The Best Ways to Use Testimonials and Other User-Generated Content on Your Website

by aschmidt

user_generated_contentUser-generated content (UGC) is perhaps one of the biggest gifts given to the modern marketing world. When used properly, it can be a powerful tool to build credibility, broaden your online reach and increase brand awareness. It’s also a great way to leverage the experiences and responses of real-life fans and customers to create a personal connection between your brand and your target audience. Read on to find out the best ways to use user-generated content on your website.
So what exactly is user-generated content? The short answer is that it’s any type of content that your fans or customers create. It’s the testimonials, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, blog comments, product reviews and other online communications that show how your fans and followers are interacting with your brand. This fresh, genuine and highly personal content originates from your audience, and can be shared with your audience.

Not only will UGC make your life easier in the content creation department (after all, you’re not the one coming up with the ideas), but it will also add a heaping helping of authenticity to your product or service offerings. It allows your audience to hear from people just like them; providing social proof essentially legitimizes your brand in the eyes of your target customer.

Great Ways to Use Testimonials on Your Website

Testimonials are one of the most valuable forms of UGC on the planet. Client testimonials can demonstrate to your target audience that you have a thorough understanding of their problems and pain points, and that you have the ability to provide bonafide solutions for those problems. Here are some simple yet highly effective ways to incorporate testimonials into your website:

  • Create a client testimonials page. Assemble all of the customer testimonials you’ve received and place them on a single web page. Also create a prominent navigational link or tab pointing to that page on every other page of your site. This will allow your customers to do the selling and convincing for you, and will lend an entirely new level of warmth and authenticity to your brand.
  • Include the customer’s name (with their permission, of course), as well as their company, position, location, age, and/or any other piece of information that they would be willing to share. If at all possible, include a picture as well; this will lend an even more genuine feel to the entire testimonial.
  • Place some of your best testimonials at different decision points on your website. If you’re offering a product or service, add a few testimonial quotes near the product images. If you’re aiming to collect opt-ins for your subscriber list, a few well-placed testimonials near the sign-up form will provide a subtle yet powerful form of affirmation for the user.
  • Don’t limit yourself to just text-based testimonials. Encourage your customers to submit video testimonials, or even photos of how they’re engaging with your brand, and how your product or service has helped them (e.g., before-and-after images, etc.).

Great Ways to Use Other Forms of UGC on Your Website

Even though client testimonials can be extremely powerful, they’re not the only game in town. There are several other ways you can implement UGC on your website to build your brand. Here are just a handful of examples:

  1. Run a photo contest through your company’s Instagram account, and then post the winner(s) on your website. Make sure to designate a specific hashtag for people to use to participate in the contest, and try to gear the theme toward something that shows people using your products or services in their everyday lives. Just be sure to make it clear that the winners will be announced on your website, and offer prizes to the top contestants.
  2. Ask your fans or customers to submit specific case studies that highlight how your product or service helped them meet a need or solve a problem. Ask them to detail the types of issues or problems they were experiencing before they discovered your business, as well as how they implemented your products or services to take care of their problems. Consulting firms are famous for tapping into this type of UGC, because it provides proven results that can inspire other potential prospects to give your business a try.
  3. Highlight product reviews on your site. And as counter-intuitive as this might sound, include some less-than-positive reviews as well. Let’s face it–a web page with nothing but 5-star reviews is not very believable, so some 3-star or 4-star reviews should be expected. Just be sure to include a non-combative response if you decide to include negative reviews. If you happen to receive a particularly inflammatory review from someone who just seems to have an axe to grind, there’s no need to include it on your web page, as it usually doesn’t add anything of value to the conversation.
  4. Ask your fans and followers to submit videos showing how they use your products in their everyday life. These are some of the best sales tools you can have, because they can make your products “come alive” in the minds of your target audience.

User-generated content can exert powerful influence when used correctly. By putting the above ideas into practice, you’ll increase your brand’s reach and foster genuine connections with your target audience.

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