t have to be too expensive but makes sure it is valuable enough to create the desired buzz.
- Create powerful hashtags – hashtags allows you to categorize content as well as expand your audience beyond your followers.
- Track mentions and conversations – customers could be talking about your brand without your knowledge. Use social listening tools to monitor any mentions on social platforms. This will help you collect useful CGC even when your brand is not tagged.
As consumer behaviour continues to evolve, content marketers need to develop a new approach that fits the market trends. Today, consumers trust what they hear from your customers than what you tell them directly. This makes customer-generated content a great tool to not only increase your brand awareness, but also to solidify your brand credibility. The above tips help you to take advantage of customer-generated content to improve your brand authenticity.