5 Ways to Encourage User-generated Content to Grow Your Reputation
Today, people turn to the web to find local businesses when looking to make a purchase.
A recent study found that 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses. And, 93% of consumers read local reviews to decide if a business is good or not. If you want to get more customers, these statistics illustrate the importance for businesses to both be visible online and build a great online reputation.
A great way to accomplishing this is to get people to post about your business online. The more content created about your business on the web, the more likely consumers who are looking for the products or services you sell will find you.
The best online content for a business to have is what’s called “user-generated content”. This is content created by people other than those directly associated with the business. Common types of user-generated content include online reviews, social media posts and customer testimonials.
For businesses, user-generated content is important for 2 reasons:
- Consumers want information from trustworthy sources.
The old saying in business: “People want to hear what others say about you – not what you say about you” is still true today. For businesses, having user-generated content created by customers is social proof. And, consumers seek out this type of content to validate a brand’s reputation before doing business with them.
- Boosts local search rankings.
When it comes to the web, content is still king. Google loves user-generated content and rewards those businesses with large volumes of content with better rankings in search results. So, the more content posted about your business, the better.
User-generated Content Strategies that Work
Now we know the importance of user-generated content for businesses. What’s more, is that consumers are participating in online conversations about brands every day. So how do you get these people to create online content about you? Below are five user-generated content strategies you can implement today to make this happen.
1. Ask for online reviews
Online reviews are the holy grail of user-generated content. Reviews are both sought after by prospective customers and critical to growing your online reputation. In addition, reviews boost SEO rankings. Studies show that “Review Signals” are a key factor that Google uses in ranking local search results for businesses.
If you are having trouble getting online reviews for your business, asking for reviews is a great strategy. This will both boost your review volume and ensure you have recent reviews that prospective customers will appreciate more. A great time to ask for reviews is when you thank your customers for their business. Not every customer you ask will leave one, but keep at it and over time you will see a steady increase in reviews.
2. Encourage engagement on social media
Businesses tend to get stuck in a one-way communication rut when posting on social media. They post updates, blogs and pictures without encouraging any feedback, discussion or sharing. Positioning social updates that provoke a response is the trick to producing more user-generated content for your brand.
Here are some examples to make this happen. On Instagram, have people interact with interesting photos related to your business, such as a “caption this photo” contest. For Facebook, post videos that tell stories about your business. On Twitter, be open to answering customer support questions about your product. These are just a few of the many ideas out there that will get people talking about your brand.
3. Post provocative content on your blog
One of the most popular user-generated content strategies is having a blog for your business. The reason for this is that blogs provide a great channel to engage with customers. But, before you start typing, you need to do some work to ensure you get the attention of your target audience.
First, read some of the popular blogs in your space to see what types of posts get the most comments. Next, brainstorm with your staff to come up with topics to blog about. Then, whittle down the number of topics until you get to the most relevant ideas. It’s important to incorporate keyword research into this process as well. Your blog will be more visible in search and be read by the right audience with the right keywords.
The end result of this process is to get people to share and leave comments about your posts. These actions tell Google that you are a thought leader in the industry and content about your brand will receive higher rankings in search as a result.
4. Spread the word about your charitable efforts
Giving back should be a part of the culture of any business. It is also another great way to create buzz and get people talking about your business online. Let the public know of your commitment to giving back through your social channels. Share pictures and videos that highlight specific events that you and your employees have participated in. Remember, be humble and shine the light on the organization you are supporting – not your business.
5. Provide a fantastic customer experience
Nothing gets people talking about your brand like delivering a “wow” customer experience. Going the extra mile when serving the customer is likely to be rewarded with a positive online review or social mention for your business.
Business owners should take advantage of this possibility by emphasizing it with their employees. During staff meetings, make it a point to reinforce the key aspects of the customer experience. And, include how their interactions with customers can further benefit the business by increasing positive user-generated content across the web.
These are just some of the many ideas out there to spur user generated content for your business. Getting more content about your brand posted online will not only you boost your online reputation and SEO, your business will also attract more customers and grow sales.
Now, we want to hear from you. Please share some of the user-generated content strategies that have worked for your business in the comments below.
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