User-Generated Social Content Can Build Your Brand - and Boost Sales

Writing on, Laurens Bianchi explains the benefits of integrating user-generated content into your marketing mix - as well as how to do it.

Today's consumers are constantly creating, sharing, and consuming social content. The big question is: how can brands benefit from it? Many brands will understand that this social content is popular, but they don't always realize how influential it also is.

More and more, consumers turn to social content when making buying decisions. Before clicking "add to cart," they seek a stamp of approval from peers and friends.

This trend creates a huge opportunity for brands to drive revenue. But the path from selfie to sale doesn't always seem straightforward. Many brands and retailers still lack a strategy for driving commerce from user-generated content.

To tap into the potential of user-generated-content, the following three steps are important to really leverage its power:

  1. Provide incentives to customers to post about their purchases on social sites.
  2. Promote sweepstakes across all platforms, from social to in-store.
  3. Collect the stream of user content (with permission, of course).

Once content has been aggregated, brands can feature the content on their website, providing links back to the content through social, which should drive more site traffic and sharing.

There's a very good reason to run this kind of campaign: brand engagement increases 28 percent when consumers are exposed to user-generated content and professional content at the same time.

Check out this infographic to learn more about how to leverage user-generated content:

learn more about how to leverage user-generated content

My opinion

Running a marketing campaign that leverages user-generated content is not easy, but it has the potential to help you rise above the noise and to raise the buzz around your brand and products.

User-generated content, when used properly, is an effective way to engage your audience, gain valuable content, get to know your users, and, eventually, to boost your sales.

It takes careful planning and an understanding of your audience, but used effectively, user-generated content can become an effective marketing strategy.

Laurens Bianchi is an independent online (sport) marketing professional from the Netherlands and has been blogging on ViralBlog since 2008. Currently he is the social media consultant for the Royal Dutch Football Association. Follow him on Twitter or contact him on LinkedIn.

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