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How to Save Time and Leverage User Generated Content

By: SmallBizClub

 

Leverage User Generated Content

As a small business owner, you understand that time is money. That’s why you want to spend as much of it on generating leads and closing new business. That being said, you also understand that in today’s digital world, content is king and it’s often what helps those leads decide whether or not they want to do business with you.

But content takes time—time that you don’t have. It also takes patience and planning—again, something you might not have enough of right now. And effective content also needs to be well-written—which might not be your forte. Short of hiring a full-time copywriter or spending countless hours every week trying to create content for your website and social media, what do you do?

Creating content is no easy task. There’s no denying that. Nevertheless, it needs to be done. This is why user-generated content (or UGC) comes in handy for the startup or small business owner who’s short on time and strapped for cash.

The Benefits of User-Generated Content

With social media taking a front seat in so many people’s personal and professional lives, it’s made the process of connecting to consumers so much easier. No longer do business owners have to conduct cold call after cold call, hoping to reach someone, anyone, who’s interested in what they’re selling. Nope, now social media helps you connect to your audience. And it’s this connection that you can now leverage for your content marketing strategy.

User-generated content is just what the name implies: it’s content (photos, videos, and even testimonials or reviews) that your users, or customers, create. Sure, there is always a risk that someone will post something on social that shows how a product was defective or how a service failed, but those are far and few between. Your goal is to find the ones that paint the most accurate and positive story about your brand.

Here are some of the other benefits of user-generated content:

  • Time: Your customers are making this content on their own, which means you don’t have to toil away for hours trying to take a perfect photo or write a killer blog.
  • Cost: It’s free! (Unless you’re using incentives.)
  • Authenticity: What you see is what you get with UGC.
  • Loyalty: It makes your customers feel more connected when they see that you’re listening and willing to share their photos and insights with others on your social media and blog.
  • Social Proof: Customers love to see what your products or services look like through the eyes of other consumers (both literally and figuratively).
  • SEO: If one of those photos or videos performs well enough on social media or your website, that’s another ranking opportunity for your brand in search.
  • Feedback: UGC is often a good indicator of how well you’re doing and can help you provide better products and services if you know what your customers really love.

How to Curate User-Generated Content

Luckily enough, because people often use social media as a sounding board for their thoughts on, well, pretty much everything, it’s now incredibly easy to find content about your brand that was made by others. Here are some of the ways you can go about curating that content:

  1. Set up alerts on social media and in Google search for your company’s name as well as the services or products you believe are share-worthy.
  2. Create a community on your website. This could be a blog subscription, a membership with special privileges, or a forum for your customers to share their feedback.
  3. Encourage customers on social media by engaging with their content. Let them know you’re paying attention and are grateful for their support.
  4. Use strategic hashtags and campaigns for your products and services, so customers know how to label their user-generated content.
  5. Provide incentives for customers that have content worth sharing. Run contests, offer gift cards, provide discounts on your services, give special shout-outs on your blog, and more to inspire them to take a photo of your recently launched product or to demonstrate how your service helped them save 30 minutes every morning.

Just remember that you don’t want to resort to begging here. The whole reason why user-generated content tends to be so effective in content marketing is because of its authenticity. If you have to beg customers to create content or out-and-out pay them to do so, you might as well spend the time creating it on your own.

And one more thing: don’t forget to keep it in motion. Put UGC on your site. Use it on your product pages. Write about it on your blog. Put it on your social media. And keep promoting it! This content is incredibly valuable to you and highly appreciated by your audience, so make the most of it.

Author: Nathan Oulman loves to contribute around the net on all topics. He loves marketing, when he is not busy he manages his site Dailyhosting .

Published: June 9, 2017
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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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