For B2B Brands, User-Generated-Content Means More Powerful Content in Less Time

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on Mar 13, 2017 11:44:58 AM
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UGC in the B2B: What is User Generated Content?

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UGC, or User Generated Content, is the practice of encouraging, curating, and utilizing content produced by clients and audiences.  Instead of producing the content for audiences to read and view, companies operate as editors collecting the work from current and prospective clients. 

Because many of the most high-profile and successful UGC campaigns have taken place in the context of B2C markets (see, for example,  Starbuck’s White Cup Content from 2014), the practice has long been perceived as the exclusive terrain of B2C marketing.  Yet, more recently, the practice has proved equally beneficial in the B2B world.  Intuit, ESPN, and Salesforce have all found success in UGC campaigns.

To help get you started on developing your own UGC campaign, we provide an expansive overview that includes all the why's and how's of UGC content. 

Why UGC?

More fundamentally, humans are naturally wired to seek interactions with other humans. We like personalization. In the B2B world, which is swiftly becoming more P2P (that’s person-to-person) as customers continue to demand a personalized service approach, there’s a real opportunity to involve your prospects in your marketing.

People buy from people, we want to create and enrich positive, mutually-beneficial working partnerships with others.  Really, it’s high time more B2B marketers started to incorporate user generated content into their marketing efforts. 

The-Impact-of-User-Generated-Content-marketscale-b2b-content-marketing.jpgConsider the benefits:

Impartial, Social Proof Promotes Buyer Trust and Confidence: It’s no news that buyers tend react to traditional ads with a great degree of skepticism. Recent research from Econsultancy reported that 61 percent of buyers read online reviews before a purchase. However, buyers tend to trust the perspective shared by objective users through testimonials or reviews.

Social Influence: Impartial “external” sources also bring their own audience, as well. When readers have a personal interest in the author of one of your posts, they are more likely to comment and share.

Stronger Social Following and Brand Community: By answering practical questions, enhancing trust, and bringing new audiences to your site, UGC generates new interest in your site, and can create a community around your brand.

Applied Practical Advice: Users of your products and services can provide real feedback on your services supported their needs. Real users can also answer questions and provide new tips on how to get the most from products.

Insights into Target Audience: UGC also provides an inside view into the experiences and needs of your current and prospective clients, a critical resource for developing a deeper understanding of your target audience. 

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Increased Conversions: Consider these statistics from AdWeek  

 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.

82% of shoppers say that UGC is extremely valuable to them when making a purchasing decision.

UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.

On-site consumer reviews can increase conversions by 74%.

User generated content is 20% more influential than any other type of media when it comes to influencing Millennial purchases.

64% of customers will not only value online reviews, but will actively seek them out before making a purchasing decision.

71% of consumers feel more comfortable buying a product after researching user generated reviews.

48% of customers say that UGC is a great way to discover new products

Increased Traffic A lack of regular quality content can be detrimental to a business’s success, regardless of product or service quality. Fortunately, you’re not the sole creator of content for your brand. UGC can help boost your business’s organic traffic, providing search engines with fresh content that’ll lead straight to your store’s door.

Free Marketing Content Marketing is a major yet essential cost that affects a business’s growth and profitability. One of the easiest and best ways to reduce the monetary burden of this critical business component, regardless of your industry or business size, is to utilize UGC in your digital marketing strategy.

GETTING STARTED WITH UGC

How to draw on the feedback from existing clients:  Providing you follow the rules (see below!) and respect your clients enough to actively collaborate with them on the piece, not only will you be creating further insight and promotion for their brand, you’ll also be assuring them that actually, you think they’re damn well worth writing about, which is great for brand loyalty. An ego boost for them and for you? Content on the doorstep.  Win-win! 

Some Examples of UGC Content: Start small with a case study article, written like a press release, which will give great insight into the client’s business and provide the ability for you to show what you’re good at and why they chose you as their service provider.

Case Study Articles

Written Press Releases

Interviews

“A Day in the Life of Pieces”

Audit Reports

Other Examples of UGC Content:

Video Testimonials:

Brand engagement increases by 28% when customers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos.Rather than asking one of your best customers for a simple, paragraph-long written testimonial, why not ask them to record a video singing your business’ praises? If they are as happy with your products or services as you believe, you’re bound to find at least a few individuals who would be willing to participate.  Find a client who is comfortable in front of the camera, as well as an engaging speaker.  If your business has its own YouTube channel, these sorts of posts can help to flesh out your content library and are easily sharable and memorable.

Blogger Outreach:

Research influential bloggers within your industry and see how they could help your business.  Do they have a niche focus that aligns with what you offer? Do you feel that your company’s message would resonate with their audience, and does it seem there are potential customers there?  Is the tone of the blog consistent with content you would want your brand to be associated with? If it seems like a good fit, try to establish a conversational relationship with the blogger. If they do end up blogging about your business, repurpose (with permission) their quotes on your own social media channels, as well as other relevant blogs.  Not only should both you and the blogger receive more traffic and positive social proof, but also it can motivate other bloggers to organically write about your company. 

Ask Your Followers to Share:

Your social media communication should be a two-way flow between you and your customers.  Use these platforms to generate energy around your offering and foster future engagement.  Reach out for photos of clients using your software in creative ways on Pinterest or Instagram.  Visual content is more likely to be shared and can take less individual investment from your audience.  On Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, look for questions related to your offerings that will resonate to a wider audience.  Repurpose Q&A content on your other profiles to increase visibility of not only your online presence, but to establish your credibility as a helpful expert within your field.

Motivating the Creation of UGC

The key thing to remember with UGC is that it still requires your company to motivate the audience.  While organic UGC is ideal, establishing a base for conversations and sharing is
usually necessary to get the ball rolling on self-motivated content.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when repurposing reviews, case studies, client questions, or whatever other UGC comes your way.

And those rules we mentioned? Here you go:

  • Be clear about what you’re asking them to do: Demonstrate how you’re providing value for them and why their cooperation is worthwhile for their brand exposure.
  • Set a deadline and give your client enough notice to pull their information together. What’s enough notice? We’d suggest 1 month ahead of publishing date, with frequent touch points to keep things in progress, without badgering your client!
  • Ask your design team to create some unique, co-branded visuals. Sorry folks, but stock imagery would be an insult to your clients when they’re prepared to share their unique information with your audience.
  • Once complete, send to your client for the final nod. Do not, under any circumstance, publish your piece without their approval.
  • Once published, reach out with the link via email, share on your channels (and remember to tag them in your post) and provide an update 1 month later on how the post has performed. You should also be reaching out to publishers within your sector with the aim of gaining a featured post opportunity. Again, it’s a win-win for both you and the client you’ve involved.

Competitions: Competitions can energize and motivate the creation of content—a factor that also tends to foster more enthusiastic and creative content!

But how to make this kind of idea work for a B2B audience?  Good question:

Following the lead of Starbucks, competitions are a great way to promote UGC.  For a B2B-user-generated-content-style competition, you need to think a little outside the box. Say you’re launching a new product, or perhaps you’re thinking of undergoing a re-brand, why not launch a competition and get outsiders involved in promoting your brand? Post entries across social media, develop a hashtag that entrants can apply to their posts to keep all social promotion together and frequently post about it on your own site/blog.

Or what about a competition to get potential customers interested in what you have to offer? Draw up a list of brands/companies you’d love to work with, identify their a buyer person that includes their potential problems, their opportunities, and their aspirations.  Then, figure out what service you offer may appeal to them if offered by the way of a contest.

 Again, it’s all about content amplification and effective promotion. So make sure you’re utilizing your social media platforms, your client base and your prospect database to promote the competition, and follow-up with not only your winner, but the other entrants too, to illustrate how a similar report could be of benefit to them. You could even be kind and offer it at a special rate for those prospects, to encourage more of them to enter your sales funnel.

Of course, B2B user-generated content will greatly differ depending on your sector, but the key thing to note is that, like all content output, it should add value for whoever you’re targeting and be attractive enough to inspire participation. It’s not enough to throw a competition out and hope for the best, or ask industry influencers idle questions in the hope they’ll get on board. Do research, plan your content amplification and be creative!

The biggest risk and worry brands have about centering a campaign on user-generated content? That fans and users won’t engage. That’s where the MarketScale team comes in. Content Ultimately, user-generated content allows brands to create a revolving door of fresh, relevant, and exciting content. If you haven’t already, there’s no time like the present to get a user-generated content campaign started. 

We love talking about content.  If you have questions, please feel free to get in touch.

You can get started by download one our resources below.

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Topics: B2B Content, B2B Marketing, Content Strategy, Content, Social Media Marketing, Video

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