Connecting with an audience is something businesses must do to stay in the game. But it’s even more imperative if your company’s in its early stages. It’s time to prove your business plan has enough merit to soar beyond its initial launch. When audience reception is high, it becomes the fuel to keep the rocket ship going.
While your team’s marketing efforts can stir up interest and lay the groundwork for great connections, the company’s voice isn’t enough. People don’t want overt sales pitches. They want authenticity, and they want to hear it from the voices of real consumers. This is where user-generated content comes in. UGC is about letting your audience use its voice to elevate your brand.
Instead of standing on the sidelines, your customers demonstrate their connections with your brand’s story. They’re also helping to shape it, becoming active participants in a community that creates buzz and draws others in. If you want to learn how to leverage UGC for your startup, read on.
Use Public Social Media Features to Extend Your Reach
In the beginning, you’ve got to find and build your audience. Social media can be a great way to do this. However, just putting up a few posts on your pages isn’t always going to help you discover and grow your base. You want to cast a wider net to become effective at these tasks.
This wider net involves public threads and features on social media platforms. These public threads are where content creators share their takes on trending topics. Sharing content here lets you extend your reach beyond those already following your page. You can also connect with others about what matters to your brand.
Snapchat’s Spotlight is an example. It’s a public thread where brands can share short-form videos and engage with like-minded content creators. Features like these are an effective way to raise brand awareness while finding potential future brand ambassadors. Another one of Snapchat’s features that startups can leverage is location tagging. If you have a retail footprint, users can tag your locations when they upload photos or videos showcasing your stores.
UGC like this shows people are using and enjoying what your brand offers. It stimulates the proverbial “fear of missing out.” FOMO makes people want to get in on something hot. And if your target audience veers toward a younger demographic, Snapchat can help spread the word. One of the most successful startups in recent years, Snapchat is a social media platform that businesses can easily utilize to boost their UGC strategies.
With Small Business Digital Ready, you gain access to free events hosted by industry experts. Plus, get opportunities to network with peers in your area.
Take Reviews to the Next Level
Positive online reviews can definitely boost your credibility. Those words convince others they’re making the right decision by giving your products a shot. But one of the problems with online reviews is they’re not always favorable or thorough enough. When people read through conflicting and incomplete statements, their uncertainty grows.
As a result, testimonials are often a more engaging account of how your brand’s solutions make a difference in people’s lives. Video testimonials can be quite convincing, serving as a UGC format audiences turn to. A study reveals that 79% of consumers watch them for additional insight into a company and what it offers. And 77% of purchasers say video testimonials help sway their decisions.
Two out of three consumers will be more likely to buy if a video testimonial shows how a brand’s products helped. With video testimonials, it’s your customers doing the talking. So audiences tend to perceive those words as authentic and trustworthy. Video testimonials can become part of a larger UGC-driven campaign when you leverage them effectively. You could repost videos others create or invite your audience members to submit them to you.
Some brands also film testimonials featuring customers willing to tell their stories. This approach gives you more control over video quality and the actual content. However, avoid the temptation to script the conversation. Let your customers speak as though they were doing the filming themselves.
Repost Images as Social Proof
Social media is how people stay in touch these days. And they do it with plenty of images. Snapshots are a way individuals show their networks how they’re enjoying and experiencing life. These photos can feature your brand, even if it’s subtle.
Take startups that began with the idea of revolutionizing industries like hospitality and travel. Naturally, people will be skeptical of a new type of service, such as staying in a private rental versus a hotel chain. They want proof it’s just as reliable as the conventional alternatives.
But what do people do when they go on vacation? They take plenty of photos to cement their memories and fill in the blanks when time fades the recollections in their heads. This UGC often ends up on social platforms and can show your brand in action. It serves as proof your offerings are worth the experience.
Startups can leverage this content through hashtag campaigns and online contests and by soliciting UGC from their fans. You can also repost the content through shares, likes, and retweets. Another way is to ask permission to reuse the images in your posts with credit to the original content creator.
Livestream FAQ Sessions
Consumers have questions, especially when you’re a relatively unknown brand. FAQ pages and forums can address some of these, but the content may come off as scripted and self-serving. If you want to meet consumer concerns head-on, try holding live Q&A sessions. These sessions give people an active way to get answers to their questions. If anything, they further discussions about pain points and potential solutions.
Livestreaming FAQ sessions allow consumers to drive part of the narrative. Your company shows a willingness to engage directly with audiences to increase their understanding. You’re there to help, even if participants don’t buy from you.
Since consumers do most of the talking during these sessions, they become a sharable and discoverable form of UGC. Google Chat and Facebook are ways to livestream FAQ or “ask the experts” sessions. Recording features let everyone share the content after the fact. Posting recordings and making them available on your website boosts your reach to those who missed the live events.
Leveraging UGC for Business Growth
When you’re launching a business, you need more than financial backing to gain momentum. Your solutions must take hold with your target audience and demonstrate staying power. Consumer engagement is an essential puzzle piece, and it can’t all come from the content marketing your team creates. UGC proves your audience contains active brand enthusiasts willing to amplify your story. Use it strategically to show what your solutions can do.