Like it or not social media has changed the game for small business, while it may feel like one more thing to add to your plate, and you you're not wrong, it also provides your business with a way to directly connect with potential customers and build their brand, without spending millions of advertising dollars like the big guys. One excellent, and potentially low-lift on your side, way do this is through user-generated content (UGC). If you are wondering, what the heck is UGC?
UGC is content created by customers or fans of a brand, which can include photos, videos, reviews, and other forms of media.
Yep you heard that right, your customers create your content for you. For free. Do I have your attention now? If so let's jump right in and talk about how small businesses can leverage UGC to boost their social media presence and grow their brand.
Why UGC matters
UGC is powerful because it provides social proof of a brand's value and quality. When customers share their experience about how a product or service has directly helped them, they are effectively putting their stamp of endorsement on it to their followers, and people are much more likely to believe the opinions of people they already know. This helps small businesses not only build trust and credibility, but gives you an added bonus of increased engagement and on social media.
Another benefit of UGC is that it is often more authentic and relatable than branded content. Customers trust the opinions of their peers more than they trust advertising, which can make UGC more effective at converting social media followers into customers.
So, how can small businesses get more UGC on social media?
Here are some tips:
1. Encourage customers to share their experiences
The first step to getting more UGC on social media is to encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand. You can do this by adding calls-to-action to your social media posts and website, asking customers to share photos or videos of themselves using your product or service.
Another way to encourage UGC is to hold a social media contest. For example, you could ask customers to share their best photo of themselves using your product, and offer a prize to the winner. This can be a fun way to get customers more involved with your brand, and if it's a brand that resonates with their lifestyle or business they will be excited to be featured on your page for the social or business clout.
2. Use branded hashtags
Branded hashtags are an effective way to encourage UGC on social media. By creating a unique hashtag for your brand, you can make it easy for customers to find and share content related to your products or services.
To encourage customers to use your branded hashtag, you can include it in your social media posts and website, and ask customers to use it when they share photos or videos of themselves using your product or service. You can also offer incentives, such as featuring the best UGC on your social media accounts or offering a prize for the best use of your hashtag.
3. Showcase UGC on your social media accounts
Once you start getting UGC, it's important to showcase it on your social media accounts. This can help build trust and credibility with your followers, as well as encourage more customers to share their experiences with your brand.
To showcase UGC on your social media accounts, you can repost customer photos or videos, or create a dedicated UGC section on your website or social media profile. You can also use UGC to create social media ads or sponsored posts, which can be highly effective at converting followers into customers.
4. Collaborate with influencers
Influencers can be a powerful way to generate UGC on social media. By partnering with influencers in your niche, you can reach a wider audience and encourage more customers to share their experiences with your brand.
To collaborate with influencers, you can offer them free products or services in exchange for creating UGC related to your brand. You can also offer them a commission on sales generated through their UGC, or pay them for sponsored posts or social media ads.
5. Provide excellent customer service
Finally, it's important to provide excellent customer service if you want to generate UGC on social media. When customers have a positive experience with your brand, they are more likely to share it with others on social media.
You can also go above and beyond by offering personalized recommendations or surprise and delight gestures, such as offering a discount or free product. The more positive experiences customers have with your brand the more likely they are to go through the effort it takes to share these experiences with their network.
By encouraging customers to share their experiences, using branded hashtags, showcasing UGC on social media, collaborating with influencers, and providing excellent customer service, small businesses can generate more UGC and reap the benefits of social proof and authentic, relatable content.
Getting started with the above ideas to generate UGC will take time and effort, but the payoff can be huge. and hopefully the more effort you put upfront the more your followers will be encouraged to keep creating this content for you without being prompted!
By leveraging UGC, small businesses can increase their social media following, engage with customers, and build trust and credibility in their brand. So, start implementing these strategies today and watch your social media presence soar!