The greatest problem with creating a consistent content marketing strategy lies in the fact that it depends on your ability to create quality content at a satisfactory frequency. This last part often gets overlooked or even outright underestimated and ridiculed with phrases like: “quality over quantity,” or something equally nonsensical. In reality, you need both quality and quantity. Think about it, what good is even the greatest content writer who publishes a single post on the annual basis. Sure, you may immediately grab attention but in order to make a quality marketing strategy, you need at least some sort of continuity.
In order to resolve this issue, a lot of businesses turn towards user-generated content (UGC). Nevertheless, it’s important to mention that the UGC and content marketing don’t exactly fill in the same niche. User-generated content isn’t merely a substitute for its more traditional counterpart. In fact, it serves a completely different purpose and is closer to a testimonial than a blog post. In other words, you also get to diversify your online presence, which is a huge plus on its own. With this in mind and without further ado, here are several tips on how you should approach the issue of user-generated content.
Advantages to consider
Earlier on, we named one of the advantages of the UGC, yet, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. After all, the convenience can’t be all there is to the UGC, in fact, it isn’t even its strongest attribute. You see, when it comes to the UGC, you still have to conduct an elaborate filtering process, seeing as how you have no control over the tone of the comment, review or survey. Even the best brand can get some negative feedback, while people who are content may not feel the need to express their feelings.
As for the UGC, it can help increase customer satisfaction by showing that there’s someone actively listening to them on the other end. As a side-effect, this also helps you understand them better. Next, it increases the time they spend on your website since even those who aim to criticize need to do some basic research on the topic. In turn, this last part boosts your brand’s overall visibility. Finally, you get the benefits of validation through peer-review. No matter how hard you try at praising your own content, product or service your audience doesn’t share your point of view. As for the UGC, it is most likely generated by someone exactly like them.
Another useful UGC strategy relies on starting a contest that will encourage your audience to act and engage their creative side for the purpose of giving your content a boost. For instance, you can set a team and offer a reward for the best piece of content written or the best photography taken. Then, you can use the winning material in order to enhance your own online presence.
This works quite well with outsourcing, as well, seeing as how you can just send this piece of content to a digital marketing agency you work with and they can integrate it for you. The best part, however, lies in the fact that the user-generated content strategy may also be considered as the interactive content, which is a potent engagement-boosting tool, on its own.
Building a community
In order to build a user community, you have to alter your approach and help your customers or subscribers relate to each other, instead of being merely connected through your brand. Customer support forum is a great way to exercise this. Of course, a person encountering a problem with your product might complain in order to get assistance from a member of your team, yet, it is as likely that their problem will be solved by a person who encounters a similar issue. In fact, most people prefer this way of tackling issues, seeing as how it makes them feel more self-reliant.
Aside from this, a healthy sign of a community can also be noticed in the comment section on your YouTube channel or on your blog. The way in which works is quite simple. Someone posts a comment that someone else disagrees with, which makes them start an argument. This is usually followed by a huge chunk of visitors picking sides and getting involved in an argument. The best thing about this idea lies in the fact that it gets people emotionally involved, which is something that can do wonders for your brand loyalty.
Think past the text
The thing about social proof is that people often focus on things like comments on one’s product page or reviews stacked beneath when this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Thinking past comments and focusing on video reviews can be even better. This is especially the case, seeing as how YouTube is currently world’s second largest search engine. It gets even better. Even with a profile picture and without the corporate jargon, there’s always a chance that a piece of UGC is fake or planted by a member of your digital marketing team. With a YouTube video, this is much harder to achieve.
Apart from the fact that this content format always appears less scripted, by associating their YouTube persona with your brand, the person in question directly becomes your brand ambassador. In a way, their subscriber base becomes yours, as well and they use their personal portfolio to vouch for your company.
Adjusting to the specific platform
Keep in mind that, some platforms already have a development history and you, as a newcomer, might not be able to understand why they function the way they do. Take for example the difference between the eBay and Amazon, two seemingly similar platforms with some essential differences. The similarity is what an outsider sees, yet, a regular user knows each platform and trend inside and out, which makes them get a different perspective on this issue. Needless to say, you need some of this user insight both on your brand and on that of your competitors.
Finally, if you’re going to use the UGC, you need to become familiar with some of its downsides, as well. For starters, there’s the issue of negative content, which you can filter out but risk starting even more outrage by doing so. After all, censorship is never a popular trend. Then, you have the unreliable commenters coming from unknown sources. In fact, some of them might even come with a malicious attempt leaving you behind to take the fall. One more thing worth reflecting on is the issue of the fact that some of your audience may suspect a certain comment to be planted or left by the marketers themselves. This, unfortunately, isn’t that easy to shake off.
At the end of the day, user-generated content can be utilized to help you inspire greater customer loyalty, boost your reach and enhance your content-making capabilities. Aside from this, it also helps diversify your content and make it less generic, therefore, making it look as if all the praise and acclamation are coming from a greater number of sources (which, in this case, they are). Overall, it is a trend that you definitely need to learn how to exploit to your own benefit.