User-Generated Content: Why It Matters & How to Utilize It

Big thank you to Dane O’Leary for contributing today’s post. 

Whether you’re a freelancer or an ambassador for a global brand, user-generated content is very relevant.

In short, user-generated content is anything that people make and share on the Internet. So when people take photos or record video that they share to social media, they’re sharing their user-generated content. It can encompass text-based content as well, including blog posts and articles.

Many companies, professionals, and entrepreneurs are creating and sharing content, too. Anytime you read a blog post or view media on a company’s website, you’re consuming content that they’ve generated. However, some companies have seen a decline in conversion as the content they’re sharing isn’t drawing quite the same crowd that they’d come to expect.

Is user-generated content the missing ingredient?

Why user-generated content matters

Roughly 60 percent of people report that social media content from their family members and close friends has the greatest influence on their purchasing decisions. By analyzing responses from participants, the study identified the main reasons why people put more stock into user-generated content.

User-generated content is perceived as more authentic than content created solely for the marketing and advertising. Today’s consumers are savvy; after all, it’s easy to do a quick web search and find objective opinions about a product or service from other users.

Speaking of brand content, brands and large companies aren’t always dialed-in when it comes to creating content that really resonates with their target audiences. Besides being savvier, consumers are inherently skeptical in the Age of Social Media and widespread digital marketing, which is partly why content made by brands doesn’t always resonate with audiences. As such, the assumption is often that brands will say whatever they need to say to land a sale while content from peers more accurately reflects the consumer experience.

How to utilize user-generated content

Feature customer reviews

One of the best ways to utilize user-generated content is to incorporate reviews in your company’s media. This strategy is based on evidence that many buyers refer to reviews when making a purchasing decision; since reviews are what much of your audience will prefer, incorporating reviews in your content takes advantage of what’s likely your the best sales tool.

There are a number of ways to incorporate reviews in your content and media. Of course, you could simply copy-and-paste excerpts from reviews into text content published on your website. However, video and photo content are exponentially more popular than text content, so adding snippets from real reviews to your multimedia content is a great way to generate additional interest in your offerings as well as increase sales.

Engage with your audience on social media

Social media is arguably the best marketing tools for brands and companies today. Not only does social media give you a channel through which to share your own content as well as user-generated content, it also gives you a medium with which to connect to and engage with your audience.

By engaging with your audience on social media, you achieve two things: First, your engagement will essentially encourage your audience to create more content about your products, services, or brand. Additionally, the engagement that you have with your audience will make you more visible to others and could potentially broaden your reach by a substantial margin.

Create a community around your brand

Did you know that there’s a difference between a company and a brand? While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, one certainly doesn’t equal the other, so the goal is to turn your company into a recognizable brand. Although it takes time and diligence to do this, you can make some major headway by creating a community around your brand.

Depending on what you do or what type of company you run, there are different ways to foster a sense of community among your audience. Engaging with them and encouraging interaction with one another on social media is a very accessible way to instill a sense of community among your audience. Alternately, you might consider adding a forum to your website; not only does this provide a dedicated place for people to talk about and interact with your growing brand, it also serves as a central place where people can generate brand-related content.

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while writing content for his own website.

 

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