#WebWeds: Inspiring Your Customer to Tell Your Own Story

Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news.

When you want to find a new restaurant to try, where do you go? Do you check out Instagram to see tasty food pics, or research restaurants on Yelp to see who has the best reviews and photos? When you’re looking to make a purchase from a new company, are you more likely to buy blindly, or do a little digging on social media to see what others have shared?

There’s a term for this type of social media post: user generated content!

What is user generated content (often referred to as UGC)? It’s using your customer’s content to tell your brand story and highlight their experience by using their own words and images. And the successful brands are the ones doing this.

It’s 2016: the buyer’s journey has drastically changed, and now it’s more complicated than ever. The reality is that consumers aren’t going to buy from you just because you’ve told them to. Most consumers consult various social platforms and peer reviews before they ever visit a business or intend to make a purchase. And, 50% of consumers say user generated content sticks better than sponsored content.

Do you want to include user generated content in your digital marketing and social media strategy? Here are some ways to get started.

  1. If you already have customers who love your products or services, provide some examples or direction for your customers to express that loyalty.
  2. Create a catchy or branded hashtag that your customers can use when sharing your content. This helps you to find their content and gets them in the habit of sharing.
  3. Post your branded hashtag around your store or restaurant and remind customers through social content to share their photos.
  4. Offer an incentive to those who share content. This doesn’t have to be anything material, like a discount or a coupon. Instead, feature customers and customer photos in a Fan of the Day or shoutout. People love this, especially from their favorite brands.

Smartphones and social channels have provided marketers with an always-on connection to their customers. Take advantage of that connection and use UGC to your advantage. What have you got to lose?

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