User generated content: how to turn your customers into influencers

Ever heard of the saying ‘your customers are your best influencers’? 

Considering 92% of consumers trust word of mouth more than any other form of advertising, there is definitely some truth to this notion. 

In the digital era, word of mouth has become user generated content (UGC). It’s common for your customers to rant or rave about your products to family and  friends online and according to Hubspot, 71% of people are more likely to purchase when referred by social media. 

So not only is UGC more trusted by consumers than other forms of advertising, it is generally less expensive in comparison to other channels. But how can brands effectively implement in in their strategy

Here’s a few tips and tricks: 

Collect reviews 

Reviews are a an important form of social proof. In fact, 70% of people trust consumer reviews online. Plus the fact that customer feedback can serve as a product/business development road-map,  collecting customer reviews is therefore a no brainier for marketers.  Encouraging and rewarding customers for honest reviews both on-site and off-site can help drive conversions. 

Use hashtags

Hashtags are a great way  to boost engagement, encourage and easily track user generated content. On Instagram, posts with at least one hashtag gain 12.6% more engagement according to research by Brandwatch. Utilising this tool is a simple yet effective tool for driving UGC.

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Gamification in marketing is when the typical ‘game’ playing elements like point scoring, competitions and playing by rules are applied as an online marketing technique. It’s a great technique for not only driving user generated content but also increasing  participation, engagement and loyalty amongst your audience. 

Ask questions 

Asking your customers questions is a simple but effective technique for driving UGC. Neil Patel highlights “Asking your users leading (but intriguing) questions is another way to generate more user content and boost growth.

Think of social engagement like a first date. If you only talk about yourself, you probably won’t get a second date, right? If you ask plenty of thoughtful questions about the other person, listen to their answers, and keep the conversation going, your odds of a repeat date are much higher.”

Start a communal blog

We have relied on communities for as long as we’ve existed. Sayings such as “Strength in numbers” and “Two heads are better than one” show us how embedded the concept is in human behaviour. It’s no surprise therefore that customers want to be part of and contribute to brand communities. A great way to facilitate this is by hosting a communal blog or forum. This gives your customers the chance to share their feedback and become brand advocates. 

For more on the latest digital marketing strategies and best practices, you can get my latest book, Digital Marketing Strategy.

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