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Using UGC in Your Content Marketing

Concluding the series we started yesterday, User Generated Content is an incredibly valuable resource that you should incorporate into your strategy. In today’s episode, we go over the difference between reviews and endorsements, and different ways you can use UGC in your content marketing strategy.

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And here’s the transcript:

Today we’re going to finish the series that we started yesterday about user-generated content (UGC). Yesterday we talked about how UGC is created by your customers or clients. It could be reviews, a video, audio, or text testimonial about how awesome your product/service was. 

When we explored what UGC is, we talked about why it’s important. ⅔ of consumers trust UGC more than they trust branded company content, but you don’t know when UGC is coming and you can’t solicit it. You can ask your customers or clients to create it, but you can’t buy it, so it’s earned. We also talked about the differences between influencer content and UGC. 

If you didn’t get a chance to listen to that episode, I highly recommend that you do. It will be linked right here in the show notes. 

Moving forward, we’re actually going to talk about how you can use user-generated content in your content marketing strategy. How can you turn user-generated content into content assets for your business? 

Why Should You Care About User Generated Content

So the reason why you’d even want to do this ties back to that number I just mentioned, ⅔, or over 66%, of consumers trust user-generated content more than branded company content. 

If you’re wondering, “Is it really that high? Really?” Well, think about it. When you’re on Amazon or another site where you know they have a lot of reviews, what’s one of the first things you do besides finding the product that you actually want? You scroll down to read the reviews from strangers.

So, is it any more of a surprise that UGC on social media would also impact a client’s buying decision? I don’t think so, because I’m one of those people. I will read the reviews of strangers. If many people say the same thing, then that could actually sway my buying decision. 

If enough customers or clients say the same negative thing, I may not buy. However, I may be swayed to buy if enough customers or clients say a positive thing. So it comes out either way.

The Difference Between a Review and an Endorsement

Let’s talk about the difference between a review and an endorsement. 

A Customer or Client Review

A review is something you will typically find on Facebook business pages. You may find it if you sell your product on Amazon, Facebook, or Google.

They are a bit more formal, and a customer leaves that review with the intent of it really being a review. They may use more formal language, depending on whether they feel comfortable interacting with the brand and for service providers or B2B companies in general. 

You may also consider your Linkedin recommendations as reviews, especially if your business is very, very small. In my case, my business is very small, so my Linkedin recommendations are incredibly reflective of my services, my business, the image that I work to portray and the partner that I always attempt to be for my clients. So my Linkedin recommendations are also reviews for me. 

They’re typically freely given. Don’t pay for them. Sometimes influencers and people who blog will say “I was given a free X in order to provide my honest reviews.” Typically that’s what you see. 

You won’t see paid reviews often, but they do happen. And fake reviews are a plague on Amazon, but that could be a whole other episode. 

An Endorsement

So what’s an endorsement? For me, an endorsement is what you see on Facebook, or what you might see on Instagram or Linkedin, if it’s a business product. But, let’s say I’m on Facebook right now and I post a picture. 

So I’ve got a picture of me, my little plastic Groot pot, and it’s got some air plants in it. So cute! I post this picture and I talk about how my husband got it for me. You’ll hear how happy it’s made me, and how I bought these little air plants off of Amazon.

The little Groot pot and the air plants came from Amazon, and I found the perfect thing to put inside of the pot’s head. So now he looks like he has hair. And you know, if you’re like me, you super love Groot, and you see that on my Facebook, you’re like, “Oh my goodness, I have to get a pot for myself too! And those air plants, that was such a great idea.”

So I’ve actually just generated sales for two different companies: the one that sells air plants, and the one that sells the Groot head pot. 

That’s user generated content, but it’s also an endorsement of a product because I’m talking about how happy I am about it. No one solicited me. I only posted it because I wanted to, and I’m sure that now I’ve described it, you’ve seen it all over your social media channels as well. 

Using UGC in Your Content Marketing Strategy

So how can you use UGC in your content marketing strategy? I’ve listed a few ways here. Obviously depending on where your customers or clients leave these reviews and endorsements, you can get really creative. So this is just something to get you going.

Take Screenshots

Take screenshots of UGC of your product/service and share them on social media. It’s almost like you’re creating user content for yourself because when you take that screenshot, people can see it’s a screenshot. They can typically identify which platform it came from, so it just somehow seems a bit more real and authentic. 

Then, you share that on social media and so now you’re just basically quoting somebody via screenshot. 

A Testimonials Page

If you want, you can also copy the text and place it on a testimonials page on your website. 

Maybe if you sell products, you might just call it product reviews

If you have a service business and you’re getting these reviews in a lot of different places, and they’re just all over the place and you’re like, “Man, I wish that review was over here.” Sometimes the best that we can do is create a testimonials page on our website and bring them all there.

Maybe people left you reviews on Upwork, recommendations on Linkedin, Facebook, on your business page, maybe somebody just said something awesome to you in an email. Ask them if you can use it on your website.

And so, we could bring all of those things together on a page and show them simultaneously, or maybe you place some of those testimonials on your homepage as a reason why people should work with you. 

Stylized Graphics

You could also create stylized graphics optimized for the social media platform that you want to use the graphics on. On Twitter and Linkedin you can use the same image size, but on Instagram, the square images are the best option. You could write a post about what this review means to you, or you can tell a little bit more about the product, provide the link to it, as well as tag the user to give them an opportunity to interact with you on the post. 

Send an Email to Your List

We already talked about asking for permission, why you should, and the opportunity it has for you in Episode 28, so make sure you listen to that if you didn’t. 

You could also send an email to your list about the post. 

Maybe these people purchased products in the pat, but they haven’t purchased this product. You should give them a review about it because it would be incredibly relevant to them. 

If you provide services, you should take notes about the services that people buy. 

If you sell products, then that product information should just be loading in there automatically. 

Always Engage with the Customer

And again, you want to connect with your customers: make them feel appreciated, thank them for their opinion, interact with your customer and ask them more in-depth questions. So do not miss this opportunity, especially if you’re a growing business. Capitalize on it. These people already want to talk about you, so they definitely wouldn’t mind talking to you.