Council Post: 11 Smart Ways Marketers Can Leverage User-Generated Content

Council Post: 11 Smart Ways Marketers Can Leverage User-Generated Content

When marketers leverage user-generated content, it is to ensure the target audience that their feedback and opinions are being considered. That means being open to more customer reviews, comments or any other type of feedback. Having an SEO-friendly program and spreading content on multiple channels are just some ways that companies leverage user-generated content in a smart, successful way for their audience.

Most companies have their own unique way of using user-generated content to their full advantage and to bring more brand awareness. Below, 11 Forbes Communications Council members discuss various ways on how to do that.

Running a brand ambassador program can be the game-changer element when it comes to user-generated content. In my experience of helping over 14 companies run their brand ambassador programs at Afleet.io, we have realized that when you reward your most valuable community members for creating user-generated content, they become your micro-influencers and flag-bearers to spread your word. -Himanshu Bisht,withhimanshu.com

Obviously, you value this type of content. So you must make sure you take full advantage by ensuring your platform is SEO-friendly since Google values it a lot. Also, you need to ensure you set a perimeter for the topics you want your audience to talk about since people love to be a specialist. Lastly, you must monitor it carefully. It would be good to ask fellow visitors to become your forum admin. -Anthony Wong,Attensi

Social media has essentially given us the ability to exponentially increase the size of our marketing team through leveraging employees as advocates. It's so much more authentic when a user creates their content, and the company shares it as opposed to the other way around. It's a great, cost-effective branding tool that all companies need to take advantage of. -Rosie Guest,Apex Group Ltd.

User-generated content can be a powerful marketing tool. Customers trust other customers and UGC is a great way to harness that trust. Featuring user-generated content on your website and social media channels can help build brand awareness, increase customer confidence and accelerate sales. Ensure you give the content creator proper credit to continue fostering the relationship. -Tony Liau,Object First

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Leverage user-generated content across your own digital channels to showcase third-party validation. For example, utilizing your brand’s consumer reviews, which are authentic, provides that immediate third-party validation. It is a viable, cost-effective marketing tool and breaks up your heavily branded content. -Monica Ho,SOCi

User-generated content can be an excellent way to tell an authentic story. Ask your audience to share stories that are meaningful to the problems you are solving as a business, and then share those stories with empathy. If you have real customers that have real problems, have them participate in talking about their problems (or the solutions) to better connect with your broader audience. -Jonathan Sasse,Metova

User-generated content is powerful when trying to build awareness and influence your target audience. Showcasing the shared voices of your customers is a great way to humanize your brand, business and content. Consider things like crowd-sourced blog posts, testimonials and quotes in press releases to add a third-party perspective. -Michelle Huff,UserTesting

8. Using Insights From Your Audience

User-generated content is an immensely valuable listening tool for marketers. What better way to understand what audiences are looking for than to hear it from them directly? When used to gather audience insights, UGC can often serve as a strong jumping-off point for marketing content, pitches and even whole campaigns. -Alyssa Kopelman,Healthline Media

We can repurpose user-generated content as testimonials. Providing social proof of how a product or service helped a user solve their problem speaks volumes about the brand. A prospective customer is more likely to relate to someone who has experienced the same issues. Testimonials can add value and provide a source of reassurance. -Anthony Kennedy,ION

Featuring credible content that showcases your brand by resharing it on your digital platforms or creating a campaign that includes quality user-generated content will help improve your brand reputation. Whether the brand encourages and asks for content or it is organically produced and posted online by users, it provides ideal opportunities to engage new audiences and expand its reach. -Maura Kennedy,Strategic Elements

First, user content is a sounding board to understand how to improve. Second, determine if user content should be in your marketing. If so, know that it has positive and negative sides. Instead of republishing hand-picked, “Pollyanna” fluff about the greatness of your company, write about how a customer complaint or suggestion made you better. It will show that you listen, care and are human. -Rob Wyse,Robert Wyse

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