Big markets and large corporations used to have the lion’s share of marketing due to their budget and fame. They can afford to book the current most famous celebrity to shoot advertisements for their products, create a widespread distribution of fliers, and slap their logo on a team or two.
There’s no doubt about it; the domination of social media has changed everything. What was once a place for one-sided interaction has become an avenue of open communication where users can instantly share their opinions about a product, demonstrate the effectiveness of that product, and even have a discussion about a brand’s business practices.
The digital marketing scene developed even more after the pandemic, what with almost everyone locked in quarantine for more or less a year. The internet has created a place where people can escape amidst the isolation, boredom, and limited distance.
More marketing strategists turned to the potential in this uptick of digital content and sought to find how to use user-generated content to promote their brand. Besides encouraging more interaction, they also started identifying customer needs from user-generated content.
User-generated content (also known as UGC or consumer-generated content) is any type of unpaid content created by the users of a brand. It is an organic way of interaction between brands and users. From pictures on Facebook, to shorts on Instagram, reviews on Yelp, or even discussions on Reddit, these are classified as UGC.
Regular customers buy what is available with only a side-eyed consideration of the brand, or are simply not committed to a single brand. Fans, meanwhile, are patrons of your brand and will most likely buy any product you put out. Customer interaction can make or break a brand’s longevity. Positive and active interactions help turn customers into fanatics, thus amassing a loyal audience.
That said, here are four tips that will teach you how to turn customers into brand advocates.
Basically, what it says on the tin: be honest.
Simply delivering what was advertised is the first step in turning customers into advocates. Customers now tend to post pictures or videos when buying a product. Whether it’s intended as a simple post for their followers or an actual review, it can influence other potential customers’ willingness to buy your product.
Going above and beyond customers’ expectations sets the impression that customers will only get the best products and services there are. Thus, intensifying their loyalty towards your brand—and with more loyal users, the easier for you to maintain your business’s long-term stability.
Having an old-fashioned aesthetic doesn’t mean that you should keep old-fashioned values.
The accessibility of information along with the rise of the very diverse Generation Z brought to the forefront an awareness of important social issues such as human rights and environment preservation. A brand’s reputation and business practices can affect the willingness of users to use and promote their products.
The effect of this will no longer be limited to the UGCs created by your customers but will include the online content created by your employees as well—which in turn has a substantial impact on how customers perceive your company as a trustworthy brand.
There are a huge number of untapped potential audiences. Similar to cult classic movies, fostering a presence within a niche community can establish you as a go-to brand or even a monopoly within that audience.
While the bottomline is still to appeal to the majority, this strategy ensures that your brand builds a loyal following amidst the sea of customers.
Exploring this niche community also allows for more creative ideas and unique UGCs. Personalize your ads in such a way that your target audience feels that your product is designed to meet their intricate needs and demands.
From a layman’s perspective, UGC is basically unpaid content. But you can help make the customers feel like an irreplaceable part of your brand. Promoting and acknowledging this content signals to audiences that you see what they are doing and hear what they are saying. It proves that you value the connection that you have with them.
So how can you reward your clientele’s loyalty?
You can start by giving out exclusive discount vouchers that they can use the next time they purchase something from you. You can also perform collaborations with them. For instance, you can use their recent posts about the item they purchased from your digital store for your next social media promotion. Make certain that you tag and mention them when you publish to let them know that you’re going to use their content.
It is crucial to credit and ask permission before using someone else’s UGC. A simple misstep can result in major setbacks, especially with the reach and speed of the social media vine. Not only will it sever the trust between you and your customers, it can also land you in legal trouble.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to use a branded hashtag to further raise awareness about your brand.
Lastly, you may add them to your brand’s PR list. PR packages are helpful in promoting new products or campaigns and give a feeling of exclusivity to the UGC creator. Not only will a positive review encourage their followers to seek the products, but other content creators will also endeavor to create more content in order to be part of this exclusive list.
The UGC creator gets benefits, which therefore benefits the brand, and so on and so forth, creating a positive feedback loop.
Before you get started with your social media campaigns, it is critical to know that each online platform and social media site is composed of dynamic audiences with their own distinct preferences and preferred forms of communication. Not to mention the fact that modern generations of online users have become increasingly discerning when it comes to user experience.
When choosing the right network for your brand’s promotions, there are several variables that should be taken into account. What does your brand specialize in? Who are your primary consumers? Which network will most likely attract your desired users?
This is where the phrase “know your audience” applies.
Start where you have the most social presence and determine which networks can help encourage interaction that would best promote your brand. Of course, it’s also a given to cultivate a presence on the most popular platforms, where the majority of customers are.
Then get a feel for the general atmosphere of your community. Is your UGC focused on helpful tips, humor, or aimed towards your users’ creativity? Some brands tend to try too hard, so their attempts at engagement are shoe-horned at best.
Take the Lego Company, for example. Lego is all about fun and creativity, so they produce content that caters to people from all age groups and geographic locations. These pieces of content includes Lego-building videos and tutorials, photo stills of fan-created builds, and even produced Lego-inspired animated series.
Another great example is Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. One of its largest selling points is its diverse foundation shades, receiving multiple recommendations by people with darker skin tones in makeup tutorials and makeup photos.
In a word, you need to identify where your brand works best and where your audience wants you to be.
With a multitude of content-sharing features available on this platform, Facebook can be dubbed as “the” jack-for-all trades of social media. From educational content to videos, text posts, live streams, and even memes, to various forms of marketplace product listings, Facebook allows its users to post and share anything virtually.
While it requires you to have friends before you can actually start expanding your network, when it comes to your business page, you can seamlessly speed up this process through Facebook ads. This feature allows you to boost the engagement of your posts for a fee, depending on the number of users you want it to reach.
Besides views, likes, and comments, Facebook, akin to Yelp, TripAdvisor and other review sites, also allows customers to post their reviews of a particular brand. This feature is called Facebook Review.
Two hundred eighty characters can go a long way. Twitter’s limited character count is perfect for short posts, especially for an audience with a dwindling attention span. Live tweeting is also a thing mostly used when reacting live to something without having to livestream.
You can also capitalize on Twitter hashtags to filter content or create trends.
Wendy’s Twitter account is famous for its witty and hilarious interaction with other users and even fellow brands, resulting in multiple compilations and memes. Some users would even actively endeavor to interact with the fast food chain, the opposite to the common reaction when encountering corporate promotions.
The successor to Vine, it also specializes in short videos, but with a maximum limit of two minutes and twenty seconds.
This site encourages replication, especially for popular trends, and the easy “swipe-able” format also makes these short blurbs easy to consume. Some brands also use this site to post glimpses behind the scenes, like how the NBA TikTok shows player antics outside the game.
Like Twitter, you can also capitalize on hashtags and the new TikTok for business to distribute in-feed ads.
This is a go-to for sharing visual content, the majority of which is photos. The photos can contain tags that can redirect directly to the product or the actual brand’s page. And if you have more than 10,000 followers, the Instagram Swipe Up feature is enabled. It allows you to add a link to your Instagram Story, and followers only need to swipe up to access it.
YouTube is the land of niche-focused video content. On YouTube, you can see all sorts of video content, such as product reviews, online shopping hauls, makeup tutorials, listing videos, and so much more—there is nearly limitless potential within the various communities of the network. Since it allows a user to upload 12-hour long video content, YouTube is undoubtedly the platform for product demonstrations, explainer videos, and PR packages.
What makes YouTube an ideal platform to turn customers into brand fans is the comment section. This is the place where you can interact with your prospective audience—the place where you can connect with them on a more personal level.
A customer’s continued support and trust in a brand is essential to its success. Out of all the ways to promote your business, UGC is the most cost-effective one because it is based on experience-driven content created by your audience.
Knowing the nuances of the different channels and networks helps marketers navigate the dynamic circumstances of social communities. You can identify customer needs, improve customer service, and most of all, build trust.
Of course, it doesn’t end with just being able to encourage UGC and interact with it. Not all UGC is created with the same intent. Some are beneficial, and some can cast a negative shadow over your brand. This is the internet, so fights and toxic environments can often break out in unmonitored forums and discussions. It is unfortunately common, especially in communities with a large following.
This is where user-generated content moderation services, like Chekkee, come into play. Chekkee is a reliable partner for your content-checking needs. Aided by the partnership of human and AI expertise, we can handle and adapt to varying online community structures and social dynamics.
Leave the cleanup duties to us.