How to Market Your Business With User-Generated Content

From positive reviews and social media photos and videos to contests and incentives, there are countless variations of user-generated content that can be used for marketing. — Getty Images/g-stockstudio

As a business owner, you understand the importance of positive customer reviews and social media posts about your brand. Consumers want to do business with brands they trust — and reviews are a key element in building trusting relationships.

In fact, 72% of consumers won’t make any moves until they read reviews about a business, and 93% of consumers let reviews about local businesses determine their opinions before trying out the business themselves.

When companies use these positive reviews and social posts in their marketing strategies, that is called user-generated content (UGC) — content created by customers of a brand, for or about that particular brand. Think of it as free advertising via satisfied customers.

[Read: Under Armour Looks to User-Generated

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User-Generated Content: How to Use It

From tapping influencers to supporting a charitable cause, there are many ways businesses can leverage user-generated content to bring awareness and trust to their brands. — Getty Images/AkayArda

User-generated content, or UGC, refers to any type of content (videos, GIFs, images or text) created by a person rather than a brand. Examples of UGC can be a review left by a happy customer, a picture of your window display posted on Facebook or an Instagram boomerang of a “cheers” toast with your bar’s latest cocktail creation.

Like influencer marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, UGC is extremely compelling content that your brand should be sharing. Research shows that consumers trust UGC 50% more than other types of posts. Here’s how to leverage UGC to grow your business and attract new customers.

[Read more: 3 Expert Strategies for Creating Great Content]

Use a unique hashtag

A hashtag allows your audience to link their

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Top 8 Business Development Skills

From keen negotiating skills to the abilities to listen and foster trust, there are several key personality traits that business owners should hone when focusing on biz dev. — Getty Images/kali9

Every business needs new customers to keep growing. That’s why business development is so important: The relationships and value you build through “biz dev” activities like networking and collaborating are what ultimately lead to sales conversations with prospects.

So what business development skills do you need to truly make a difference for your organization? According to small business leaders and marketers, you should focus on improving these traits to generate more leads and build stronger customer relationships.

Negotiating

Negotiation is at the heart of any business deal. Through excellent negotiating, you’re able to get better outcomes for both parties through effective communication, said Lewis Goldstein, president of Blue Wind Marketing.

“Learning to master negotiation will make a major difference

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Tools for Monitoring User-Generated Content

From tracking customer reviews to hashtag help and influencer recommendations, there are many resources available for businesses looking to market with user-generated content. — Getty Images/Extreme Media

User-generated content allows your customers to speak for your brand: Through methods like positive reviews and social posts, your customer base is proving your authenticity and fostering trust between new customers and your business.

In fact, according to one survey, 90% of consumers agree that authenticity is a crucial factor when trying to decide what brands to buy from. Listed below are 10 resources that will help you gather and manage user-generated content for your business.

For customer reviews: Yotpo

Yotpo’s focus is on helping businesses build an engaged and loyal following of customers. When it started in 2011, the company focused on helping businesses collect customer reviews before expanding into user-generated content.

Yotpo makes it easy to manage and track customer reviews,

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Best Social Platforms for Content Marketing

From knowing which demographic you’re targeting to understanding the qualities of each social platform, creating your content distribution strategy takes time and diligence. — Getty Images

When a business posts the same content on all of their marketing and social channels, or even multiple times on the same channel, it’s called cross-posting
— and it can actually do more harm than good to the brand.

For example, let’s say you own a bakery. If a customer follows you on Instagram, they likely also follow you on Facebook or Twitter. How many times do you think that customer wants to see the same post of your featured cupcake of the week?

Many small business owners intuitively know that every piece of content should not be repeated across all social and marketing channels. Depending on a variety of factors — from the audience demographic to aspects like caption length and hashtag practices

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