Social Buzz: How user-generated content can ‘level up’ your company’s marketing game | nnbusinessview.com

Social Buzz: How user-generated content can ‘level up’ your company’s marketing game

Caren Roblin
croblin@swiftcom.com

RENO, Nev. — Ah, the holiday season. That time of year where you most likely have even less time to create content for your social media presence than ever before.

Enter user-generated content. This is content created by your audience that reflects your brand in some way. While marketers may think of social media content first, it also can include product reviews, videos, blogs and other formats.

But beyond being a time saver when compared to organically created brand content, there's a number of benefits to using it.

If UGC is not already part of your marketing plan, here's why it should be:

“Encourage your audience to share their content with you. Increased engagement can naturally lead to brand loyalty and advocacy.”

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It's a fantastic way to further engage with your audience

Replies and retweets are great and all, but sharing someone's photo (and giving them credit, of course) is a high-value engagement action, for sure.

According to comScore, brand engagement increases an average of 28 percent when users are exposed to a combination of user-created product videos and professional content.

There are a number of different ways to share or repurpose user content, but no matter how you do it, your audience will enjoy seeing themselves reflected in your branded posts.

Your competitors are probably already using it

UGC isn't new. And if your competitors aren't already using it, then you definitely can get a leg up by diving into it yourself.

An easy start would be to look through your Yelp reviews. Contact the user who wrote a positive review, ask if you can share their review on your brand's social accounts and ask for an image you can use (whether it's just of them or them with your product, etc.) and start there.

Asking for permission has some legal securities tied to it, but really, it's just great social media etiquette.

You can create a sense of brand advocacy

The most powerful form of marketing these days is inspiring word of mouth, making your customers your brand advocates … those who encourage their friends to try your product or service or even defend your brand in a comment thread turned negative.

And for obvious reasons, social media makes their voices louder than ever.

According to Adweek, 93 percent of consumers consider UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision. And 70 percent of consumers trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy, according to The Guardian.

Encourage your audience to share their content with you. Increased engagement can naturally lead to brand loyalty and advocacy.

It supports a greater content mix in the new-ish world of restrictive algorithms

This isn't the first (or last) time I've mentioned the word "algorithm." But if this is your first time hearing it, just know that platform algorithms control what content users see in their feeds at any given time.

Algorithms look for signals like past engagement and connections to essentially offer content it thinks a user will like and engage with.

What this means for pages (especially since Facebook has prioritized friend content over page content) is that it's tougher than ever to get your content seen by even those who like and follow your page. Instagram and Twitter also use some form of algorithm as well.

But a mix of content is the first step into getting more organic reach, as well as more engagement. UGC naturally keeps your content mix fresh–and therefore, optimizes your posts to do that much better within the algorithm system.

So, whether it's a simple timesaver or a way to step up your marketing game, UGC is important to your online strategy moving forward.

Stay tuned for next month's column to get tips on how to find and share user-generated content on social media.

Looking for more guidance when it comes to all things social media management and optimization? Contact my colleague, Brook Bentley, social media and content manager at Sierra Nevada Media Group, at bbentley@sierranevadamedia.com for a free social media audit for your business.

Caren Roblin is Director of Content at Sierra Nevada Media Group, which publishes the Northern Nevada Business View. Reach her at croblin@sierranevadamedia.com.