Unlock Brand Awareness, Trust and New Leads
Do you use user-generated B2B content? You may not think so, but if you’ve done a case study or have a testimonial on your website, you actually do! B2B companies have been using this type of content for decades, they just haven’t defined it in this way. In fact, there’s a common misconception that user-generated content is just for B2C marketing. But it has a ton of potential in the B2B realm beyond case studies and testimonials.
User-generated content is content that comes from clients, users and influencers in relation to your organization. They’ll either share this content on their own in reference to your company and/or give you permission to share it, or you’ll actively pursue this content for use in your materials, channels and platforms. Another common term for user-generated content is “earned media.”
User-generated content examples for B2B companies include:
- Posts, comments and shares on social media
- Participation in your company blogs or videos
- Testimonials, either in written or video form
- Reviews, particularly on third-party platforms
- Case studies and customer success stories
- Surveys and questionnaires
Benefits of User-Generated Content for B2B Marketing
There are lots of reasons to add user-generated content to your content marketing mix, but there’s one particular reason that stands out: brand trust. B2B customers are relying more and more on online endorsements from their peers, especially as endorsement culture grows in the B2C realm. A bit of user-generated content can confirm your brand and turn potential leads into customers.
Other important benefits include:
- Enriched relationships with current and potential customers. Engaging with your customers through platforms like social media and involving them with your brand deepens those relationships for stronger ties, brand loyalty and a “following.”
- Brand awareness. Having evidence of your brand in action means exposure. This exposure can go beyond a professional ad because the audience gets to see the truth of your brand promise.
- Second and third connections. User-generated content can put you on the radar of users’ connections.
- Low to zero-cost content. It’s always good to have more content, and UGC doesn’t require a large investment. Of course, you should have a strategy, and strategy and curation take time and attention. But they won’t take nearly as much attention as other aspects of content marketing.
- Unmatched insights. A nearly hidden advantage of this type of content is that it gives you perspective on your actual and potential customers, including what they appreciate most about your product or service, what their personas really are, what other content and/or companies they’re engaging with and more.
- Greater chance of engagement. Potential customers are often more likely – by vast degrees – to engage with user-generated content than other marketing materials.
How to Create User-Generated Content for B2B Marketing
Amplify the UGC you already have and engage with your audience to generate more with these three strategies:
- Lean into social media.
Social media platforms are great for building brand awareness and engaging with your audience. B2C marketers know this, and many B2B marketers have dipped their toes in the pool with great success. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, 25% of B2B marketers consider social media a high performer for building brand awareness. Top platforms for B2B companies include:
Your customers may have endorsed you on social media already. They may have mentioned you on LinkedIn or posted a picture of themselves using your product. Seek these endorsements out and engage with them to bring them to the forefront with comments and likes. Request permission to share or repost their endorsement on your company page.
To spark more user-generated content on social media, try asking a question or starting a contest. Both should target top-of-funnel customers and participation should be easy to ensure responses. When users engage with your question or contest, don’t just analyze the number of comments or photos. Think about those top-of-funnel visitors who are visiting your platforms to learn more about you.
Content Marketing Institute reports that 95% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, and Twitter and Facebook came in second and third at 86% and 83% respectively.
- Deploy current customers.
Most happy customers won’t balk at requests for reviews or shares. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your customers to write reviews, share a campaign of yours on social media, or even submit a testimonial. Though most probably won’t find the time to fulfill the request, a handful will. And every positive review and share is user-generated content that increases brand awareness and exposure.
Make it easy for customers to reach third-party review sites from your website and within other marketing materials. For instance, at the bottom of every email, include an icon and link to write a review. For testimonials, include a submission option on pages clients frequent and in emails.
- Integrate with managed content.
Managed content is where B2B companies may already have a wealth of user-generated content. These types of content include:
- Case studies
- Success stories
- Customer-involved blogs
- Surveys and questionnaires
Your customers and their success are the raw indicators that your product or service is effective and indispensable. Highlight their results and their satisfaction by interviewing them for a blog, including their success story on your website, building a case study around their experience and conducting regular surveys to better understand their challenges and successes. With the insights from surveys, you’ll have even more opportunities for user-generated content that’s original and insightful in your industry.
Industry-Specific UGC for B2B
What might user-generated content look like in your specific industry? Here are some options for some of the industries we work with:
Technology: Have users submit photos or tag you in photos of themselves using your software or other technology. This is particularly engaging as more employees have gone remote and are working from sunny backyards, on the couch next to their children or in riverside cabins.
Instagram example: “@Xcompany helps me work from anywhere at any time, rain or shine, kids or dogs, home or away.”
Consultants: Success stories and client contributions to managed content are perfect for consultants. Consider adding a monthly client success story to your blog. Invite experts from organizations you work with to share their experiences and advice in various content. For instance, if you helped a company develop their digital strategy, an expert from their company could contribute an article about what they’ve learned, what worked, and best practices to follow. On social media, you might encourage companies to tag you in posts about milestones you’ve helped them reach.
LinkedIn example: “We’re celebrating our third year in business! This year, we experienced exponential growth and, with the help of @Xcompany, it was all growing and no pains.”
Distributors: Case studies and testimonials are great trust builders – and lead generators – for distributors. Use case studies to showcase solutions and cost savings you’ve actualized for customers. Once a case study is published, send an email blast to your mailing list. Add strong, relevant testimonials to pages on your website. And use your social media platforms to share testimonials and direct audiences to your case studies.
Reap the Most Benefits from User-Generated Content
Keep in mind, as we’ve mentioned, you shouldn’t approach user-generated content Jackson Pollock style. User-generated content can work against you, and it does take some strategy and effort to make the most of it. A few best practices for a user-generated content strategy include:
- Set measurable intentions for each pursuit. Do you want followers, product exposure, newsletter subscriptions?
- Stay engaged with audiences as they engage with you.
- Follow through on any campaigns.
- Listen to users and revisit your strategy with what you’ve learned.
- Always get permission to use USG, names, photos, etc.
- Thank users for their contributions, feedback and participation.
At 3 Aspens Media, we have experience compiling case studies, conducting surveys, writing blogs about customer success and driving engagement on social media. If you’d like to add user-generated content to your marketing strategy, get in touch with us at [email protected].