Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 | 6 min read
It’s easy to get caught up in creating great marketing content. Producing your own materials is crucial to your brand’s success, of course, but you also need to pay attention to the content consumers are creating about your business. No matter how awesome your blog posts or videos are, online feedback from consumers can have a significant effect on your brand’s reputation. And if someone Googles your company and sees a one-star review (or even a three-star review), they won’t hesitate to find a competitor.
That’s the reality brands live in today. You can have the biggest marketing team in your industry but still lack 100% control of your brand’s message. Consumers can always take to social media, review boards, and comments sections to say whatever they want about your company. Not only are these third-party sources abundant and easy to find, but your potential customers take them seriously. After all, people trust people more than they trust brands; 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
That’s why marketers need to look outside of their own media properties and find advocates who can help create user-generated content on behalf of their brand. This way, you can reach new audiences and even outsource some of the legwork that goes into producing content!
Not sure where to start looking? Here are three different sources you can tap into.
If you’ve ever chosen a product or service based on a Yelp, Foursquare, or Google review, you’re not alone. According to research from Moz, over 67% of customers say that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
While you can’t control reviews, you can influence them by working with your customers and helping them become brand advocates. For example, let’s say your brand offers a popular app that tracks repeat users who seem to be having a good experience. After their third visit, the app can prompt them to provide a review, which will build positive feedback and help counter any bad reviews.
It’s worth the extra trouble to add these prompts. As Kahuna found, jumping from a two-star review to a four-star review can drive a whopping 540% increase in conversions.
Your social reach doesn’t have to be limited to your owned channels. There are plenty of consultants, thought leaders, and potential brand partners out there with massive audiences that you can tap into. While your brand might have 30,000 Twitter followers, an influencer in your industry could have 250,000.
By working with these influencers, you’ll not only expand your reach, but you’ll also gain credibility by teaming up with someone your customers admire. For instance, the food blog, Food Republic, invited chefs to take over the brand’s Instagram and share some of their favorite recipes and restaurants.
Take this post, which came from London-based chef Nina Parker.
If you’re having trouble growing and engaging your audience, influencer marketing is a much easier, cheaper, and faster solution than buying streams of social ads and emailing your database over and over again.
Not all of your customers are industry icons and connoisseurs, but your everyday fans and users can still provide valuable user-generated content and influence their own social circles. As Nielsen reported, 83% of customers trust product recommendations from friends and family. Why not start giving your audience prompts and incentives to post content that their friends and family can see?
For example, as part of an effort to invest $1 billion in education by the end of 2015, Target provided millions of dollars in scholarship money to kids applying to college. To spread the word, the company created a heartwarming ad featuring crowdsourced videos showing people opening their college acceptance letters. The unpolished, homemade clips give the commercial an authentic feel.
Beyond high-profile influencers and tricky app reviews, any user who likes your product and is passionate about your brand is a potential source for great user-generated content.
In order to build your strongest team of brand advocates, you need to look beyond your owned media properties. From the marketer’s seat, it may feel like the whole world of your brand exists on your website and social pages. But remember that your customer’s world stretches way beyond that. And you can tap into brand advocates to create user-generated content for those outside audiences.
The truth is, if customers are reviewing your brand and using your products, that means you’ve already done the hardest part: You’ve gotten people’s attention. User-generated content created through reviews, influencers, and everyday fans just allows you to keep that attention and harness it for greater reach.