Each day, an unfathomable amount of content is born — far more than we can reasonably consume. WordPress, the world’s top CMS, sees 17 posts published every second. But that only accounts for between 50–60 percent of the global CMS market share.
For brands, going through the motions and creating lackluster content is a waste of time and money, only distancing them from their audience.
So, how do you speak to your target customers when vying for their eyeballs is only getting more complicated and expensive? Look to those who already care: leverage your customers for branded content.
Do you have the community to support user-generated content?
Before you get started in your efforts, it’s helpful to take a step back and evaluate your community. How many customers do you have? What percentage of those are repeat customers versus first-timers? Is any portion of your customer base heavily engaged with your brand?
If you’re not already following social media for brand mentions and tracking brand keywords with Google Alerts, start immediately. If there’s nobody currently talking about you in the social and blog sphere, you have no business asking your users to submit content.
What’s your intent?
A brand could look to leverage user-generated content for many reasons. Maybe there’s not enough bandwidth internally to create a steady flow of content. Perhaps you’re looking for another method to up your conversion rate, build your brand trust, generate awareness, or even educate your audience on common questions you receive. Whatever the case, know what you’re looking to accomplish before you progress to any next steps.
Identify the channels that make sense for your business
After you’ve scouted your customer base for the most engaged and identified what you’re looking to accomplish, you need to decide which channels make the most sense to host this user-generated content. Regardless of the platform(s) you choose, a good brand interaction is a good brand interaction. In fact, according to SproutSoical, 70 percent of consumers will share a positive experience with a brand. Further, 75 percent are more likely to purchase following a positive brand experience.
So, which platforms make sense? Instagram is the obvious choice, but what about Facebook or Twitter? What about going deeper and asking customers to contribute to your blog? You can even create a devoted section to user content. And don’t forget about LinkedIn. Depending on your brand and your customers, tapping into the largest professional network on the planet could yield big dividends. Be extra cautious here though, as making a blunder on LinkedIn isn’t the same as a fleeting Tweet or non-serious Instagram.
Advertise you’re accepting user-generated content
It’s not enough to decide you want to get involved with user-generated content; you need to advertise it to your users. One popular way of generating buzz is to launch a contest. Maybe you sell paddleboards and are looking for pictures of people adventuring with your gear. Perhaps you offer e-commerce website builders and want to see how different owners have designed their stores. Whether you do a contest or ask for submissions without incentive, state what you’re looking for in as specific terms as possible. Otherwise, you’ll only create more work for yourself sifting through misaligned user submissions.
Deciding how to leverage your customers for branded content might seem tricky at first, but in due time you’ll find that the process is quite simple, especially for the potential benefits that can result from humanizing your brand.