Collecting user-generated content or UGC has become an integral part of many successful marketing campaigns.
One reason is that you build a repository of helpful and engaging content to publish.
More importantly, people are 10 times more inclined to trust your brand and buy from you when you publish user-generated content on your website and social media accounts.
That’s because UGC, like reviews and social media posts, are created by your users and existing customers based on their experience and opinions about your brand and products.
The challenge, of course, is getting your customers to create them.
That’s why I’ll be sharing with you today 9 tips to get more user-generated content for your brand that you can start doing today.
Ask For Feedback From Users
There’s a saying: “You have not because you ask not.”
If you want your customers to leave you a review of your product or brand, then go ahead and ask them.
One way you can do this is by sending them an email like this one from Gecko.
Another way is by adding a form right below your content for customers to fill up.
Hosting Canada makes it easy to curate reviews of online hosting providers by providing a “Leave a review” CTA at the bottom of each of their reviews.
Right underneath this are the reviews left by past and current customers of the product being reviewed.
Create a unique hashtag
Creating your brand’s very own hashtag helps promote your brand on social media channels like Twitter and Instagram. You can also use social media management tools for the best results in social media marketing.
At the same time, it helps you find posts your customers published on their respective accounts.
Here’s a snapshot of user-generated content created that included #socialpilot in their descriptions:
What’s great about this is that the user-generated content’s already published. All you’ll need to do is to reach out to these users and ask if you can repost their content on your website or other social media accounts.
Many of them will be happy to let you. After all, who doesn’t like added exposure for their accounts?
Launch a contest on Instagram
Hosting a contest on Instagram is another way for you to get more user-generated content for your brand.
A perfect example of this is the #RedCupContest Starbucks hosts on Instagram every December.
Not only did the contest give Starbucks more than 30,000 user-generated content for them to use throughout the holiday season, but it also positively impacted their sales. After all, you’ll need to buy a Starbucks drink in a red cup to participate.
When launching a contest, be sure to clearly state the rules for your contest – including how users can participate.
For example, you might put up a Facebook-only contest that asks customers to create a Facebook post explaining what they love most about your brand.
Listen to your users’ social conversations.
At any given time, your happy customers would recommend your products and services on social media.
Social media automation platforms can help you keep track of these conversations as they happen. That way, you can thank them for the kind words and also request if it’ll be possible for them to work with you by creating a UGC.
These tools come with social media analytics that’ll help you track and evaluate which user-generated content is performing and at which social media channels.
Based on the data you’ve gathered, you can tap these users and work out an arrangement so that they can continue.
Gain some ground with influencers
Working with influencers who are also your customers benefits your brand in two ways.
First, they know what types of content will resonate well with your target audience. That way, you ensure that the UGC they’ll be creating for you will yield results.
Second, since they already have a substantial following and are highly respected within their niche, it’ll give your brand and product a boost.
For example, vlogger and success coach, Amy Landino, is known for her organization and time management hacks. As someone who admits to practicing bullet journaling, she was one of the ideal influencers Ryder Carroll–the creator of the bullet journal system–could collaborate with when he launched his book on the Bullet Journal method.
Create an employee engagement program
Your employees are your brand’s most valuable assets for three reasons:
First, they’re the force that keeps your business running.
Second, they’re your best spokespeople when it comes to your brand.
In fact, the Edelman Trust Barometer shows that your customers are more willing to trust what your employees say over your senior leaders, stakeholders, or even you (OUCH)!
Lastly, your employees’ engagement levels have a direct impact on your business’ brand reputation and even your income.
One way to do this is by creating a social media account where your employees can publish content they’ve created.
HubSpot’s HubSpot Life Instagram account is a perfect example:
Each week, a HubSpot employee is selected from one of their offices worldwide. He or she is given full control of the account and what to post here.
As you can see, the result is a fantastic collage offering a glimpse of the company’s culture. Because of this, HubSpot is able to attract new hires who not only have the skills they need but also have the same values they uphold.
Create an ambassador program
An ambassador program can be a great way to encourage loyal fans and customers to create content for your brand consistently because you’re treating them like VIPs.
By becoming part of an exclusive clique and being treated to exclusive perks, your “ambassadors” are more likely to create content about your products and services.
To start an ambassador program, make sure you make the ground rules for users very clear. These may be about the kinds of posts they can create, what they aren’t allowed to mention vis-a-vis posting about your brand, and even how to use the perks and benefits that being an ambassador for your brand provides.
Create a compelling challenge
If you can come up with a challenge that both excites and pushes users either physically or creatively, this can make great content for your brand.
Many fitness content creators, for example, design a multi-day fitness challenge wherein users can participate and share their progress on their social media accounts.
You can find ways to integrate free challenges for your customers, and not only do you get potential content to curate for your marketing channels, but you also engage audiences in ways like never before.
And that’s not all. If your challenge is truly exciting to consumers, it even stands a chance to go viral, further increasing brand awareness and retention.
Offer your customers an incentive
I know you’re probably thinking: isn’t this like bribing your customers to get user-generated content?
No, it isn’t. And here’s why.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, creating high-quality content’s not easy. If seasoned marketers struggle with this, imagine how much your customers would?
Offering them an incentive like G2’s Starbucks coffee treat they offered on Twitter is a way of you saying, “Thanks for taking the time to help.”
Besides, you won’t lose much when you nurture your relationship with your audience. Before long, you’ll be getting user-generated content even without incentives – because your fans are loyal enough to talk about your brand online on their own.
Best practices for getting more user-generated content for your brand
As you create your user-generated content campaign, here are a few best practices you’ll have to note moving forward.
Always credit back when reposting
If you repost any photos, quotes, or text that you didn’t create, credit them back to the original owner. On social media, this can be as simple as tagging the owner in your caption or over an image on Instagram.
Tagging, after all, will bring you more exposure. Especially Instagram image tagging, where the tagged post appears on both profile pages – yours and the account you tagged. The tagged section on Instagram works as a great UGC repository.
Are you slammed with managing Instagram tagging for multiple client accounts?
Use SocialPilot to tag multiple Instagram public profiles in your scheduled image post. No need to jump back to Instagram after scheduling your post. Simply, tag profiles anywhere in the image at the time of scheduling and create Instagram-ready posts directly from SocialPilot.
Ask permission to use photos or videos
If you intend to use photos or videos created by fans or customers in any of your brand material, you’ll need explicit consent from users.
Get in touch as best as you can to talk about fair compensation for using their work in your brand campaigns. If you’re unable to receive a reply, it’s best not to move forward with using user-generated content in your marketing campaigns.
Next, it’s essential to respect the boundaries and privacy of your users. Only curate and repost branded content if you saw you were tagged or mentioned or if your hashtag was used.
Put up full disclosures
Be sure to put up full disclaimers and disclosures about how you intend to use any user-generated content about your brand.
Explain that your business may most likely use these curated content across your social media channels and that you won’t compensate for reposted material.
Monitor new content with the right tools
Lastly, make the process of curating and monitoring user-generated content easier by using the best tools on the market. You’ll want to use content curation tools to help you spot fresh content about your brand.
Also monitor the performance of your user-generated posts with some analytics tools. Do they get better engagement? What type of user-generated content performed best?
Knowing this, you can refine your efforts even further to only curate the best posts, and think of new ways to keep getting high-quality, curation-worthy posts for your brand.
Publishing user-generated content can significantly boost your brand’s reputation and your products, which will, in turn, help you generate more customers and increase your revenue.
Each of the tips shared in this blog post can help you get more user-generated content for your brand.
Results won’t happen overnight. But if you stay consistent, you’ll soon start receiving UGC from your satisfied customers.
And that’s the key.
More than anything, you need to make sure that you provide your customers with high-quality products and an even higher quality of customer service.
When you can give this to your customers, they wouldn’t hesitate to help you spread the word.
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How to Optimize a Google Business Profile Listing
Marketing is a crucial component of every business. As trends change, more options become available for promoting your business.
Most notably, a social media presence has grown into a must-have for businesses due to its ability to reach potential customers. There are currently 4.48 billion users on some form of social media!
You have already created your marketing plan and included Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. You are further optimizing your site for SEO, and your Facebook ads are pulling in new visitors each week. But there’s one place you may have neglected.
Have you checked out Google Business Profile (GBP) yet?
If you haven’t heard of GBP, I bet you have seen it. As you enter a search on Google for “plumbers near me” or “dentists in Maryville,” a box appears on the right. There you see a picture, address, and buttons for a company that meets your search. That is GBP!
Your listing is tied to Google Maps and provides a map to your business. It is included in local searches and can help with your ranking.
Is GBP the Right Fit for your Business?
Many businesses are not fully utilizing the power of this platform. Firstly, having a GBP listing is absolutely essential since potential customers will probably discover you on Google only. But before going ahead, you must make sure whether your business is eligible for a listing or not. For that, take a look at the type of companies the listing option is available to:
- Physical business locations: Their customers visit these locations to use or buy your products.
- Mobile businesses: They go to their customers but have an office that customers can visit. (ex: plumber, heating, and AC services).
- Individual practitioners: They have a physical office and provide a service such as a realtor or a lawyer.
- Service area businesses: These are like mobile businesses but offer onsite service and travel to customers.
This is a free amenity that assists with local searches, so there is no downside to doing so. It’s time to complete your listing and start getting discovered by the right people!
8 Steps to Optimize your GBP Listing
Google changes its algorithms regularly, but it is also updating and adding to Google Business Profile. For local businesses, adding and then optimizing your listing is yet another tool in your marketing arsenal.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to optimize your GBP listing and use this social platform to dominate local marketing.
Step 1: Fill Out Key- Information
This Google Business Profile is the reflection of your business. So just creating one is not enough. It should have all the necessary details available to make people take notice.
These key pieces of information include
- A proper name for your business
- Phone number
- E-mail address
- Website URL
- Hours of operation
These are the first things your audience will see. If any of them are missing from the listing, it will raise doubts in their minds about the authenticity of your business. This will lead to them moving on to the next one in the list and not taking any action.
So, to get those leads and conversions, your basics should be meticulously covered.
Step 2: Get Your Listing Verified
Now that you have created your listing, you must get it verified by requesting your verification code. The most common way is for Google to send you a postcard in the mail, which includes a code.
Then, enter the code on your GBP account and edit any information.
Phone verification is available for some businesses. These will receive a phone call from Google on their business number. If you are on Google’s Search Console already, then your location should be verified instantly.
That’s it. Sign into your account on GBP, select “website,” and then “publish.” Done.
Step 3: Add Keywords
Keeping your listing simple is the easiest but not the most effective way to handle this new platform. Use your SEO skills and think about the keywords people would use to find you. Add these to your title and in the description.
Check the character count and guidelines for assistance.
Step 4: Specify Your Hours of Operation
How many times have you seen a business that doesn’t list its hours front and center? That is more than frustrating to potential clients; it can be deadly. With a single click, that customer will easily find the next business that does include their hours. Consider seasonal and holiday hours and update those as necessary.
Step 5: Add Photos to Your Posts
Another important factor is providing a clear, appealing picture of your business. This needs to be JPG or PNG with a size between 10KB-5MB. The minimum resolution is 720 px by 720 px.
Step 6: Add Other Visuals
Don’t stop with a picture. Include your company’s logo, add additional photos of the inside, or even include a short video. The file size needs to be under 100 MB with a resolution of 720p or higher. Keep its length to under 30 seconds.
Step 7: Choose the Right CTA
Check out the variety of buttons Google includes. You can add a shortcut to book an appointment or send a text message. Depending on your company, you may also have a “Service” button. Here, you can use those keywords again to describe what you provide. Include as many appropriate options to make it easier for someone to interact with your business.
Step 8: Add Q&A Section
Google also offers a Questions and Answers section. Readers can post their questions, allowing you to interact with them by responding.
This is another opportunity for your company to stand out. In fact, 25% of locations have unanswered questions listed. Be the company that responds promptly.
Tips for Making Your Listing a Success
I have covered the basics for your Google Business Profile listing, and now let’s boost your online presence with a few more tips and tricks. While some may be time-consuming, consider the outcome.
Similar to other sites, reviews can be posted on your listing. Start by approaching a few satisfied clients and requesting their feedback. You may be surprised at how many agree to do so – 68% of customers write a review when asked.
Then, develop a plan for getting more feedback whether by reaching out to several old customers or creating an email for first-time customers.
Getting the reviews posted is the first part. The next part is responding to these. Post a few lines to each review by thanking them. You can also address any concerns here. This visible interaction is beneficial to your online reputation.
97% of clients read local business reviews, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to engage with your customers.
Leaving customers’ queries unanswered can cost your business dearly! Do you want to know an efficient way to manage questions and reviews of multiple GBP accounts?
Use SocialPilot’s Google Business Profile’s Inbox feature to access all the reviews and questions from your audience or any potential customers. Respond instantly to engage with your audience, as that’s the key to boosting your brand’s reputation.
Only 17.5% of companies had created a post on their listing within the last week, according to one study. In the social media realm, 7 days is an eternity. And GBP is not much different from a social media platform, but exclusively for businesses.
So just like with the other platforms, keep current with your postings. Schedule a day or time when you will add to your listing. You can post pictures, helpful tips, current promotions, or other useful information for your clients.
To keep this simple, try using a Google Business Profile scheduling tool such as SocialPilot. With this tool, you can create a bunch of posts and schedule them to be published on various dates. These can be posts about a special offer for Christmas or a summer sale in June.
Create the posts now, save them in your queue, and move on to other tasks. If your dates change, you can easily re-schedule them within your social media calendar.
If you find articles or pictures that your customers have shared on social, you can use them in your upcoming posts with SocialPilot’s browser extension. Just use the extension to create and schedule a post for that content.
Posting regularly lets your followers know what to expect, but that is not all. Social media accounts are a vital way to bring brand recognition and loyalty for your company. Also, they are an easy, and inexpensive, way to interact with clients. You will raise your SEO rank and increase traffic when you post useful content that your customers enjoy.
However, it can be time-consuming to work on this each day. When you delegate the tasks to a tool that schedules and posts for you, you free up valuable time.
Try different images, emojis, and types of posts, and then see what your ideal customers prefer.
While using social media is a crucial part of marketing, you will lose out on the opportunity to maximize your potential if you neglect to analyze your data.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. Each social media has its own set of data, and GBP is no different. Social media metrics tools like SocialPilot track a variety of measurements to see how your listing performs.
Does your typical customer engage with your website or head straight to the map? Did they post reviews on competitors’ services? How did they first find you online?
These questions and their answers help you understand the customer’s journey. More importantly, they also highlight areas that need improvement. By checking out the data in SocialPilot’s Google Business Profile analytics reports, you can adjust your posts quickly.
Curious? Check out this sample Google Business Profile analytics report to see the kind of insights you gain.
Ben Fisher, an SEO expert, researched Google Business Profile and analyzed the results from 2,000 companies.
He summed up his findings by saying, “Google Business Profile (GBP) is one of the most powerful ways to improve a business’s local search engine optimization and online visibility. If you’re a local business, claiming your Google Business Profile is one of the first steps you should take to increase your company’s online presence.”
Google Business Profile, when used strategically, can bring you a lot of customers and clients. Adding your information is simple, and then you request verification. Once you receive that code, you can publish your listing.
By adding posts, photos, and keywords to your Google Business Profile listing, your company can rise in rankings and win at local marketing. Using a scheduling tool, like SocialPilot, makes the process even easier.
With a few simple steps, you can optimize your GBP listing and spend more time interacting with your customers.
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