Did you know that you can have other people create content for you for free?! You probably haven’t heard of user-generated content (UGC), but it’s one of the best ways to have others market your business and give you content for your website and social media. I recently spoke with Lorraine Ball, founder of the Digital Toolbox Community, to learn more about UGC and why your website is way more valuable than your social media. Here are some of the takeaways from our conversation.
Understanding User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content or UGC is using other people’s content to help grow and market your business. Now, to be very clear – it is NOT stealing content from others. That’s a no go around these parts. The most common type of UGC is testimonials. Lots of businesses (including mine) use the words of other people to promote their business. Why? Around 80% of people will check reviews before making a purchase. They are more likely to take the word of strangers over your own when it comes to whether they should buy from you.
But UGC is more than just reviews. It can be polling your audience for content. Think Jimmy Fallon asking a question on Twitter and reading the responses during The Tonight Show. He (or his writers) didn’t have to come up with anything for those segments. That content was created by others. UGC can also be used to create new products. Ever entered a design contest for Nike’s new show or suggested a flavor for Lay’s new potato chips? You’ve participated in UGC.
Using UGC in Your Business
Besides sharing testimonials, a great way to get others to create content for you is through crowd-sourcing ideas for social media, email, or blog content. Ask your audience a question related to your niche and use their answers to write the content. For example, I recently asked my Facebook group what are some client red flags they ignored. I then took their responses to create a blog post that incorporated their responses. This is also a great way to link back to those providing responses because they’ll be more likely to share that piece of content. If you asked a question and are given an answer from your audience that you then share, reply or use, that person is way more likely to be connected to you and to your brand.
Why Is a Website More Valuable than Social Media?
“Social media is…a lot like going to a singles bar. You’re gonna meet a lot of nice people, you’re gonna have great conversations, but the end game is to bring your date home. Home is your website. Home is your email list. Where you can have a one-on-one conversation without the distractions of the kittens, the babies, the foodporn, you name it.”Lorraine Ball – founder of the Digital Toolbox Community
When it comes to social media, you are giving up a LOT of control. You don’t control the algorithms and you can lose big if your audience is suddenly unable to view your content. It’s like putting too many of your eggs in a single basket when the basket is not even yours, and you can’t control anything about that basket.
What’s the Best Way to Utilize a Website
Outside of being a place to put some of that UGC, websites turn followers into paying customers. Every page on your website should have a logical next step. Direct your traffic to where you want people to go whether that’s a sales page or an email list sign-up form. Make a list of the top 10 questions you get asked on a regular basis and then answer them on your site. This is one of the best ways to utilize SEO and attract potential clients that are Googling the questions you have the answers for.
Lorraine Ball is the founder of the Digital Toolbox Community. After spending too many years in Corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings, and bad coffee and followed her passion to help small business owners succeed. Today, this successful entrepreneur, author, professional speaker, and host of a weekly marketing podcast, More than a Few Words, bring creative ideas, practical tips, and decades of real-world experience to every conversation.
As the founder of the Digital Toolbox Community, she helps business owners use internet marketing to grow. And in her spare time, she loves to travel, and take photos.
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