As traditional marketing and advertising channels started making less of an impact on customers, content marketing grew in popularity. Now, the majority of B2B companies use content marketing for lead generation. How do you distinguish your content in a very crowded marketplace?
You may want to turn to the people your target audience trusts the most - their peers.
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most powerful forms of content - and your users create it for you.
While most B2C brands have been using user-generated content for years to interact and build connections with their customers on online platforms, starbucks, Coca Cola and GoPro all launched successful UGC campaigns.
B2B brands were slower to adapt. Many B2B products or services lack the easily-recognisable physical presence of B2C brands. However, as they look for creative ways to reach their customers, B2B companies have increasingly, been leveraging user-generated content to gain more leads, conversions and customers on a minimal marketing budget.
What is User Generated Content?
As the name suggests, user-generated content is any type of content created by users (customers) not affiliated with your brand to promote your business. Whether you’re looking to highlight your products, company culture or customer success, few types of content can match the authenticity and relatability of UGC.
With UGS, prospects, customers and influencers contribute original content for your online platforms. UGC can take many forms including customer reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, blog posts, etc. For example, you might encourage customers to submit photos using your product.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are the most popular channels for sharing user-generated content. User-generated content can also be shared on your company website and other online platforms including third-party review sites (Yelp, G2, etc.)
How Does UGC Build Trust with Audience?
Trust is important to any business’s strategy. Prospects who trust your brand will likely develop a lasting relationship with your company. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 96% of the most successful B2B marketers say their audience views them as a credible and trusted source.
While customers are often sceptical of sales pitches and marketing campaigns, they trust their peers to provide them with honest information. In fact, in a recent B2B content preferences survey, 64% of buyers said they give more credence to peer reviews and user-generated feedback when making purchase decisions.
What are the Benefits of User Generated Content?
Improves engagement - UGC encourages customers to engage with each other and your company. Engagement rates for user-generated content is typically higher than other types of marketing materials. People like to share their own thoughts and opinions. Audiences are more likely to share user-generated content, which will help you reach a larger audience.
Drives more sales - According to research, UGC converts prospects to customers at a higher rate than marketing content created by a brand.
Promotes efficiency in content creation - Your audience can produce a much higher amount of content than a single marketing content team can produce in the same time period - and it's free
Valuable customer insight - UGC gives you an inside view into the needs of your current and prospective customers, enabling you to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. By engaging with your audience, you help your audience feel welcome and demonstrate you care about them.
What Are Some Types of UGC?
Whether you’re looking to highlight your products, company culture or customer success, UGC adds creativity to your marketing. Here are some examples of the types of user-generated content
Run contests and giveaways - Give users an incentive to post a photo on Instagram (or Facebook)
Customer testimonials - People consult reviews and testimonials to determine whether or not they trust a product, service, or even a seller. Testimonials need to resonate with your targeted audience. You can use testimonials in a variety of ways. You can create a page on your website with testimonials, sprinkle them throughout your website and share them on your social channels. Video testimonials are perfect for social media.
Employees - Your prospects don’t know you yet but your employees do. Company culture can help differentiate your brand from your competitors. Have an employee photo contest or ask employees to post their New Year’s Resolutions.
Create User-Generated FAQs - Have real users provide answers on your FAQ page on your website. B2B customers tend to be self-researchers and like to find their own answers. FAQs created by their peers will help them put more trust in the answers than if the brand produced them.
Case study - Interview your satisfied clients, or ask if they mind filling in a template questionnaire. A good case study will broadly cover how your product or service helped them overcome challenges or solved an important problem.
Third-party review sites - Find out if your customers are leaving reviews on third-party review sites such as Yelp, G2, Angie’s List Trip Advisor or Glassdoor. Capture the best reviews and promote on your website and social channels.
Influencers - If there are influencers and thought leaders in your industry, you can call on them to generate content by employing them as guest bloggers. In turn, you can promote their company in return.