Tips to maximize your UGC Strategy
In previous posts such as What is UGC? or UGC and online reviews we talked about the importance of user generated content (UGC) and how online businesses gain trust by allowing their users to interpret their brands and spread the word; but how can we have control over this type of content?
UGC allows any website to add inspiring brand-referencing material to their products, services or campaigns, turning their customers into their own brand advocates. However, we must keep in mind that it differs from regular web content as it’s not predictable nor repeatable, so it’s important to develop a content strategy that’s specifically focused on UGC.
Before anything, it’s essential to know the different types of user generated content and be clear about the ones that are relevant to your specific needs:
- Social networking – e.g. Twitter tweets and Facebook comments
- Question-answer via email, feedback forms and call centres
- Polls and surveys
- Ratings and reviews
- Quotes and testimonials
- Customer stories – e.g. case studies and guest blog posts
- Blogs and Microblogging
- User discussions on forums
- Podcasting and Digital video – e.g. Youtube or Vimeo
In order to develop a good UGC strategy, you have to know what your aim is; whether your strategy is to improve SEO, keep users on your site for as long as possible, increase views or build a sense of community. Customer reviews and conversations amongst users will act as a virtual Word-of-Mouth about your brand and its services, providing unique content and important keywords for search engine ranking. You also must know your brand’s current engagement level so you can align goals accordingly. Don’t forget to ensure your business is adhering to all terms or service and end-user agreements from the social networks and platforms from which your content is coming.
Time is of the essence and is crucial for your content-acquisition plan. It all comes down to your audience so before defining the strategy, it’s vital to understand and define your target, the type of content your users need, want or expect, and whether they are likely to contribute. The key is to engage with the right people, in the right place and at the right moment.
Once this is clear, you need the appropriate tool to help you create and manage this type of content on your website. You must have enough resources and the right technical infrastructure to manage this yourself or you can rely on specific platforms that can help you accomplish your marketing goals. It’s also important to have the right tool to measure success well, before and after launch. Lastly, let’s not forget about the display; your UGC should be packaged in a visually appealing manner, which is why having the correct the platform is vital.
Communify is a great example for this as it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and low cost community software through which you can own and manage your online community through an all-in-one platform including customizable widgets that don’t alter your site and a moderator for the reviews and conversations so you can control what’s said and avoid inappropriate and damaging content. You can create microposts, start conversations to gain trust and feedback, benefit from promoted content from external media and so much more, all directly from this advanced marketing tool. To find out more about Communify click here.
Once all your ingredients are set, you are ready to guide your users towards the conversations of your choice by giving them a creative way of telling their story. But you have to be careful with how you start the topic; if you begin a discussion with a broad question or subject you will end up with broad content from your users, adding no value to your marketing.
Context and relevancy are also key; how and where the content is placed will make it go much further and have more meaning to the audience.
Communication is a two way street, so when you create your online community and engage your users, you have to take it as an exchange of benefits and show them that you value the time they spent on your community. When a consumer writes their opinion or engages in a conversation, they expect some sort of reaction or effect, so it’s important to listen and be responsive by answering their queries and taking their opinion into account.
Last but not least, once it’s in place, it’s fundamental to keep it alive. You can set up an editorial or promotional strategy to sustain the audience base over time, or you can schedule new promotions and updates so users don’t get bored and continue to engage.
Request a demo with Communify and see the benefits of UGC for yourself.
This post is also available in: Spanish