Why And How To Use Customer Content on Social Media
One of the most powerful influences in a person’s decision to purchase your product is the experience of other customers. Whether they hear about your brand through word of mouth or pick your product over your competitor’s based on customer reviews, buyers really trust their peers to tell the truth.
Potential buyers trust other customers far more than they trust traditional marketing content. In fact, 70% of consumers trust customer reviews and customer content on social media more than professional advertisements.
Using social media to connect with, advertise to, and recruit customers is a significant part of any smart marketing strategy. Taking advantage of the way customers speak to one another can help your brand appear more human, relatable, and authentic. These qualities have a profound impact on potential buyers and can help you increase your fan base and grow your bottom line.
Why Use Customer Content
Using customer content will help you engage your audience and solicit new and repeat purchases. While there are many types of content that can do similar things, customer content is one of the most effective.
One of the most powerful things customer content can do is to increase engagement with your brand. Not only are people encouraged to share their stories and experiences, the people who see this content feel encouraged to respond and continue the conversation. Engagement is at the heart of your brand’s success on social media so anything you can do to increase this will work to your advantage.
Customer content is FREE CONTENT. You do not have to pay for models, actors, or spokespeople, you not have to write a script, you do not have to pay for a photo or video shoot, nor do you have to pay for editing. Customer content gives you content that you can use without having to devote significant resources to its ideation, creation, or production.
This type of content also helps to give your users and customers a face. It lets people see who follows you. This is important because it allows visitors to see themselves in the people who use and support your brand. They become a part of your brand family. They see people who look like them, or sound and act like them, using your products and can envision themselves doing the same. And really, when it comes down to it, isn’t that the goal of most advertising?
It is also important to note that customer content can be used to display the impact that using your product can have. Makeup brands, for example, will repost videos and tutorials from professional artists and influencers who are using its products. Sharing these videos and images gives visitors to your brand’s social pages an immediate understanding of the impact your product could have on their lives.
Potential customers - especially millennial customers - want to feel like they are dealing with ‘real’ people, a ‘real’ brand. The demand authenticity and this means you need to be relatable and offer a human vibe. Customer content will give you this element. When you are only creating content in-house that appears with a sleek and polished finished, it may not connect in a deep way. Beautiful, professional-looking content is amazing and can generate a lot of interest. But content that gets below the surface will feel less clinical and cold. The way customers can exhibit and speak to your product and brand will make people feel much more comfortable with you.
Not every bit of customer content that comes your way will perfectly fit your marketing strategy. But, the good news is that you can hand pick the content you want to use. Only use the content the works to support your brand message. There is no reason that you cannot curate this content as carefully as you curate everything else you do. And being selective in your choices, makes customers want to be a part of the exclusive group that makes the cut. Being selective will not only create buzz, it may create a scenario where your customers are producing increasingly better content just to make an impression on you. High-quality customer content is a truly valuable find.
How To Get People To Engage:
Now that you understand why you should use customer content on your social media pages, the question remains: how do you get people to engage with your content? Here are some things you can do the foster involvement from your followers.
Contests: Contests are a great way to engage customers. The American Eagle brand Aerie used their #AerieReal campaign to encourage women to upload unretouched videos of themselves explaining why they wanted to appear in Aerie’s bra marketing campaign. From those submissions, Aerie picked 20 winners to appear in the future ads. There is no reason why you cannot do the same. Set your parameters, run the contest, and collect your content!
This can help you create engagement in a few different ways. You can narrow the submissions down to 10, or whatever number you decide, feature them on your pages and get your followers to help you choose a winner. Running your contest in this manner will not only encourage engagement through submissions, but it will get the rest of your audience to participate in the decision making process. Giving your audience this power will help them feel more connected and familiar with your brand. And once you have named the winner, you have an authentic customer or audience member that will be featured on your page and in your ads, again, solidifying your brand’s relatability.
Giveaways: Holding a product giveaway will generate a great deal of interest. Create a piece of content, ask your followers to repost your content, tag you in the repost, and tag three friends in the original post for an entry into a draw to win a prize. This will activate the people who are already familiar with your brand while using word of mouth and peer recommendations to bring in new followers and potentially new customers.
Create a Hashtag: Give your brand a hashtag! For this to work, you need to make sure that the hashtag is specific, relevant, and clever. It also needs to be something that is easily usable and linked to your brand. You want people to understand the hashtag and be excited to use it.
Open your Pages: Remember to make your pages public. If you do not, customers and fans will not be able to tag you in their posts. It is also a good idea to follow pages and people who seem likely to not only use your products but to post about them as well.
Create a Snapchat Geofilter: Design and create your own geofilter that can be used to promote your events or store locations. Victoria’s Secret, for example, has a geofilter for all of their Pink locations, encouraging visitors to share their visit on Snapchat. Geofilters will carry your brand name and so each time it is used, you will gain exposure. Because they are tied to geographical locations, it is important that you tie it in with some other marketing efforts. Create a buzz and make it something worth doing! If you do, you’ll find people going out of their way to use it.
Using customer content on your social media channels is just a good idea. It will help to create awareness of your brand while increasing your authenticity. Customers rely on other customers when it comes to making a decision so it is important that you try to incorporate what actual people are saying. Including “real” people in your marketing strategy encourages connection and loyalty to your brand which often translates into repeat purchases!