The customer journey has morphed from the days when consumers would sit back, relax and watch an advertisement.
Today, brands are learning that direct interaction with consumers is essential to success. That’s why they’re trying to make the customer journey more interactive for their target audiences.
As businesses adapt to embrace new technologies, they’ve started to use influencers and user-generated content for marketing purposes. This allows them to interact more personally with customers and create both enhanced trust and social proof simultaneously.
Influencers carry a lot of trust and clout with their followers as user-generated content tends to feel more authentic and shared than corporate messaging.
By devising a strategy that features both of these exciting content initiatives, you can create a smarter customer journey that’ll pay off for years to come.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of what you’ll need to do when inserting influencer marketing and user-generated content into your company’s marketing strategy.
Leverage analytics tools and AI to learn more about what your customers want
When devising any marketing strategy, the first thing you need to consider is your target audience. Their likes and dislikes should be inserted into absolutely everything you do.
But you can’t just guess or follow your “gut feelings.”
You need to back all of your decisions with cold hard data. That’s why you need to examine analytics and use AI tools to determine your audience’s buying habits and interests. You can then use this information to determine which influencers you need to approach and what kind of user-generated content will resonate best.
Create a user-generated content (UGC) strategy to build your brand and personalize the customer experience
Armed with the data garnered from your analytics tools, you can start building a UGC strategy.
How will you gather this content? What kind of content are you looking for? This is when it’s time to start appealing to the sensibilities of your target audience.
Consider asking for reviews, asking questions, and running contests where users showcase themselves using and enjoying your products. Then, pick the best and approach the creator, asking permission to use their content on your pages.
If you can find users who seem to have decent social media followings, you’ll be able to reach a whole new audience and encourage shares.
When crafting this strategy, consider:
- What customer segments you’re targeting
- What kind of content resonates the best with your segments
- How you’re going to encourage users to create content
- Whether you’re offering any incentives
- How you’ll approach them afterward to ask for permission
Identify the right influencers to work with and create brand ambassadors
Now it’s time to start thinking about influencers — users with large social media followers who can enter into strategic partnerships with you as brand ambassadors.
It’s important to find influencers who appeal directly to your target audience and have a large following among them.
It’s also vital to decide what you’ll offer these influencers to get their support. While lesser-known influencers may take free products and services as a payment, others will want something more tangible.
A common solution is to create a referral link for followers that generates a commission for the influencer. This guarantees that influencers only make money off the products they move — otherwise known as an affiliate marketing approach.
An example of how affiliate marketing works.
Still, some of the larger influencers will want money up front for the partnership, so you’ll need to decide if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.
You can also create an influencer strategy that supercharges your social and digital PR marketing. This can make it easier to run programs that cut through the digital noise.
For instance, if you own a keto diet weight loss app, ask the influencer to use it and upload content on their social media profiles with all of the personalized diets they’re implementing. They can also track their weight loss progress to prove the effectiveness of your app and create intrinsic value for the audience.
Collaboration with these types of influencers is also helpful for brands such as Nordstrom, Studiosuits, Revolve, etc., due to the fact that influencers often wear sophisticated clothes from different brands to emphasize their progress of losing weight.
Since this content is separate from corporate messaging, consumers tend to trust it more.
This brings us to …
Produce authentic content that resonates with your target audience
Consumers can smell inauthentic corporate messaging a mile away. The average person sees 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. Because of this, we’ve learned to block corporate advertising out.
That’s why the authenticity of user-generated content makes such a profound impact. It’s something new and trustworthy that cuts through the noise.
But to present that content to your audience in a way that breaks through our natural propensity to filter out such messaging, it needs to be heartfelt and visually appealing. It needs to capture the attention of a distracted audience.
To cut through the noise and focus on your core message, consider using professional tools like a remove background API to create congruent campaign images when implementing user-generated content on social media.
Another simple way to tug on emotion and deliver authentic, relatable content?
One of the most effective content types today for increased engagement is video. However, each social media site should have its own specific video material. For instance, YouTube benefits from long-form videos, while shorter videos work better on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
Videos may also help niche businesses better connect with customers.
For example, look at the work of TSplus, which produced a detailed video describing how its remote support software can provide administrators and technicians access and control over equipment from any location.
An example of UGC in a video.
The image above shows a great example of a video from this company’s website that incorporates user-generated content in the form of a customer quote.
When customers see a quote attributed to a satisfied user, it can draw them in to click on a video they might have otherwise completely bypassed.
VIDEO EMBED CODE:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/SvuAagC8ITk” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Scale influencer marketing campaigns with data-driven insights
Once you’ve launched your influencer marketing campaign, it’s time to start monitoring their progress.
This is where the referral links we mentioned before really come in handy. They’ll allow you to closely monitor real-time data regarding how many customers are coming to you via influencers.
After assessing the data, you might decide to drop underperforming influencers to free up some more budget and increase the commission percentage on the influencers that are driving the most business.
You’ll start to notice patterns.
For instance, maybe Facebook influencers aren’t bringing in a lot of new customers, but you’re seeing incredible success from Instagram and TikTok. You can then rework your plan to focus more heavily on these high-performing platforms, cutting out the dead weight and feeding the strong.
Collect rich, in-depth customer feedback on social media platforms
One of the best places to find user-generated content is on social media. You can search for reviews, images, videos, and more on the platforms that resonate best with your customers. Hint: Use a social listening tool to spot brand mentions, visual product, and respond to comments quickly and easily.
You can even encourage the creation of user-generated content on these platforms by running a special contest for a prize.
An example of Starbucks’ UGC
For instance, Starbucks frequently encourages users to share photos of their original artwork. In the image above, you can see the results of its White Cup Contest when Starbucks encouraged users to decorate their white Starbucks cups with original artwork, which the company then shared on its official social channels.
User-generated content can also be found on online forums. Platforms like Quora or Wikiask are characterized by a high rate of user-generated content. Here people write comments, answer questions, and contribute to the development of the platforms — an invaluable resource for brand mentions.
You can hire a frontend development team to improve the user journey of your web.
Create a smoother customer journey by consolidating customer data into one view
To create a smoother customer journey, you’ll need easy access to the data you compile. Of course, this data can come from multiple places, like your e-commerce store, social media, Google, email marketing platforms, and more.
That’s why you need to invest in a platform that can integrate all of this information into one singular view. This gives you an overhead view of your data companywide, ensuring you’re primed to use it in an effective way. If you collect customer data, make sure you prioritize email security and follow DMARC statistics, so customers can trust your company and give their personal information.
Dedicate time and resources to UGC marketing and influencer relations to ensure maximum impact
You’ll need to dedicate time and money to both the acquisition and sharing of UGC and your relationships with influencers. That means creating tasks in your project management platform specifically surrounding these vital pieces of the overall marketing puzzle.
It also means building prizes for UGC contests and influencer payouts into your marketing budget. If you’re going to make these important initiatives elements of your marketing plan going forward, you must dedicate the proper resources to them to ensure success.
If the data shows that influencer campaigns are causing more engagement and conversions, start to siphon money away from underperforming initiatives.
When influencers bring in more business than Google Ads, for instance, it might be time to pull a percentage of the Google Ads budget and invest more into the profitable venture of influencer marketing.
By working with influencers and user-generated content, companies can capture prospects’ and customers’ attention while humanizing their brand image.
The result? Better retention and a more engaging experience for consumers.
In our opinion, that’s a win-win for everyone.