13 Strategies For Capturing And Marketing User-Generated Content


Getting people to hear about your brand and see what your business does is the goal of a good marketing strategy. Today, a growing number of companies include user-generated content (UGC), such as reviews, in their marketing, as these word-of-mouth endorsements are often seen as more trustworthy than any form of self-promotion.

The trick is knowing how to collect and present user-generated content in the most effective way for marketing purposes. To help guide your efforts, 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council share strategies for collecting and presenting content created by users.

Members of Forbes Agency Council detail strategies for collecting and marketing user-generated content.PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.

1. Create An Open Platform

User-generated content (UGC) is the most valuable because it’s genuine. Create an open platform via your website and allow guest blogs so users can share their experience. An even easier way is to share their posts on your social media so your followers can see real content from real users. User-generated content should be a big part of your content marketing strategy in 2019! – Tom La Vecchia, MBAX Factor Media

2. Ask For Permission

UGC can be fairly simple to collect. Passionate brand followers/advocates like to share. Everything from a contest to simply asking your followers for content can be effective. Having a defined strategy helps with focus. The one thing many brands forget is to ask permission before using UGC. There are a variety of platforms that exist to help brands streamline the “permission-seeking” process. – Brian McHaleBrandience

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies.Do I qualify?

3. Go Live

Creating live events that are rewarding for a brand’s audience and using those events (when advocates are closest to and deeply engaged with the brand) to include them in going forth and creating content is a very effective way to not only boost participation, but also to help ensure that what is created is relevant. – Brian SullivanSullivan Branding

4. Just Ask Your Community

It’s not all about you! Having different voices/users weigh in with real-time stories and use cases can help move your brand forward in ways you have not imagined. Everyone wants a chance to tell their story, and for marketers, this can be a powerful way to communicate value props and ideas through a variety of lenses. All you need to do is ask, and your community will respond with the best stories. – April Joy RudinThe Rudin Group

5. Offer Incentives

Social media contests associated with specific hashtags can be an effective way of driving user-generated content. With a unique hashtag and a worthwhile incentive, user-generated content campaigns can gain significant traction. – Jordan EdelsonAppetizer Mobile LLC

6. Make The Experience Exciting

Be creative with how customers can contribute. Give them an exciting experience or to-do item, one that makes them feel proud, eager, opinionated or keen to share. If I see one more airport security bin with “Join the Conversation” written at the bottom, I might lose my mind. No one cares. We only use Twitter to complain and get free flights anyway. Okay, that last bit is a little facetious. – Jez BabarczyNUU Group

7. Collect Customer Reviews

There is no user-generated content more credible or relevant than customer reviews of a business or product. We help our clients conduct Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to identify their top advocates, then incentivize those advocates to spread the word on review sites, social media, case studies and more. Every happy customer can be an influencer if their experiences are shared widely. – Scott BaradellIdea Grove

8. Design An Advocacy Strategy

User-generated content can be a great way to spark conversations, build trust and create engagement. First of all, define what goal you want to achieve, then ask your audience to participate by publishing UGC. Make your request clear and specific, including what content you look for and what aligns with the project you are working on. UGC is a great opportunity to build stronger engagement with your audience! – Daniela PavanThe Ad Store New York

9. Make It A Team Effort

Many of the best applications of user-generated content rely on immediacy. It’s important to collect, synthesize and make actionable your user-generated content. The best way to involve agency teams is to eliminate barriers: Provide them with full access, empower them as an extension of your team and work with them to scenario plan to make the most of the great content that is coming your way. – Chris CavanaughFreeman

10. Create Referral Programs

Create referral programs to drive organic expansion and reach a higher multiple of new prospects/customers/users. This serves as non-paid or “free” advertising since these users are acting, essentially, as brand ambassadors without your business incurring additional advertising or marketing fees to drive brand awareness and growth. – Jeeyan Rostam-AbadiHawke Media LLC

11. Become Friends With Superfans

Use social listening tools to identify brand loyalists. Search for, listen to and connect with them. Be proactive; give superfans exclusive access to your brand. Identify fans at events, build relationships and follow up with social shoutouts and Q&As. The more you engage fans, the more authentic content you’ll gather, and others will vie for the opportunity to connect as well. – Brian SalzmanRQ

12. Have Something Worth Sharing

If your brand is share-worthy, people won’t need an incentive to post it on social media. Focus on customer experiences when trying to increase UGC. How is your product? Is it novel? Is it memorable? Is it exceptional? Do users want people to know they interacted with your brand? If so, people will tag your profile or mark their location, allowing you to easily gather and re-share their content. – Benjamin CollinsLaughing Samurai

13. Try Out Cross Promotion

Cross promotion can be a great use of user-generated content. Share client success stories by giving them the platform to showcase their brand’s “wins.” Run contests for case study submissions and propose open-ended questions on social media to spark interest and get a conversation rolling. You need to make sure you give as much as you take—never forget how far a little reciprocity can go. – Bernard MayNational Positions

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies.

This article first appeared in www.forbes.com

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