How To Leverage User-Generated Content In B2B Marketing
User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful and cost-effective way to promote your brand across your marketing channels. UGC originates from fans of your brand, customers, and even your employees and it is highly effective in building trust and credibility with your target audience.
People can relate when they see ordinary people interacting with a brand or using its products. UGC humanizes your brand and makes people want to interact with you which boosts your brand and drives sales and engagement for your business.
Tapping into this free source of marketing can be of great benefit to your brand. Not only is it the most credible type of content on the internet, but it also is a way to build deeper, more meaningful connections with your target audience and gain new potential customers.
In this article, we will explain more about what forms user-generated content can take and how to best leverage it in B2B Marketing. By following the strategies below, you will be able to build deeper connections with your audience by creating the engaging and authentic experiences they are looking for.
What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content refers to any form of content that is created and shared by individuals, rather than the brand itself, across the brand’s marketing platforms. This can include blog posts, product reviews, testimonials, social posts, case studies, and more.
User-generated content is typically generated by the brand’s audience, customers, or fans, and is used to promote the brand, build credibility, and engage with the target audience.
The key advantage of UGC is its authenticity. This content is created by real people who have had a real experience with your brand that they want to talk about.
Anything that is created and published by the brand itself, such as advertisements, marketing materials, and branded blog posts are not forms of user-generated content.
Why Is User Generated Content Important?
The human element of user-generated content makes brands appear much more relatable and genuine. When your audience sees real people using your product, it gives them authentic social proof that it is worth buying. Curated, traditional ads don’t have the same pull on people as the authenticity that UGC does.
There have been many surveys done around the various forms of marketing and user-generated content comes out on top. Almost 80% of consumers rely on UGC when making their purchases, far surpassing the 8% who are sold by influencer-created content or the 12% who base their purchases on brand-created content. These numbers alone show the importance of UGC in building trust between a brand and its audience.
Other factors in how a business will benefit from user-generated content are:
Increases Brand Loyalty
Real-world humans are the best unofficial spokespeople for your business. These are the types of people that consumers connect with because it makes them feel like “they’re just like me”.
If you have a good product that people actually love to use, you will not have to do anything because they will want to share how good your product is and how it benefits them.
Builds Trust & Credibility
When we are looking at making a purchase, many of us head to the reviews first. We straight up skip over all of the branded-promo advertising and description of what the product will do and go to what the people say.
Real reviews by real people are the golden ticket when it comes to making people take that final step into buying your product.
Since this content is already created by your current consumers, it costs you absolutely nothing to make it. All you need to invest is time to find the content that is already out there and figure out how you can use it.
User-generated content can be filled with many helpful insights into what your customers think of your products or services. You can use this information to refine your offerings and make the entire buyer experience better overall.
What do they love about your product? What do they hate? What can you do better? Did they mention anything about your competitors?
Whenever your company or product is featured on the internet, it contributes to your SEO.
You want these links, and preferably on relevant, high-traffic URL’s. Search engines like Google pick up on this and over time, you might see your web pages moving up in the rankings because of these reinforcing signals.
Types of User-Generated Content
User-generated content works better in certain industries than others. The top industries that can reap the most benefits from UGC are health, beauty, travel, food, fashion, and accessories.
If your industry isn’t on the list, don’t stress too much – you can still use UGC because people still want to hear from real people. You may just have to think outside the box a bit as to how you implement it.
Here are some of the best types of user-generated content and how you can use it in your B2B marketing strategy:
If you’re a newer company or just don’t have that many other sources for UGC, start off with your team. Your employees are usually a group of people who already believe in and support your brand so use that. They can create blog posts, videos, or social posts to talk about their favorite items, services, etc.
You can also use candid shots and videos from in and around the office to show more of who you are. Having your team film events they’re at, work parties, and funny interviews, can contribute to building that genuine rapport with your audience.
Showcasing your employees will also help to engage with the community because they’ll get to know you more. By being able to see the faces of the team behind the brand, it will make you real to them.
Reviews & Testimonials
Everyone loves reading reviews before they make a purchase. It’s reassuring to know that other people bought something and experienced great results. You can encourage your customers to leave you reviews or testimonials on your website, Google, or even your social channels.
Once they do write you a review, don’t just leave it in that spot. Screenshot it, and share it on your other platforms. If they’re following your social media, maybe give them a shout-out to thank them for the review and for supporting your business.
Social media posts, videos, reels, and stories are some of the best forms of user-generated content you can get. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are incredibly powerful tools that allow your fans to show your products to a global audience.
If a customer creates a great video showcasing your product and it goes viral, it can be an incredibly effective method of marketing – and you really don’t have to do anything. This word-of-mouth tactic is based on the idea of social proof.
Social proof is when consumers are more likely to buy products that are recommended by their peers because their approval helps to paint the brand as more trustworthy. A viral video can also create a sense of excitement and exclusivity around your brand, boosting awareness and also your sales.
Utilizing hashtags is another key way to keep your brand connected and engaged with the community. Having some catchy hashtags that are brand specific or taking advantage of already existing, relevant, trending hashtags can help you to quickly boost sales of certain products or services that your brand offers.
A blog post can be a holy grail when it comes to user-generated content. These posts can look like tutorials on how to use your product, a detailed review, or a feature in a list of top products.
Whatever it’s for, it takes time, effort, and dedication on their part and pretty much nothing on yours. Reaching out to these types of bloggers to form a partnership, or even just to say thanks for the promo, can help your business in the long run.
A large percentage of people in the world turn to the internet when they’re looking for answers. Specifically, they ask questions on public forums like Reddit or Quora. These platforms offer brands and their customers a great place to discuss products and receive feedback from others on their experiences.
While you can comment as a brand in these forums, it is recommended to stay away from anything too fake or overly promotional. The communities will see right through you and eat you alive.
They are there because they’re looking for real answers, not generic sales-focused ones. Be real, and genuine, and speak to them like you would with friends with open and honest communication.
Many brands benefit from reviews and also questions answered by consumers. If you have a good product and people love it, they will spread the word on these forums about the pros and cons.
If you are not getting as much engagement as you would like, you can hold a contest. Contests are a great way to boost engagement with your existing audience because everyone loves free stuff. All you’ll have to do is set it up and they’ll do the marketing for you.
You can start by creating a dedicated hashtag and encourage your employees and social followers to spread the word. Reach out to previous buyers by email, or text to let them know about the contest and encourage them to participate. Make sure the prize you offer is something that will get your audience excited and that they will want to try hard to win.
Permission For User-Generated Content
For certain types of user-generated content, even if it is promoting your brand, you may still need to get permission first. Whoever created the content owns the content and they have legal rights to it.
If your product is featured or you are tagged, you must get permission before you use their content. You can shoot them a message or email to ask if you aren’t sure, and maybe throw in some incentives.
If they do not allow you to use their content for free, you may be crossing over into influencer territory. However, many of them are willing to negotiate deals that will allow you to repurpose or re-post their content.
Learning how to leverage user-generated content is one of the best B2B techniques you should implement into your marketing strategy. Many potential buyers in the sales funnel rely on UGC when making purchasing decisions.
People love getting reviews and recommendations from others who have already been through the steps of the buyer’s journey that they’re currently in. They need guidance.
By getting UGC out in front of your target audience, they get to see regular people who love, engage and interact with your brand. This will build the trust and credibility you need to close the deal and make the sale.
By continuously choosing to promote user-generated content, your platforms and relationships with your audience will also grow. While this is not the only marketing strategy you should be using, it is an important aspect that should not be overlooked.
By utilizing user-generated content, you will become known as an authentic brand that provides your customers with top products or services, it’s a win-win for both you and them.