If social media had a King, it would be User Generated Content (UGC).
Its one of the most powerful social media tools we have available to us… and the best part? We can ALL get it for FREE.
Today I’m going to take you through what UGC is, why so successful on social media and HOW you can get it for FREE for your business [whether you’re a product or service based biz.]
K so.. WTF is UGC?
User Generated Content is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by customers, unpaid consumers or “fans”. It can be in the form of Instagram stories, social media posts, pictures of your service/product, videos, testimonials, blog posts, and everything in between.
Essentially, UGC is the act of customers promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
Why is UGC is so successful?
1. It builds a sense of “trust” around your offerings.
When deciding whether or not to pay for a product or service, who are you more likely to trust - the brand, or a fellow consumer who has used the product or service before?
I know for a fact, that if I’m choosing between subscribing to Netflix or Stan… I’m going to choose Netflix SIMPLY because of the fact I’ve seen more UGC about Netflix.
2. UGC puts your customers on a pedestal
Businesses that put their customer first, second and last in everything they do… are on the rise. In this noisy digital-world, our attention spans last all of 4 seconds. So when a customer shares something positive online about your business, they are communicating (without even knowing it) their positive customer experience and that your brand can be trusted.
Brand trust = ESSENTIAL to stand out over your competitors.
3. Its marketing, that doesn’t *feel* like marketing.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the typical sleazy marketer with pushy sales tactics. The average consumer is no longer impressed by that one guy’s voice we hear advertising everything on the radio.
We are no longer impressed by billboards, TV and Radio ads, or the infamous “HURRY, WHILE STOCKS LAST” line. I don’t know about you, but I honestly can’t remember the time any of these pushy sales tactics worked on me.
Instead, we crave stories, they crave connection, and they crave human interaction and above all COMMUNITY.
Remember the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign? It first launched in Australia in 2011, and involved changing the traditional wrapping around the Coca-Cola bottle to say ‘Share a Coke with…’ and a popular name.
In Coca-Cola’s own words… “The purpose of the campaign was to create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness.”
Its safe to say this UGC strategy took the world by storm, and had consumers sharing coke bottles with their names, the names of friends and family, and even strangers across social media.
I wasn’t lucky enough to have my name on a bottle, but I still remember the campaign clearly 7 years later! Coca-Cola was basically saying no matter what your name is, you are a part of our global community.
This campaign? It absolutely *buried* the ol’ Pepsi VS. Coke debate – ha!
Now for the best part… How YOU can encourage UGC for YOUR business!
Guest Blog Interviews
This is one of the easiest, cost effective ways to produce UGC.
Step 1: Write a list of 10 non-competing businesses/individuals within your industry and ask if you can interview them for their blog.
For example, a chiropractor might interview a personal trainer, a naturopath, acupuncture, a yoga teacher, etc.
Step 2: Email them a few industry-related questions and give them an opportunity to provide valuable, educational information to your audience while showcasing their expertise. (It’s a win-win for both parties!)
Step 3: Publish the blog and let the interviewee know it has been published.
The result? The interviewee will share with THEIR audience where they can find the blog, AKA your profile! And that, my friends, is UGC.
This tactic will allow you to not only develop close relationships with other professionals in your industry, but will open you up to a whole new audience!
I recently did this for a client of mine - we’re a Glamping company, so I began interviewing travel accounts & influencers. Once we published their blog feature, the influencers would subsequently share our profiles with their 10-50K followers for FREE.
We interviewed Maddi from @she.who.explores, and our profile was subsequently shared with her 14K followers (again… FOR FREE!)
Instagram Video Testimonials
Every time I collaborate with another non-competing business/individual, I go on my Instagram stories and film a video testimonial/shout out about their business and share it with my audience. When I post it to my story, I tag their Instagram page which gives them the option to add it to their own story. And they do, every time. Why wouldn’t you repost a video where someone is talking about how amazing you are?
I recently did this on my own account after my business coaching session with Two Girls and a Laptop, and subsequently gained 20+ new followers from 1 simple video being reposted.
And there it is again, the beauty of UGC.
Note: if you’re a little scared of video, that’s fine, you can do this in photo format too. I just find it twice as effective with video.
Discount Codes in exchange for UGC
This one is mainly for product-based businesses (online stores, cafes, or basically anyone selling tangible products). But service based businesses – don’t lose me here! There are ways you can execute this strategy too.
I’ve bought a few things online recently, each from really successful ecommerce businesses that everyone loves – and I noticed a tactic they all had in common in their customer experience journey.
They asked for UCG in exchange for a discount on their next purchase!
Super simple. Super effective.
Service based businesses can implement this into their social media strategy by offering discounts on their next visit/meal/service in exchange for posting about your business and tagging you.