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Why you should be encouraging user-generated content

Builds trust and promotes authenticity.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 95% of us will read a review before we make a purchase. If that doesn’t tell you the power of a testimonial, we don’t know what will. That third-party endorsement goes a long way. Of course YOU’RE going to say your offering is the bee’s knees. But if your end users can verify that, chances are that potential customers are going to believe them over you (no offence).

These days, you’ve got written and visual testimonials at your disposal. Make the most of images and video. If you’re selling a product, ask for video reviews or demonstrations. Request that people upload photos of themselves wearing the clothes or using the product  and share it with their friends. That’s the way to spread a brand message.

In the early days of ‘influencer’ culture, reviews and ‘hauls’ would be watched by millions. Seeing someone who was ‘just like you’ testing out the products that you were interested in gave you a better sense of what you were buying into. It was oh-so-relatable. This has naturally evolved over the years, with more and more influencers now taking on paid advertising. This has led to some viewers arguing that some of the authenticity of earlier content has been lost (but that’s a whole other blog …).

Create brand awareness

Businesses will spend a lot of time and a lot of money getting their brand out there. And don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting this is a bad idea. However, when you think about the plethora of social media users out there (there were 1 billion users on Instagram alone in 2020), you’ve got a massive community that can help – if you engage with them in the right way, of course.

Now, unless you’re Kim Kardashian, you’re going to need to build a relationship with your audience before they’ll engage with your business and help you spread the word. Note the emphasis on the word, ‘help’. It’s about give and take. You’ve got to provide a value proposition that your audience will buy into.

Giveaways and other competitions have become a popular way of building a community. Usually, a company will give away free products or services in exchange for users tagging their friends, sharing the post and following the page. It’s a win win for both.

Let your customers know they’re valued

When you use community-generated content, it sends a message to your customer that you value their opinion. It also creates opportunities for direct communication. For example, it’s best practice to ask permission before using such content on your website or social accounts.

Take clothing retailer Monki for example. They’ll often have user-generated images displayed on their product pages. These are credited to the person who created the images, but also give Monki customers a chance to see what the garment looks like on a real human. Again, it’s a win-win for both the content creator and the brand.

You see a pattern emerging here?

While we’re in yet another national lockdown, to ignore user-generated content is just plain bonkers. When you can’t physically be with your customers, you need to find other creative and inspiring ways to engage with them. Companies who chose not to do that haven’t fared well; you only have to look at the high street for confirmation of that.

User-generated content gives you the perfect opportunity to build community, spread brand awareness and engage directly with the people using your product or service.

If you’ve read this and have a sudden nagging feeling that something is missing from your digital strategy for 2021, Bobble Digital can help you on the right path. Get in touch with us, and let’s get that conversation between you and your users started.