User generated content and its impact
User generated content is most prevalent on social media through comments, product reviews, and photo sharing posts. Consumers are increasingly going online to state opinions about their experiences with brands and products, to the point where the customers have become the marketers themselves.
According to Sophie Turton, director at Buzbuz Digital, around 70% of consumers value peer recommendations more than professionally written content. This tells us that the brand’s content is not always king, rather, the customer is king.
Customer posts offer great advantages for brands; for better understanding their audience, and also improving customer service and building stronger relationships. To motivate user discussions online, brands can encourage product reviews and create FAQs, forums and post-purchase emails.
Brands also increase audience engagement via social audience interaction, utilising the likes of photo or video sharing competitions and similar motivations. These encouraging strategies can bring customers together to form an online community of loyal brand advocates, in the ideal setting into motion the momentum of user generated marketing and an ever stronger relationships with customers.
Further benefits of this strategy are that unique user generated content improves a website’s SEO visibility. Fresh content gives search engines identification that the site is active and publishing regular and relevant content. However, if brands allow users to freely leave reviews, they need to closely monitor the output for negative comments that could damage the brand’s reputation, putting in place response mechanisms so that negative queries can be satisfactorily resolved.
Customer comments can help your company recognise current marketing trends that can be used in overall communication strategies. Therefore it is recommended to include such space on your websites where users can freely express their opinions. By engaging with your site, users feel they are being listened to, which can foster higher brand loyalty and create that community bond between brand and audience.