If our brand is what people say about our business when we’re not in the room, then a user-generated content campaign is a great way to steer that conversation.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is any content someone outside your business:
- publishes about your business on their own website or social channels – this could be reviews, blog posts, social media posts, images, etc.
- creates or co-creates for you to publish on your website or social channels – this could be a guest post, testimonial, webinar, customer review or whatever else you can think of.
Why user-generated content is a good thing for your business
If you’re regularly creating content by following a content marketing strategy, you’ll develop your brand’s voice. Regularly producing content shares your expertise and helps build authority and trust in your brand. While it’s beneficial to implement a content marketing strategy and have a recognisable voice, having others speak positively about your business can have an even greater impact.
A user-generated content plan can also take the pressure off you to continually create fresh stuff – others are doing it for you. And because those creating content for you are likely to promote it with their audience, you’ll reach more people in the process.
Here are some different ways you can collaborate to inspire and create user-generated content.
We’ll look at:
- Co-creating content with leading experts
- Co-hosting a webinar
- Interviewing influencers in your niche
- Testimonials and customer reviews
- Competitions on social media
- Creating a hashtag
- Influencer campaigns
- UGC on social media
Co-create content with leading experts
Reach out to suitable clients or complementary businesses in your network and invite them to co-create content. You will both benefit from your pooled expertise and each other’s reach.
Co-created content could be a white paper, an in-depth industry report, a blog post, a useful lead magnet or an article pitched to a publisher in your industry. For example, a little while ago I wrote an article for Inside Small Business. They got to publish my content on their platform, I got to reach their audience -and as an added bonus, they included a link back to this website, which is highly beneficial for SEO. Win-win-win!
Co-host a webinar
Something more time-consuming but with the potential for greater impact is a webinar. Think about the value a co-hosted webinar could deliver to your business.
The best webinars create and share valuable information. They are not vehicles for thinly veiled self-promotion. Sure, you can add information about how people can work with you at the end of the webinar. But don’t be that disappointing company spokesperson who builds up their webinar with great hype and promise who then delivers 10 minutes of good information followed by 50 minutes of a hard sell!
There are two ways to approach co-hosted webinars:
1. Join an established webinar series
You can co-host a webinar on a platform such as Flying Solo. Research who’s hosting webinars in your industry and pitch a topic to the organisers.
2. Create your own webinar
While it takes more work, setting up your own webinar gives you more control over the process and direct access to the subscribers. Do it live or pre-record – either way, capture email addresses to build your email list in exchange for access to your knowledge.
Interview influencers in your niche
Creating content that positions you as an expert in your niche is going to set you up as a key influencer in that space.
One way to build your credibility is to rub shoulders with complementary experts and other influencers.
Set up interviews with your own clients to talk about their industry and challenges they’ve had to overcome and how they did it. You can relate it back to a problem your product or service helped them solve.
Their expertise combined with how you helped them to solve a problem will reflect well on your brand. It will help position you as the ‘go-to’ person for businesses who have similar problem to solve.
Record the interview via video or just audio. One of the easiest ways to record and capture the interview is via Zoom.
After the interview, get it transcribed. Cut it into grabs for social media. You’ll have a range of different ways you can use and distribute this user-generated content.
For example, you can:
- Publish the video and share it across socials.
- Turn the interview into a written piece and publish it on your blog or as a case study. For example we have a ‘People with Purpose’ series on our site where we publish written interviews. .
- Turn the audio into a podcast or audio recording to add to your blog.
- Create social media graphics to promote and share the interview across your social media channels.
Your interviewee is likely to share the interview in each of the formats across their social media channels, too, broadening your reach.
Gather social proof via testimonials and customer reviews
Whether you’re asking for a review or testimonial, target the clients or customers you’ve developed a good relationship with. Build the request for a review or testimonial into your overall business process.
If you haven’t requested reviews or testimonials for a while, set aside some time in your schedule to batch up this task and approach the businesses you want to target.
If it feels awkward to ask someone for a testimonial or review, know that most people are happy to do it, especially if you provided excellent service. It’s best to approach someone immediately after the project or sale is complete.
Once you have the user-generated testimonial or review, use it in different ways. Create branded images for sharing it across social media and tag the business for greater reach. Feature the review or testimonial on your website and give the business a link back to their website.
Never write fake ones or incentivise someone to leave a testimonial or review or you could be breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Invite customer reviews
Encourage your customers to post reviews and images of the results of using your product or service that highlight what they achieved. Ask them to tag you in the pictures. Reshare the posts they tag you in via stories or directly in your feed.
Make it easy for people to leave a review by sending them a direct link to where they can leave it. That might be on your website, a third-party seller’s site, a social media platform or Google My Business. Your priority should be where your customers mostly hang out and where they find out about you.
Ask for testimonials
If you’re sending the request via email, include a basic template for them to fill in or give them clear direction around what aspect of your product or service you’d like them to focus on. For example, you could send an email saying something like: