The internet has created a number of social media and review sites that play a very important role in decision making and forming opinions about a complete range of products and services. 25% of search results are made up of these review and UGC orientated sites making them very powerful. As various reports have shown gen-Y or millennials, following the baby boomers, constitute a major part of purchases and internet activity. They are group orientated buyers, primarily because they have been influenced by their baby boomer parents who have similar characteristics. 73% of millennials said that consumers care more about customers reviews than businesses does. That clearly presents the power of UGC.
Since people have seen the value in receiving this information together with physiological propensity to be part of a rich and valuable community, naturally want to add their own opinions and to be part of the group of people.
So with that information you should be prepared to incorporate various UGC strategies into your website and general business model to improve your relationship and engagement with your customers. UGC can help customers make accurate choices in choosing our products. You can tell them more about your products in an unbiased and balanced format. These reviews can help by reducing the costs on your business to provide additional services to help your customers make those decisions.
A very relevant example shows the value and benefit in increased sales. A company selling carpets sold a red rug. The picture was helpful but the customer wasn’t sure about the shade and really wanted it to match other features in the room she was buying for. Helpful reviews told her that the shade was darker than shown in the picture. That valuable feedback/UGC gave benefited the customer, giving her confidence that what she was buying was the right thing. It help the business to highlight the picture was not absolutely accurate and that changing the picture may help in the future. So a simple review engaged the public, it assisted in a sale and it proposed future business improvements.
Search engine optimization will get a further boost in the right direction with UGC. Staying relevant and providing customers and the general public with helpful information will always ensure an optimized website.
People are bombarded with marketing campaigns. Customers know how biased these campaigns can be. UGC gives an unbiased trustworthiness to your product and brand and can easily sway people’s opinions.
You need to be prepared that some of these reviews and discussions about your products and services will not always appear to favor you. Negative comments can be damaging and effect business. If you recognize the opportunity to get direct feedback and act upon it the results can be impressive for your business in increased exposure and sales.
It is easy for these strategies to work for your business. You really only have to ask. By simply saying ‘we would love to hear what you think about this product’ or how was your holiday send us your favorite pictures, you will find that your customers will be happy to take part. You can to put the content from your customers in a really engaging space and they will likely feel comfortable to join in. Creating an easy way for customers to rate and comment on products and services will also allow your customers to respond. Adding a share button is a great way to encourage your customers to then share their views and ratings on social media sites and will increase the effectiveness of the UGC. You can also integrate a facebook comment section under each of your products to facilitate feedback and reviews.
Rewarding customers directly with vouchers or discounts can generate impressive responses. An idea could be to send a discount code once a review has been submitted. Another successful approach are competitions, best picture competition or most creative results submissions using your software does not just showcase your products in a great way but the engagement and valuable reviews will generate further interest in your product.
Your complete marketing mix can be aligned to generate content from users from all sources. Blogs and news content should be engaging and lead the reader to give their opinion or experience of the product or company. This applies to your videos on YouTube, pictures on Pinterest and even our customer services team can be trained to invite reviews as part of their goals when speaking with your customers.
Apart from engaging with your customers in general there is an opportunity to connect with customers that really like what we are doing and receive really great content from them. You can develop some good ways that work alongside your general UGC strategy to get a great response. When we engage directly with these groups we are likely to get really great content and great reviews. This group can drive and build an interesting selection of responses.
There is an issue with reviews and generating content that more often than not the submission is a few words. These submissions are great and far more valuable to the customers than our business. Some businesses arrange partnership between their business and a customer. The customer gets to use the product in return for good reviews. Another possible approach is if you simply indicate what you think are really good reviews and that will gradually promote better content.
If your business is working exclusively with other businesses you can have similar success with the same strategies. It might be helpful to be a little gentler with encouraging other businesses to write a response or review once they have done business with you. You could add, as part of a follow-up email after payment, an encouraging word about a response or review. Changes can be made to develop the strategies and ideas to communicate with a corporate or business market, enjoying the same powerful exposure UGC can bring to the table.