5 Ways to Encourage User-Generated Content
December 20, 2013 | By David Shephard
The only thing better than great content, is great user-generated content. User-generated content like comments, reviews, videos, pictures and guest blog posts provide a rich new dimension to your content and make your readers part of your brand narrative. Readers who are in the story of your brand are far more likely to identify with it and feel loyalty and trust. Here are some ways in which you can encourage your current and potential clients to share their content with you.
Often, just asking for content is enough to inspire readers to contribute. Send them a product review notification when they have received their items or ask them for a service review. Put a product review button on your website or allow users to leave video testimonials. Encourage guest blogs and video submissions. You can encourage comments by responding to people who leave comments and by commenting on reader’s social networks.
Bikini makers Wicked Weasel offered their lady customers free swimsuits when they submitted pictures or videos to the manufacturer that they would use in their own media or on their website. Offering a free swimsuit was far more economical than paying for models or a professional photographer. So popular was the site that Wicked Weasel has a dedicated social platform for bikini submissions and those who care to enjoy them.
You can ask for video, picture or other content and offer products or coupons as a reward for user-generated content. Many companies also offer discounts or products for guest blogs submitted by readers. User-generated content makes your customers feel like they are part of your brand and you get the marketing cache from them sharing their posts on their own social networks.
Running a contest is a great way to generate buzz about your brand. Get users to submit content, videos or pictures and then offer a prize to the submission that gets the most ‘likes’, comments or votes. This not only generates content for you, but entrants will share their posts with friends and family members in an effort to generate votes. Offer great prizes and do proper marketing to ensure success. Here’s an example of a B2B manufacturer who ran a contest to generate brand awareness and engagement.
Ambassadors and field testers
FIG Clothing is a small Montreal-based clothing company that has a unique marketing approach. Every year, they select a number of women as brand ambassadors. Each woman gets to select the items of clothing from their lines that she likes best. They encourage these ladies to take pictures of themselves wearing the clothing, write guest posts and reviews. Their ambassador program has given them more exposure than they could ever have achieved through traditional marketing methods.
You can do a similar thing with field testers; send your products to blog writers and social media aficionados and ask them to sample your wares. Most will oblige if they like your products or the cut of your jib.