Trust has always been an essential building block of customer loyalty and consistent conversions. But sadly, consumer trust as a whole is quickly dwindling. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer report, trust in businesses has declined and customers are more skeptical than ever of advertising and messages that come straight from a company.
However, in this time when confidence in businesses declines, consumers are far more willing to believe messaging from their peers and employees within a company.
This is exactly why user-generated content (UGC) can be so powerful for a brand to incorporate into their marketing strategies. Not only is this type of content more realistic and trustworthy in the eyes of consumers, in some cases, it is actually preferred. One study found that 88% of shoppers sought out UGC in the process of making a purchasing decision (at least occasionally), and 15% do this for every single purchase they make.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this: brands that ran UGC-fueled marketing campaigns reported significant boosts in revenue. In some cases, up to 226% higher numbers.
Ready to get your business on the UGC marketing train? Here are three easy starting points.
1. Keep an Eye on Customer Reviews for Inspiration
Hopefully by now you understand how influential consumer feedback can be for attracting future customers. In fact, 90% of online buyers report that they are less likely to buy or will take a longer time to decide to purchase if a website does not have any customer reviews listed.
However, this feedback can do much more than just provide insight to curious customers who are researching your business or product. They can also be an excellent source of inspiration for your next content marketing piece.
Trustpilot’s blog page shows an excellent example of this. The reviews of Trustpilot are generally positive, but some customers do express frustration with several of the features for this software system. Trustpilot wisely used this negative feedback to fuel their next content marketing campaign where they touched on common pain points. They even took their customers’ advice to heart and opted for a re-brand that included far more features and resolved many of the issues that were mentioned in their reviews.
Another way to incorporate more reviews into your content is to create pieces around feedback. Post word-for-word reviews on your social media page or post customer testimonials directly on your website.
Be sure that you closely monitor your own customer reviews so you are aware of consumer sentiment towards your brand and products. Using feedback to fuel innovation and improvement within your business shows to both old and new customers that their opinions are important.
2. Utilize Your Internal Advocates
Remember, according to Edelman’s report, consumers are far more likely to trust messaging from an employee of a company, rather than the CEO or marketing department. Turning your team into advocates through social media and content marketing is excellent for reaching audiences in a truly genuine way.
Get your employees onboard with social advocacy by explaining the benefits it offers to both the company and to themselves. According to a study by Hinge Marketing, firms that encouraged internal advocacy reported increases in brand recognition, website traffic, and conversion rates. But it is not just the firm that benefits; employees who participated saw several benefits to their own careers, such as a larger professional network and a positive impact on their personal brand.
Once your team understands how influential their social presence can be to your brand, make it as easy as possible for them to advocate for it. Compile a library of branded material, such as internal links, articles written about the company, or pictures that showcase a positive company culture. Be sure to recognize their efforts, too, and thank them for participating.
3. Capitalize on Social Pages
Encouraging your followers to share their content and be featured on your branded social page is a great way to gather engaging content that other customers will appreciate. Regularly sharing your devoted followers’ pictures using your product or service on a branded social page is an excellent way to show your audience how customer-focused you are. In turn, this will provide a more “realistic” preview of your brand values.
One of the best outlets for this is Instagram, since it is so visually focused. Many ecommerce brands have been able to capitalize on their followers’ content by asking their customers to share their experiences and featuring their pictures on the brand’s official page, along with a branded hashtag so the content can be easily searched.
You can jumpstart this library of UGC by simply asking your audience to share pictures or videos. A little bit of incentive may be necessary, especially at first. Try hosting a UGC fueled contest or make them “micro-influencers” themselves by sending personal discount codes that can be shared on their social pages. And, of course, if you do decide to use their content on your brand’s page, be sure to ask their permission first.
Customers appreciate authenticity from brands, and using content that is created by “real people” instead of your marketing department is an effective way to create a more relatable message.
Be sure to listen to your customers and use their opinions and feedback as a starting point for relevant content. From there, create advocates out of the two best resources every business has: their customers and their employees. Encourage their participation and share their content regularly for an incredibly honest and trustworthy marketing strategy that inspires trust, and ultimately, conversions.