how to use user generated content


Using user generated content (UGC) is a great way to take your small business marketing to the next level. With online ads increasing in cost and first page rank becoming harder to achieve, many businesses are using user-generated content to stay on top. And why not? Connecting with your target audience is paramount, now more than ever.


Your prospects, target audience, and customers are what makes your brand, so you need to pay attention to what they’re saying about you. User generated content is a great way to give your brand a more personal feel and involve your audience at the same time.


Below are 3 tips on how to use user generated content for your small business:




3 Tips to Transform Your Customers into Brand Advocates (UGC)



1. Reach Out to Your Followers


Social media is maybe the easiest way to keep your small business brand, products, services, and message in front of your preferred audience. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are outlets that many small business retailers, manufacturers, service companies, and distributors have found effective for their sales and marketing purposes.

Social media is also most likely the place where your current customers and target audience members are talking about their problems, concerns, how they resolved them, and the amazing services they received from you and your small business. Now more than ever, people are going online to read reviews and do research on a business before they make a decision.


Take advantage of user generated branding and put your positive UGC posts to work for you!

Do a search on your favorite social media sites for your business name, any trademarked products you have or carry, and hashtags that are popular for your market and industry. If you find a positive tweet, pin, or post about your small business, send the user a message asking if you can repost it (especially if there’s a personal image or video in the post). Sometimes it’s as simple as that! Your target audience will appreciate your business using user generated content because it gives evidence to your claims. 


However, whether you find positive or negative posts, how you choose to respond will make a big impact in the mind of that customer and others down the road. All user generated content can be beneficial if you have a strong user generated content strategy in place.



2. Set Expectations & Track Your Progress


Before you start posting heavily on social media, and then initiating and using UGC on your website and social media pages, you need to go in with a plan.

Here are some key questions you need to ask when creating any social media marketing plan and user generated content strategy:


What social media platforms will you be posting to? (You need to know which platforms your target audience uses most frequently)
What times should you post on social media? (Again, find out when your audience is most active)
How often should you be posting on social media? (You need to determine what your post engagement goals are)

Make sure you specifically nail down your answers to all the above questions and then create a posting schedule to support it. Create specific metric goals for your social media posting campaign detailing your engagement, shares, comments, CTA completion, website visit rates, and any other areas you want to target.   


Social Media Benefit

Once you have a comprehensive, solid social media plan in place, you need to have a way to track your progress. You can either use a social media posting and analytics platform (like Buffer, Hootsuite, SEMRush, and various others) or you can gather the data yourself and track it in an excel or Google sheets doc. Whatever is best for you and your small business. If you’re not tracking your social media performance, you’ll have no idea if your strategy is working, or if your small business is gaining anything from all the resources you’ve invested into your social media campaign.  

By tracking this data, you’ll be able to gage how involved your followers and target audience is with your business products and/or services. You will gain an understanding for what they like, their problems and concerns, and their general opinion when it comes to your small business.


The more you know about the way your target customers (and existing customers) perceive you, the easier it will be for your business to adapt and meet the customers needs.   

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3. Invite Your Target Audience to Get Involved


Before you post, make sure you answer these two questions:  


 Why should customers follow you on your social media pages?

 What’s in it for them?


If your business is already on various social media platforms, but you’re not seeing the engagement levels you want, try posting in the “stories” sections on Instagram and Facebook! These sections are featured at the top of every user’s newsfeed (if they follow you) and have areas where you can post images, short video clips, and present a more casual side of yourself and your small business.


When you post on social media, make sure you address your followers and viewers in your posts. Ask them to like your post, share it on their own pages and or in messages with their followers, and make sure to respond to their comments on your post. Be sure to include links and CTAs in the “bio” or “about” section of your social media profile. If you want to inspire your customers to generate content around your brand, you need to actively engage with them!


encourage your customers to get involved with your social media


Lastly, you can also create a CTA within a social media post that encourages followers or viewers to interact with your post and your page. For example, you can create a contest where contestants must follow your account, like the post, and then tag or share the post with 3 of their friends online to enter the running. The winner could win a free product you sell or a 15% discount off their next purchase.


Do something to make your followers, customers, and audience feel excited to interact with your business and brand!



In Conclusion


Using user generated content can be a powerful tool to increase brand awareness and promote your small business online. Nothing will attract new customers to your business the way positive feedback, reviews, and posts from your existing customers can. These 3 tips will help you encourage your audience to contribute and create user generated content about your business, strengthening your social media and small business presence online for years to come!