Brands and marketers spend a lot of energy trying to find new and unique ways to connect with their target audience.
Why not look at your users to see exactly how they use your products and leverage that endorsement to build trust?
That's what user-generated content is all about.
By leveraging user-generated content, you can build an online following that raves about your brand while developing marketing content for you simultaneously.
Here's how you can build and use a user-generated content strategy to drive more sales in your restaurant.
What is User Generated Content?
Simply put, user-generated content (UGC) is content created by the people who use your products or services.
This content can come in many forms: photos, blogs, podcasts, videos, and more.
Users of a brand often create user-generated content to teach others about a product or recommend it to their community. This type of content is beneficial for marketers as a way to promote their brand.
However, sometimes user-generated content makes up a product, like on YouTube or StuDocu. The content that users create exists on the platform for other users to use.
This type of content is less about marketing and more about information or entertainment.
When it comes to driving sales, you want to create a user-generated content strategy that helps you better market your product. That said, encouraging users to produce content to improve your product can also show others how helpful you are.
Why is it Vital to Have a User-Generated Content Strategy?
User-generated content is a great way to spread brand awareness and increase conversion rates.
First of all, UGC helps build your brand reputation.
When a user raves about your product online or posts content that shows how it works, that person builds brand awareness for your products among their online circles.
This helps you reach new audiences and drive brand awareness.
More importantly, though, UGC builds trust with potential new buyers.
When someone is going to create content to promote your product, they are recommending and endorsing it. While a brand can delude a whole host of reasons why you should buy something, most shoppers see UGC as more authentic and trustworthy.
This is a highly persuasive marketing mechanism. In fact, 79% of people say UGC greatly influences their purchasing decisions, but only 13% say branded content makes an impact.
Plus, user-created content helps build a community around your business.
When you encourage followers to participate in challenges, use your hashtags, and validate your products, you build a tribe of people who support your cause and vouch for you.
This can save you a lot of time and money on in-house marketing.
By curating user-created content, you can demonstrate how people use your products and how much they like them without a content-heavy production line.
Plus, user-generated content helps you understand your audience, which can guide marketing decisions and product design choices.
UGC will show you how, where and why users use your product and the features they like the most.
Best practices for an effective user-generated content strategy for promoting your restaurant
While UGC marketing is super helpful for building a trusted community and fueling brand awareness, you need to be knowledgeable about how and when to use that content.
Here are the most important practices to follow when executing your UGC strategy.
Choose the Platforms That Best Suit Your Audience
Whether creating a contest for your audience or posting a testimonial video, make sure you're using the platforms your target audience uses.
There's no point in creating a killer Instagram UGC strategy if you're selling a B2B product aimed at professionals.
You are more likely to succeed with this type of strategy on LinkedIn.
Use your social media analytics and website intent data to understand where your target audience is.
Track how and where your social followers gather and engage with your brand. Find out where your website traffic is generated and what kind of behaviour you see from visitors who convert.
Pioneering user-generated content campaigns that focus on these areas.
Request Permission to Share User Content
While many users may enjoy being featured on your social media pages or website, user-generated content still belongs to the person who created it.
If you use this content without permission, you may find yourself in a bind.
Most of the time, users are happy to share your content. After all, they often create it to showcase their products.
However, be aware that many aspiring influencers may not be happy if you share this content without some form of reward or compensation.
Always ask for permission before sharing content created by a user. Be prepared for the breeder to ask for compensation in some cases.
Give It Purpose
Aerie created a user-generated content campaign that encouraged women to post pristine swimming photos to promote body positivity.
In doing so, Aerie showed her support for women and a commitment to helping women feel comfortable in their skin.
Campaigns of this nature not only show the brand identity behind your company but also help build a community.
They tell your target audience what you stand for and encourage those who stand for the same to come on board.
This helps you get a good profile of the types of users that align with your values.
In addition, it encourages many like-minded people to join your brand and promote a connection with it.
Be careful with the representation.
UGC is an excellent opportunity to include all the different types of people who use your products. Take this opportunity to demonstrate how representative your company is.
Make sure the content you choose promotes diversity and encourages support for all types of people.
Make sure you are authentic
Consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is more authentic compared to brand-created content.
In this sense, UGC is a great way to build authenticity for your brand.
According to a report by Stackla, consumers and marketers disagree on what type of content is most authentic.
However, customers can spot a fake from a mile away.
There's nothing worse than feeling like a brand has lied to you. If you're using user-generated content, make sure it's genuine and not sponsored.
If it's an influencer-sponsored post, make sure this is clear. Don't pretend the content is created by someone who hasn't benefited from the post.
Focus on Driving Conversions
It's easy to let the UGC go to your head.
When so many customers post great things about you, it can be tempting to reposition it all to show how valuable you are. However, vague content will not steer a potential customer in the direction you want them to go.
Instead, link your UGC to specific campaigns.
Perhaps you are trying to sell a particular product. Post reviews, explainer videos and other customer content that promotes and recommends this specific product.
Alternatively, you could be trying to show your brand in a certain light, perhaps as a high-quality supplier or a superior choice for customer service. Find and publish user content that showcases these aspects of your brand.
A user-generated content strategy drives sales by building a community that supports and endorses your product.
This builds trust and spreads brand awareness so you can reach a wider audience.
Remember, customers, want to see authentic content from users who truly love your product. Do not create staged content and try to pass it off as the unbiased opinion of the user.
If you're rewarding the user for your content, be as transparent as possible. Otherwise, you will lose the trust of your audience.