Did you know that the average consumer reads ten online reviews before making a purchase decision?
In other words, there’s never been a more important time to infuse user-generated content into your marketing strategy.
Your ideal customer doesn’t find merit in hearing you boast about how incredible you are. They’re interested in hearing from customers who invested in you first — the ones who took a chance on you and are willing to share details about their experience.
The unfortunate reality is, marketers have a reputation for coming across as spammy. From overpromising and under-delivering to making outlandish claims, it can be hard to trust a marketer.
You have generated or bought great leads but when it comes to making purchasing decisions, consumers are pack animals. They value real, honest experiences from customers who’ve test-driven your products and services.
If you’re interested in creating a user-generated content strategy with a CMS to drive more sales, you’re in the right spot. In today’s article, we’ll walk you through how to do just that in a few easy steps.
1. Analyze your CRM
The first step to creating a user-generated content strategy? Familiarizing yourself with your current customer relationship management (CRM) data.
Track any upcoming campaigns, conversations to revisit, and anything pending in your pipeline. Be sure to also track customer activity, purchases, and pain points.
Read each line carefully so you fully understand your foundation. Then, look for patterns that might strike inspiration for user-generated content tactics.
For instance, you might notice that several leads are asking the same questions. Or you might notice an increase in consumer purchases around a certain time. Or you might notice a certain product always goes out of stock.
All three of these patterns can inspire user-generated content ideas.
Here’s a breakdown of what we mean:
Noticing several leads asking the same questions?
Have your VIP customers record short videos answering frequently asked questions about their experience.
Take a look at brands like Real Thread for inspiration.
Noticing an increase in consumer purchases around Valentine’s Day?
Ask influencers who love your product to create a Valentine’s Day campaign to stir up an even higher demand.
Noticing that a certain product always goes out of stock?
Reach out to the same customers that consistently buy that product. Ask them to host a three-part email marketing series laying out:
- Why they love the product
- A product demo
- A behind-the-scenes look at using the product in their daily lives
A bit later in this article, we’ll reveal a content management tool that you can use to make this process more efficient.
2. Analyze current user-generated content
There are two ways to take advantage of user-generated content. We already covered the first method: analyzing your CRM to gain inspiration for new user-generated content campaigns.
The second method involves taking advantage of user-generated content that already exists.
Using your social listening tool, keep a lookout for:
- Total brand mentions
- Total audience reach
- Negative brand mentions
- Positive brand mentions
- Highest social channels mentions
Use the data collected by your social listening tool to brainstorm ways to integrate current user-generated content into your content marketing strategy.
For instance, if your fans are raving about you on Instagram comments, consider screenshotting the comments to use in:
- Ad campaigns
- Email marketing campaigns
- Social media posts
Or, if influencers are mentioning your brand in their blog posts, consider:
- Resharing their posts on your company blog
- Screenshotting snippets of the blog posts and sharing them on social media and in email marketing campaigns
- Creating a guest posting strategy
- Hiring them to take over your company blog for a while
It’s also important to respond to all negative brand mentions as soon as they come in and attempt to calm the situation. All of your user-generated content efforts could go to waste because of a few bad brand mentions.
When responding to negative mentions, stay constructive and solution-focused.
For instance, if you come across a comment like this one:
“My husband and I absolutely loathe this company. After complaining to the customer service department for two weeks in a row, we finally received our new washer.”
Try responding like this:
“Hi, Sara. I am so sorry for this frustrating situation. We’re looking into this with our customer support manager today. Once we understand what caused the delay, we’ll reach out to you with information. We’re also meeting with our shipping team to see what changes we can implement to prevent this from happening again. In the meantime, we’d like to send you two stainless steel washer hoses and a 30% discount on future maintenance work. Please let me know if the address we have on file for you is still good to go.”
In a bit, we’ll also reveal a special tool you can use to save time repurposing positive brand mentions.
3. Highlight your VIP customers
Take a second look at your CRM and social listening data and flag all of your VIP customers.
As a point of reference, your VIP customers are people who:
- Buy from you often
- Refer friends to you
- Are part of your membership programs
- Rave about you on social media
- Give you valuable feedback
- Love opening your emails
- Submit answers to surveys and polls you create
4. Set goals and deadlines
What's the mark of a successful user-generated content strategy? Have a strategy that supports your company in achieving its goals.
That’s why it’s important to answer questions like:
Why is having a user-generated content strategy important to you? What do you hope to accomplish with a user-generated content strategy?
To help you hit your company goals, we recommend creating an end goal and a primary goal to help get you there.
5. Choose user-generated content methodologies and tactics that are in line with your goals
At this point, you have a clear understanding of your CRM and existing user-generated content. You’ve also highlighted your VIP customers and set important company goals and deadlines.
The next step? Choosing user-generated content methodologies and tactics in line with your goals.
Here are some we recommend:
Collect visual product/company mentions and repurpose them for marketing
Use user-generated content software to collect visual product or company mentions from social media and other sources. Then repurpose them for use in marketing campaigns.
Not sure which user-generated content software brands to try? Check out CrowdRiff, Later, and TurnTo to start with.
User-generated content software saves time and marketing efforts by:
- Collecting brand mentions and visual product
- Using the collected content to help with content curation, content management, and resharing
- Integrating with other important software tools, such as ecommerce platforms and digital signage
In other words, user-generated content software can help your brand sift through mentions, identify top options, and create a reposting strategy.
Create a user-generated content strategy centered around your VIP customers
Remember the VIP customers you highlighted in step three? We recommend inviting them to be part of your company’s user-generated marketing campaigns.
You can invite VIP customers to:
- Record videos and Reels on social media
- Write sponsored blog posts or social media posts
- Take over your email newsletter for a campaign
- Become affiliate marketers
- Take over your social media channels for a campaign
- Record testimonials and product demonstrations
To manage the marketing workload that comes with this method, we recommend using a headless content management system
Create an AutoShare system
A super-easy way to drive traffic to your site through user-generated content is by setting up an auto-share system. Tailor Brands uses this strategy for its users through Twitter shares. Once the user designs their logo using their service, they can easily share it with their followers through a built-in feature on their site.
This way, the user is promoting the brand and generating awareness with just the click of a button.
Take advantage of contests and challenges
Almost nothing can inspire virality and user-generated content the way contests and challenges can.
When hosting contests and challenges, focus on causes and products that mean the most to your customers.
EarlyBird serves as a great example of this with its #BabyWealth Challenge campaign.
Check out this repost from a customer raving about how a monetary gift he received as a child changed his life.
How to identify the best methodologies in line with your goals
In step four, we mentioned the importance of setting an end goal and a primary goal to get there.
In this section, we’ll break down exactly how to do that.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve identified your goal as:
“We’d like to establish trust, credibility, and a solid reputation so that consumers invest and view us as the best book summary app available on the market.”
In this case, your end goal would be:
Being recognized as the best book summary app available on the market.
Your primary goal would be:
Establishing trust, credibility, and a solid reputation.
Considering your goals, the methodologies and tactics you use should be founded in building trust with your customers.
If this were the case, the tactics used to build trust might include:
- Using published reviews from your site
- Using published reviews from reviews sites
- Shout out to influencers who review, rave, comment about your app
- Reposting snippets from happy customer mentions
- Creating a knowledge base
- Creating a guest posting strategy
- Creating an inbound marketing strategy
6. Manage user-generated content using a headless content management system
Last but certainly not least, we recommend using a headless content management system (CMS) to manage your user-generated content goals.
A headless CMS can help you connect apps, automate marketing workflows, and assist with marketing automation. It’s highly effective at managing multi-channel marketing. Another major benefit is you can connect your CRM tool to your headless CMS tool.
To learn more about what a headless CMS is and the benefits of using one, check out our article on “Benefits of Headless CMS vs a Traditional CMS.”
There’s never been a more important time to create a user-generated content strategy.
The truth is, your ideal customer isn’t interested in hearing you talk about how incredible you are. They’re interested in hearing from customers who invested in you first. The ones who took a chance on you and are willing to share details about their experience.
When it comes to making purchasing decisions, consumers are pack animals. They value real, honest experiences from customers who’ve test-driven your products and services.
We hope the steps we shared today will help you create a powerful user-generated content strategy.
To recap, here’s how to create a user-generated content strategy with a CMS:
- Analyze your CRM
- Analyze current user-generated content
- Highlight your VIP customers
- Set goals and deadlines
- Choose user-generated content methodologies and tactics in line with your goals
- Manage user-generated content using a headless content management system