Businesses that enjoy continued success follow best practices when it comes to providing excellent customer service. While satisfied customers are great for a company, delighted customers are more likely to become loyal customers – even fans and brand advocates. What is the difference between a satisfied and delighted customer? According to Hubspot:
“Customer satisfaction happens when you simply meet customers’ expectations, whereas customer delight is the process of surpassing customers’ expectations to build a long-term, positive experience around your product or service and brand.”
If our goal is to convert our delighted customers into loyal, brand advocates, it is important to have a strong presence on the communication channels they frequent and provide plenty of opportunities for content sharing and interaction.
Why is it beneficial for a company to have delighted customers as brand advocates?
Simply stated: Organic brand advocacy is much more valuable than any kind of advertising your business can buy. User-generated content (UGC) – i.e. content generated by a consumer – can be defined as online content that is voluntarily created and shared by individuals, fans or consumers of a brand who are not associated with that brand. This content could be anything from social media posts to reviews on third-party websites.
Examples of User-Generated Content
User (Customer)-generated content (UGC) can fall under these three main categories: content, images, and videos. Let’s explore a few examples of UGC:
- Social Media – People take and share thousands of photos and videos daily on social media. They often tag their favorite business, such as a hotel, restaurant, spa, or retail store, in their posts.
- Reviews and Testimonials – Customers may send in reviews to a company to be included on a testimonial section of a website, or they may take their own initiative to use third-party sites such as Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc. It has also become a trend for Yelp and Google users to post photos or videos along with their reviews.
- Blog Posts – If, for example, your business is a daycare provider, a blogging parent might write about how much they appreciate your services in a blog post and link it to your website so that readers can click on it and see what you do. Similarly, a travel blogger might write about their favorite hotel or spa and include links and photos.
- Video Content – More and more consumers are sharing product or service reviews via videos or live streams. These include GoPro videos, Instagram or Facebook Stories, YouTube videos, and so on.
- Podcasts – A more recent trend is for consumers to mention a product or service on a Podcast they host or are a guest on. Podcasts provide great opportunities for B2B interactions as well.
If you know you have delighted customers, but don’t see a lot of user-generated content about your business, read on!
How to Encourage Brand Advocacy
Here are some tips to get your customers sharing more UGC for your product or service:
Tip #1 – Invite Customers to Share Photos – Be highly responsive on social media whenever a customer shares photos or videos about your brand. Let them know how great it is to see their enthusiasm. Invite your followers to share their photos and videos as well.
Tip # 2 – Acknowledge and Thank Customers – Make sure to publicly acknowledge anyone who engages with your posts or writes content about your business. This can be as simple as replying, retweeting, or sharing.
Tip # 3 – Hold Contests – Photo, video, or content contests with prizes or freebies for the winners are a wonderful way to generate UGC. Even just giving someone the spotlight by featuring their image or blog is popular. It will inspire your other fans to share more, in hopes of getting featured too.
Tip # 4 – Host a Podcast – Host a weekly or monthly podcast and invite your top fans to be guests. You could even invite them to host one of your podcasts – especially if they are an influencer in their field.
Tip # 5 – Conduct Case Studies – Most happy customers are more than happy to share their experience in a case study, video interview, or online testimonial. They may just need a little guidance and encouragement!
Tip # 6 – Ask for Their Vote – If your business or service has been nominated for an award, don’t hesitate to ask your fans to vote and share the good news.
Tip # 7 – Create Online Consumer Forums – Another way to encourage interaction is to set up an online forum so that your biggest brand advocates can take part in the dialogue about your products and services and any new releases.
For all of the above, keep in mind that it’s important to obtain the appropriate permissions and rights to use a customer’s content, image, or video for your marketing purposes. Once you have permission, you can get even more out of UGC by repurposing it on your website, social media, email – even build an online community around it!
We hope this has given plenty of food for thought on how to convert your most delighted customers into enthusiastic brand advocates. When your fans are invited to take a proactive part in your marketing, they willingly contribute to your continued growth and success, making it a win-win for all!