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How to get and leverage user-generated content

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Dec. 21, 2015
Content marketing pros share their top tips on the best ways to acquire customer reviews, ratings, photos and videos -- and they also tell you how to use this content to your advantage.

“In addition to social and digital, retailers [should] also consider signage at their physical stores,” says Carrie Middlemiss, U.S. director of marketing, Metia, a digital marketing agency. “Brands can engage with their customers through [in-store] messaging encouraging customers to share photos on their shopping experiences with a unique hashtag [online].” They can then “interact with contributors [online] and repost [the] best content.”

5. Hold a contest. “Competitions are a great way of encouraging user-generated content,” says Patrick Tonks, director at Great Bean Bags. “Last year we launched a bean bag competition where we asked customers to post images of how they're using our bean bags to our website. The more creative the entries, the better chance they had of winning! We had a dedicated competition area on the site and users were encouraged to share their entries via social media. The competition received 81 entries in the end and received over 10,000 additional landing page visits over the course of three months.”

“Consumers love a good contest,” adds Jim Rudden, CMO, Spredfast, a social media experience platform. “The other day I saw BeachBody's Instructor of the Year competition, and it's entirely driven by UGC content. To submit you have to create a video, and to win you have to get the most votes. The contest is a win-win since the brand gets to learn more about its audience and the audience gets the chance to win prizes.”

6. Reward customers for leaving a review. “It’s important to let your customers who do participate in UGC campaigns know that you appreciate them for creating and sharing content,” says Matt Ryan, director of Sales, Yotpo, a customer content marketing solution provider. So “incentivize them by giving rewards, like coupons, for sharing content and getting other people involved.”

“To encourage reviews, we send an email out after all orders have been delivered, thanking the customer for their purchase and inviting them to review the product,” says Andrew Horner-Glister, owner, MCA Leicester, a provider of motorcycle accessories. “We incentivize this by offering the customer a 10 percent discount off their next purchase if they leave a review.”

Final words of advice

“No matter what content you're looking for – feedback, star ratings, images – you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to share,” says Ryan. “When requesting content, the call to action should be clear, and the submission process should be simple with little navigation. This is probably the most effective way to boost your UGC return.

“The most common reason people get turned away from participating in UGC campaigns is because it’s simply too difficult or time-consuming,” he explains. So “make the process simple, [something] that customers can do on the go, like snapping a photo and uploading it to Instagram or Pinterest.”


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