User-generated content – what is it? Why is it important? How can I use to grow my business?
The Fastnet Agency founder Sarah is back with everything you need to know about user-generated content, as well as 5 ways you can use it to really boost your business.
You’ll find lots of ideas about how to create more of this valuable content, and we’ll take you through the do and don’ts for user generated content.
Scroll down for the transcript if you prefer to read rather than watch, and as always, feel free to share this with any small business owners you know who may benefit from our top tips.
We’ll have a new episode each week, which will appear here & on our YouTube channel (if you subscribe there you won’t miss one).
Got questions about anything in the video? Drop us a line or give us a call at Fastnet HQ.
“So if you run an ecommerce store, chances are you’ve heard about user-generated content, but do you really know what it is? Or how to get user-generated content? And why do you even need it in the first place?
Well, we’re going to cover all of that in today’s video, and you’ll find out why, actually, user-generated content is one of the key tactics to growing your ecommerce store, not only quickly, but also very cheaply because you’re getting your customers to do all the promotion for you. So for the best advice on how to grow your ecommerce store quickly and sustainably, then check out my videos, I release a new video every Thursday. Hit the subscribe button and ring the bell too, and then you’ll be notified every week when my new videos come out.
So I’m Sarah, I’m founder of The Fastnet Agency, and we help exciting, up-and- coming new ecommerce stores to scale quickly and sustainably using the power of digital marketing. So stay tuned, and let’s get into the video. So what is user-generated content? Well, actually, it’s really, really simple.
All user-generated content is, is your customers creating content for you. Now this is a thing, really, because of social media, particularly, Instagram. So what happens? Well, somebody buys a product like this coffee cup just here. They take it, home, they enjoy it, they like it and they maybe take a picture of it showing how it fits into their home setting. Or maybe they create a little video, all about how they’re really enjoying their new coffee cup. Now I know it’s a bit of a naff example, but you can kind of see what I mean.
People are engaging on social media all of the time, and they like to show people, their friends, their family, their followers, what they’re doing and what they’re engaging with, and what brands they’re engaging with, so it is part of their, sort of, identity as a person in some ways. And so what you find is that people do start mentioning the brands and the products that they’re using, particularly if they really buy into that brand or product, they think it’s a really good thing.
So, really, what user-generated content is is making the most of that, it’s having a system, a methodology for being able to take that content which is already being generated every day, making sure that you understand when your brand is being mentioned, and knowing what to do with that. And that’s what we’re going to cover in this video.
Now, do you run an eommerce store? Have you tried using user-generated content to grow your business? How have you found it? Do you even know where to start? I’d love to know your comments on how you found this for your business. So yeah, pop a comment below and let’s get the conversation started. Now here are my top five ways to gather user-generated content and make the most of it.
Number one. If you’re shipping physical products, you’ve got a prime opportunity here to insert a little call to action into the packages that you’re sending out. It’s relatively low-cost, it’s super simple, it really works. Really, all this needs is something a bit like a business card, something along those lines. You could make it fancy by having a little QR code on it, if you like, if not just include links to your social channels, whatever social channels they are, and encourage people to leave their feedback via social. So if I was sending out this coffee cup, it might be as simple as just inserting a little card and saying, you know, let us know what this coffee cup looks like on your table at home… Send us a snap via Instagram or via Facebook, and let us know how this fits into your life. Or show us your coffee cup at work or something along those lines, which encourages people to actively go away and do that.
Tip number two is having some sort of incentive, so it could be that you have your customer of the month competition, and every month you go through all of the user-generated content and you pick out one customer that’s your customer of the month and they win a prize. Or it could be that you just randomly give away things to people that produce good content for you, and the better the content, the better the giveaway, and you kind of leave it up to your own discretion. But you advertise the fact that you do that, so you can create incentives to encourage people to produce this sort of content.
Now, a really good way to manage this is not only to ask them to tag your handle, so @… whoever you are, but also to use a unique hashtag that isn’t being used elsewhere. So by using the hashtag, it means you can then track who’s generating what, and you can really easily culminate all of that content in one place, and go through it and optimise it accordingly. But by also making sure that they use the @ handle and mention you in the actual comment themselves. This will mean that it appears in your mentions feed on your Instagram page, for example.
So it means that you’ve also got some good user-generated content there, if anybody takes a look. Point number three is similar to our customer of the month offering, but a little bit different. It’s running a competition specifically to gather user-generated content. Now this can be really valuable if you don’t have a lot of content and you want to get a lot of content rather quickly, and you want to build a bit of momentum for your brand.
So the competition could run somewhere along the lines of, you know, submit your photo of our product, or this particular product, by this date, using this hashtag, which is your competition hashtag, very, very specific, in order to win X Y or Z. And you make a big deal out of it, it’s a competition, it runs for a finite amount of time, and there’s a specific date when entries are closed. You can generate the prize.
Now the advantage of this is that you can put as part of the competition terms and conditions that you have the right to use this content, so if they enter, you can then use that content in other ways. It’s a really good way of gathering testimonials and user-generated content, for things like Facebook advertising. The disadvantage of this is it’s obviously a limited amount of time. It’s not a long term strategy of just gathering things, but it’s certainly a really good way of getting a lot of user-generated content very, very quickly. Just make sure that you’ve nailed your terms and conditions page because you do want to be able to use this content at a later date, and you want to make sure that people are aware of the fact that you are going to do this.
So having a good terms and conditions page means that you can actually then utilise all of this valuable content that you’ve just gathered as part of your competition.
Ok so number four is make the most of trade shows and events to gather user- generated content. Now, as I’m filming this, we’re in the middle of our second lockdown.. third lockdown here in the UK, so it’s perhaps not a very good opportunity to do this, but we will get back to normal soon, and we need to have a strategy for this. So the way you do this at trade shows or events is if somebody comes up to your stand or your store and they start chatting to you, and they say, I love your products, I love this, I love that,
Whatever that might be. You know, actually have the confidence to say to them, look, this is brilliant, I really appreciate your feedback… Would you mind if I just did a short video on my phone of the two of us having this conversation, which we can use on social media. Now again, you can incentivise this, say, I’ll give you 15% off the store right now if you go and do this, or we’ll give you a free gift, or whatever that might be. But if people are saying really positive things about your brand and you’re face to face, then get them on camera, get that really useful content and make sure that you’re sharing it over your social channels.
And actually, if you can have a really open and honest chat about that and emphasise how brilliant this would be to help your brand, but how much you appreciate it, a lot of customers will be open to engaging with you on that. So it’s a really valuable opportunity. And point number five is to leave a call to action in your thank you emails. Now I did another video all about email marketing, so take a look at that if you haven’t done already to find out exactly what a thank you email is.
But you, can include this as a call to action when you’re thanking people for the purchase that they’ve made… ‘So why don’t you share this on social? We would love to hear your feedback.’ It can be a really valuable way of automating all of this to ensure that you’re regularly getting user-generated content. So that’s all about user-generated content, so content you’re gathering from genuine customers with genuine reviews about your products.
So another way to gather a user-generated style content is to use influencers to produce content about your brand or your products. Now this can be a really good way of building your audience quickly. Influencers are people that have a large social following and therefore a large influence online, hence the name. So by getting your product in front of an influencer and getting them to promote it, you reach their entire following, which is a really good way of building a small brand.
However, there should always be a good balance between influencer marketing and genuine user-generated content, they’re kind of two things and they both need to be a part of your overall strategy. So whilst influencers are a great way of getting your brand out there to the masses very quickly and very effectively they, by their nature, are taken a bit more as an advert, you know, people are very wise to the fact now that influencers are paid or motivated to leave certain reviews, so whilst it can be really good for reach, it doesn’t necessarily build the same level of trust as having genuine customer reviews in your content mix. So make sure that you’ve got a good balanced approach to influencers verses genuine user-generated content.
So as a final point, if you do get some really good reviews from your customers, particularly if they’re video reviews or if they’re particularly nice photographs, you want to be able to make sure that you can use that in your marketing moving forwards. But do you remember that if a customer has put a photo or a video on their social feed, that is their content, that is owned by them, it’s not owned by you, even though it mentions your brand. So don’t be scared to reach out to people that have used, you know, have created really good user-generated content and ask them if you can use that as part of your marketing.
Because good testimonial videos, good reviews, good images and photography are really valuable to your marketing and can be used in your Facebook ad campaigns, among other things. So reach out for them in the direct messages say, look, you know, loved this, would you mind if I use this as part of my marketing? Again, you might want to incentivise this.
You know, if you let’s do this, we’ll send you a free gift or we’ll give you a discount code so you can use that on our store, whatever it takes. But don’t lose that content. If you’ve got really good content, make sure that you, can gather ownership of that. Make sure you’ve got that in writing somewhere, even if it’s on your DMs from the customer to say that you’re allowed to use it. So I release a new video every Thursday, all about growing your ecommerce brand.
So if you want to find out how you can utilise this user-generated content in your Facebook advertising strategy, then take a look at this video over here. If you want to find out a bit more about how you can build a wider ecommerce strategy, using every aspect of marketing in order to build a really comprehensive marketing campaign, then check out this video over here.
I’ll be here next Thursday with my next video. Make sure you subscribe and hit the bell so you’re always notified every time I release a new video. Thanks so much for watching.”