5 Steps to Build an Effective User-Generated Content Campaign
Content is still king, but running the kingdom isn’t always easy. It’s difficult to maintain a steady pipeline of content without reusing and recycling your assets. Content creation is a lot of work, but here’s the good news: You don’t have to shoulder the entire burden yourself. Think about where user-generated content can be included in your overall content strategy.
GoPro is just one example of a company that capitalizes on UGC challenges to bolster its branding and build authentic connections.
Occasionally, users will also create content of their own accord in response to an exceptional experience with your company. But no matter what kind of content they produce, it will send a powerful message to your customers.
How User-Generated Content Builds Social Proof
UGC is one of the most compelling kinds of content because it relies on social proof, which is based on authenticity and the idea that independent reviewers are a more reliable source of information. Ever heard a company’s employees talk about how great their products are? It’s hard not to see bias in this type of messaging.
On the other hand, social proof is the reason your customers trust recommendations from close family and friends. It also extends far beyond an individual’s inner circle: Thanks to social proof, buyers trust Internet reviews from complete strangers when making decisions — all because they believe those reviews are authentic.
Consider this video that features Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, a couple who found love on “The Bachelor.” In it, Sean and Catherine highlight Wayfair’s room-makeover service and how they used it for their new baby’s nursery.
According to a report from Stackla, 90% of customers agree that this kind of authenticity is an integral part of their decision to support a brand. That makes video — which allows for face-to-face messaging — the perfect UGC medium.
Follow these five steps to build an effective user-generated content campaign and get your customers talking:
- Look for existing content. Depending on how long you’ve been in business, there could already be a host of quality content about your brand. Utilize social listening tools such as Hootsuite and Mention to track when your company appears in online conversations. This can provide insight into the sentiments surrounding your brand. Pay special attention to negative views of your brand and work to eliminate any issues before you dive into a UGC campaign.
- Go the extra mile. Customers don’t want to share mundane, everyday experiences — they want to share the remarkable ones. Whenever possible, go the extra mile to deliver a superlative experience, whether that means extending a warranty period for a repeat customer or offering a free replacement product when the customer doesn’t expect it.
- Talk to your best customers. Your top customers are an incredible resource, and they’re already singing the praises of your brand to the people around them. The key is to give them a channel where they can broadcast their brand advocacy to the rest of the world. Start by creating a list of your most loyal and passionate customers. Then, ask if they’d be willing to share their experiences with your brand on a variety of channels.
- Incentivize participation. To get the ball rolling with your UGC initiative, consider giving customers an incentive to participate. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to incentives. You could offer an opportunity to win prizes or a free consultation for a winner, for example, or you could offer cash for the most viewed or shared content.
- Provide an example. To ensure customers create the right kind of content, it helps to offer an example from which they can draw inspiration. If you create your own video that gives customers a blueprint to follow, you’ll spend less time sifting through entries and cutting content that goes in a direction you didn’t intend. That’s not to say you shouldn’t encourage creativity, but an example will help you avoid misinterpretations.
User-generated content is a powerful way to tap into your audience’s content creation capabilities — particularly when that audience includes passionate fans and advocates. If you follow these steps, your content team will breathe a sigh of relief when their campaigns are locked and loaded with quality content that can boost your brand.
Hope Horner is CEO and founder of Lemonlight Video Production, a company that produces and distributes branded video content at scale. Hope is a three-time entrepreneur who has been featured in Inc., KABC, Extra and other publications highlighting her successes in the Silicon Beach community over the past decade.