Everyone who has ever been involved in doing SEO knows that content is king – after all, the position of your website in the search results depends largely on the things you publish. However, content, meaning all kinds of texts, images, videos or recordings can be created not only by site owners but also by regular users. So can user generated content affect SEO or even brand image of your company? Let’s find out!
User generated content – what is it?
User generated content is a relatively new concept in the online world. It’s been used more and more frequently alongside with the development of various social media platforms and websites relying on user activity. In simple terms, it’s all content created and shared by users – no matter whether it’s an image, a recording, plain text or even only a short comment.
Since it was defined, user generated content has also become one of the determinants distinguishing traditional media from the new ones: after all, television, radio or newspapers provide us only with content generated by professionals. On the other hand, particularly active users are responsible for creating content in the online world, although it doesn’t necessarily have to mean that they’re experts in given fields.
How can your marketing benefit from user generated content?
Probably every website owner wants to attract active and engaged users willing to diversify the content and to put their two cents in it. Fortunately, there are methods that can help you influence the visitors’ activity and that will enable you to increase the number of actions taken by the users on your website.
User generated content is particularly important in the case of social media which are based on involving certain groups of users or communities. Luckily, there are some universal methods that will work well outside of the popular Facebook or Twitter.
Contests, surveys, questions
Organizing contests where people can show off their skills or works is one of the simplest ways of improving user generated content on a given website or a social media platform.
And it doesn’t have to be very complicated – it’s enough to ask people who like your Facebook page for a humorous answer to a question or a motivation for their choice. Contests based on visual submissions such as photos or videos tailored to the theme of the fanpage are another equally effective solution.
Do you have our product? Show it!
Do you want your product to be in the spotlight of public attention? User generated content will be perfect here – social media users love to share the products they’re satisfied with. Therefore, apart from making it easier for them you should also encourage them to do so by creating hashtags describing a given brand and products or by responding to photos and videos which feature your products.
Manufacturers of advanced devices who display the potential of products such as computers or smartphones by showing the content created by their customers are perfect examples illustrating how user generated content can be of benefit for marketing. This method is applied, among others, by Huawei, which regularly organizes contests for the best photos taken with their devices and then publishes the most impressive ones on its fan pages that are followed by thousands of people.
Reviews really matter
Do you know a person who decides to buy a more expensive product without checking its reviews on the Internet? Well, me neither. But it’s not surprising, after all, customers’ reviews are much more reliable than ideal descriptions available on the manufacturers’ websites. The reviews themselves are also a part of user generated content – in the end, it’s about other product owners who decide to share their thoughts with a wider public.
However, you need to take care of this aspect of user generated content – encourage customers to leave comments relating given products by sending them an email after the purchase. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews – they give you a chance to dispel your customers’ doubts and present your point of view which may even encourage them to further shopping.
Good reviews also influence the SEO process because thanks to them the website can be displayed higher in the search results and it can reach a wider range of potential visitors. User ratings are particularly appreciated by medical portals which this way can somehow advertise themselves – otherwise, doing SEO for the medical industry could be more difficult due to legal constraints.
Product and brand in every picture
If your company offers a distinctive product, you can use it to conquer the online world. Following the activity of users who mark products of a given brand is another element of creating user generated content. By commenting on posts or photos of users who publish content connected to a given brand, you not only increase their reach but also show other people that are looking for this product where it can be found.
Another equally important element is the brand logo which should be always visible in the picture. When the logo is properly exposed, it also contributes to improving brand image and recognition – provided that you make it clear that the logo belongs to a given company. This method was applied, among others, by Apple which thanks to placing a characteristic apple logo in the right place is now present on thousands of selfies all over the Internet.
A good and a bad comment
Comments published on various social media platforms are the real lion’s share of the whole user generated content. Each review is a great opportunity to get in touch with a potential customer and to improve your reputation among brand enthusiasts.
Every answer to a question, praise or criticism increases the reach of the post which can further influence the popularity of your profile or website.
What’s important, you shouldn’t categorize your comments as positive or negative. All of them deserve being answered. Ironically, you should pay a little more attention to the critical remarks as they give you a chance to dissolve your customers’ doubts or simply to make substantive improvements in your expertise or spelling – you’re only a human and you can also make some simple linguistic mistakes.
Moreover, every discussion increases the range of your post and thanks to that it can attract and engage much more users. Even a creative exchange with haters can bring satisfactory results. Sometimes imaginative responses to accusations make the discussion between the two sides almost as popular as the offered product itself.
User generated content – how does it help users?
User generated content isn’t valuable only for websites which thanks to it gain additional content that improves their positions in the search results. Above all, it’s valuable for the users who find the content provided by other visitors to be much more reliable than descriptions written by professional shops or portals. As shown by the Reevoo research, it can be noticed in the importance of recommendations and opinions that are trusted by as many as 70% of consumers.
Content generated by users is particularly significant for young and middle-aged visitors. According to SparkReel, 70% of all user generated content is created by these two age groups. The youngest age group of customers turns out to be the one that pays special attention to content posted by other users.
According to the research conducted by Bazaarvoice, even 86% of millenials believe that such content indicates the good quality of a given service or product. It means that for the vast majority of people the company’s profile on social media platforms and its website have a significant impact on users’ everyday shopping decisions. This, in turn, clearly shows that even the smallest businesses should place great importance on content published on their websites by users.
Why is it worth taking advantage of user generated content?
You already know what user generated content looks like and why it’s so important for today’s online recipients. However, this content can be also very beneficial for all companies and enterprises that can use it to their advantage almost for free. It’s incredibly cheap to create user generated content. All you need is a website or a profile on a given social media platform, time and eagerness.
At the same time, this form of interacting with users is extremely engaging. It’s an example of a virtuous circle – the more comments or photos published under your posts, the greater the chance that other users will join. You yourself can also support this process by answering users’ questions, acknowledging praise or critical comments and at the same time building your brand image and recognition.
Such activities will also make your posts more visible in social media which can attract new potential customers. This combination ensures that the content generated by website visitors is not only effective, but also allows you to reach completely new groups of users – both those interested in your company and the creation of new content.