User-Generated Content, or UGC, is exactly what it sounds like: content created by your customers (or users) instead of by you or your team.
You’ve probably seen plenty of UGC from your favorite B2C brands online — particularly those in the fashion retail and restaurant industries. But it’s not just a B2C strategy, or at least, it shouldn’t be.
If leveraged correctly, UGC is an effective tool for B2B brands on social media, too.
In this post, we’ll share six user-generated content formats for B2B brands to try plus examples from brands who are crushing it with their UGC game.
But first, let’s dig a little deeper into why user-generated content is an integral part of a well-rounded B2B content strategy.
Why Should You Use User-Generated Content?
There are three main reasons why we recommend integrating UGC into your content strategy:
- Cut down on content production time. More content for your calendar, less work for your team. Not only is this more cost-effective than outsourcing creative production to a third party, having a robust UGC strategy means you’ll spend less time in the ideation phase, too.
- Earn trust with social proof. People trust people — and not just people they know personally. 88% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. By sharing your customers’ endorsements of your product, services, or brand, you earn some of that trust for your brand.
- Extend your reach to other audiences. Not only is tagging all accounts involved best practices when posting UGC, but it’s also a good way to gain exposure by getting your content (aka your user’s content that you’re sharing) out in front of new audiences. Because they’re likely to have similar pain points, interests, and needs as your ideal user, you can expect a higher conversion rate from new followers gained in this way.
Alright, on to the good stuff.
How to Use User-Generated Content for B2B Brands
Here are six of the best ways for B2B brands to start using UGC in their social media content strategy:
1. Source Product Shots — for Paid and Organic Content
If you have a photogenic product, chances are your customers are taking pictures of it. There’s nothing wrong with product shots taken in-house or by a studio, but throwing some user-generated photos and videos into the mix adds dimension.
It also provides critical social proof. This is what the product looks and performs like, not in the warehouse or some studio, but in the hands of a real customer.
A B2B brand that does this well is Stickermule. So well, in fact, that their entire Instagram strategy is built around sharing stunning product photos shot by satisfied customers. It’s not just aesthetically pleasing, though.
Stickermule’s use of UGC shows off their products in action and highlights their diverse offerings to small business owners in need of packaging design solutions and other custom paper products, like these coasters:
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2. Demonstrate Product and/or Service Use Case
Every storyteller knows — show, don’t tell. This is still true even if you don’t have a physical product. Here’s lookin’ at you, SaaS brands.
Instead of telling your potential customers about all your product’s exciting features and functions, it’s better to show them those features and functions in action. And while you could produce your own demo content, client examples are often much more powerful teaching tools, like Notion does.
Notion shares a lot of content around their software’s capabilities and new features, often paired with short videos. These demos do a good job of both enticing prospects and educating users, but they can sometimes feel abstract, particularly for those unfamiliar with the software’s user interface.
By sharing concrete examples of how customers are using their product, Notion provides context, inspiration, and education to new and potential customers while also uplifting and promoting their existing customers. Win-win-win.
3. Build a Sense of Community
For many B2B brands, the audience you’re reaching with organic social posts is often made up of existing customers and brand advocates. That means that your social media content should play a role in your customer satisfaction and retention strategy.
One way to continue to support and nurture this audience is by creating content that builds a sense of community. Campaigns like QuickBooks’ Small Business Relief Initiative do an excellent job of leveraging user-generated content to this end.
By using UGC, QuickBooks shifts the focus away from their own brand and instead highlights the stories and faces of small business owners (their target audience) and the shared experience of the small business community during this economically difficult time.
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We’re providing up to $1 million in the #SmallBizRelief Initiative to help businesses like @McEvoyRanch on @GoFundMe. This family-owned ranch is matching donations with contributions of food to their local food bank and bringing healthy meals to the community. To support this business or others like them, tap on the link bio.
4. Tell Customer Stories
Sharing your customers’ success stories in their own words is the best social case study for your business.
Celebrating and supporting your customers tells both your existing and future customers that you’re invested in client success. It’s also important to show potential customers who your clients are, aka businesses just like theirs.
Square incorporates customer stories heavily across all social media channels. Their strategy for filling their content calendar with customer stories? Simple.
They just ask.
5. Elevate Your Team and Leadership
While you might argue that this stretches the definition of user-generated content, team-generated content is a powerful tool to keep in mind when developing your social media content strategy.
The main benefit of leveraging employee-generated content is to humanize your brand. You don’t want your customers and followers to think of your brand as a faceless logo. Sharing content from the people who make up your company helps combat that image while positioning your employees and leadership as experts in their field.
Team-generated content is also useful on channels like LinkedIn, where the algorithm actively prioritizes personal content over content from company pages.
You can either repost content that team members have shared with their personal channels or source content directly from the team through your internal messaging system.
6. Share Customer Testimonials
Almost any user-generated content that you can use for organic social media, you can use for your paid campaigns, too. With that said, one of the strongest UGC formats for social ads is the testimonial.
We mentioned earlier how much stock people put in online reviews so that probably doesn’t come as a surprise.
Whether you use it in the ad copy or in the ad creative itself, a solid testimonial is going to provide the social proof customers want before they click.
GoDaddy has a series of excellent Facebook ads that incorporate video testimonials from users, walking the viewer through how easy their services are to use. The ads are highly effective, delivering valuable social proof in a polished, personable way.
Developing Your Own B2B User-Generated Content Strategy
When done well, user-generated content helps brands make more human content with less hassle. Hopefully, the above examples will serve as an inspiration and a starting point for building your own B2B brand’s UGC strategy.
To learn more about the other building blocks of a successful B2B social media strategy, read our complete guide.
- How to harness the power of social media videos
- Marketers guide to establishing a social media persona
- Master B2B marketing with LinkedIn
- Strike social media gold with Pinterest
- How to Use User Generated Content for B2B [Formats + Examples] - August 18, 2020