How to Improve Your Business Reach with User-Generated Content

In this day and age, almost every business professional understands that marketing and a social media presence are important. But not everyone understands what makes for a strong presence. How do you promote your brand without coming across as pushy, salesy, or unrelatable? And in the professional advisor industry, how do you effectively get your message across in a very visual medium like Instagram? Studies show that roughly 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Are you featuring the right type of content to connect with your potential clients, customers, and other business professionals? 

Better yet… have you featured content generated by your customers and other business professionals?  

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like: content created by those who interact with your brand. User-generated content, or UGC, is a valuable part of every marketing strategy. This type of content places your customers and employees at the front of your brand and allows them to act as brand ambassadors. 

According to Tint, “93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands.” People trust people more than they trust brands. Therefore, incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy humanizes your marketing and subsequently boosts sales.  

Humanize Your Brand

The most influential and engaging businesses incorporate UGC and testimonials into their branding. 75% of marketers know that adding UGC makes brand content more authentic, and ultimately builds the community that surrounds their organization. A study shared in Everyone Social states that, “UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.”

Highlight Your Community to Build Your Community

Building a strong community of followers for your business increases customer loyalty and improves brand engagement. Studies show 67% of established organizations have used social media to build strong relationships that benefit the business. Additionally, 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. 

By highlighting members of your community on your social media accounts, you increase the authenticity of your content, gain the trust of your potential customers, and deepen relationships with your existing customers.

Three Tips for Submitting User-Generated Content To Brands

You know how beneficial sharing UGC as a brand can be, but what about submitting content to brands in your industry? Sharing content featuring larger brands is a great way to build your own business by capitalizing on their bigger network. But how do you determine what kinds of content they are looking for? According to The State of User-Generated Content 2021 Report by Tint, “50% of consumers wish brands would guide them in creating content.”

Most brands do not share explicit instructions on the type of content they would share on their social media accounts or website. However, if you do a bit of research, you can determine the voice, visual style, and brand colors that permeate their messaging. Tint says 59.8% of marketers agree that authenticity and quality are equally important elements of successful content. 

Understand Brand Voice:

Increase your chances of being featured on an industry-leading business’s social media or website by reflecting their brand voice. Gain a deep understanding of the way the business represents itself. Do they use technical terminology and feature strictly educational content? Or do they incorporate more personalized messaging with informal language? 

This is especially important when creating a video, podcast, or caption mentioning the brand. Without describing the brand in a way that feels natural and “on-brand” to the business, the chance of your content being featured greatly diminishes. 

Mimic Visual Styles:

What types of images do you share on your social media pages? Are they more corporate or lifestyle-based? Have they clearly staged their images or do they reflect a real moment? Some brands may have a more professional visual style on LinkedIn and a lifestyle or community-centric visual presence on Instagram. It is important to match the style of the platform on which you are trying to be featured. 

For example, say you are hoping to be featured on the Instagram of a financial institution. This organization shares high-energy lifestyle photos mixed with real advisors and customers using their service. So sharing a photo of a board meeting will not be the best fit for their brand. However, an image of your happy family having a picnic in the park with a caption about how their service benefits young families would be more on-brand for them. 

Pay Homage to Brand Colors:

One of the easiest factors to include when creating content is to ensure a cohesive color palette is applied. Most brands have a very strong visual style that they utilize across all platforms. Think of your business. What colors are included in your logo? 

Most brands are looking for User-generated content to move away from a staged feeling to their imagery. However, in order for your posts to fit with their brand’s visual style, continue to use their colors whenever possible. For example, if their logo contains a bright green, share a photo including vibrant green plants in the background, wear a green tie or blouse, or incorporate a green coffee mug in the frame of the photo. 

What Kinds of Content Does EPI Look For?

At the Exit Planning Institute, we pride ourselves on building a strong community of Certified Exit Planning Advisors across the globe. As such, we like to highlight our CEPAs on our website, social media platforms, and in print materials. Following the tips listed above, we put together a guide to the type of user-generated content EPI likes to feature. 

EPI Brand Voice: 

  • Utilize words like “business value”, “value acceleration”, “exit planning”, “CEPA”, “personal planning”, “Life after business”
  • Incorporate client success stories as a result of CEPA education
  • Emphasis on storytelling, not selling

EPI Visual Style:

  • EPI features a mix of professional business settings, lifestyle imagery, and cityscapes 
  • Incorporate people whenever possible
  • Emphasis on books, CEPA program materials, and Chapter events

EPI Brand Colors:

  • Incorporate blues and greens into content
  • Minimize the use of warm colors and opt for cooler tones
  • Avoid black and white imagery

Take this image from Michael Sheppard, Managing Partner at IronwoodDrive Financial Group, as an example. We shared this image on our LinkedIn page because it fits well with our brand colors, contains one of our core books, Walking to Destiny, and is a lifestyle image with a professional feel. 

Are you interested to see if your content is the right fit for EPI? Request our User-Generated Content Checklist to ensure you meet our brand needs!

Request the Checklist

Do you want to expand your professional network, enhance your marketing efforts, and build your relationship with EPI? Follow our social media accounts and be sure to tag us in your content you think we would love! You might just see it shared on our pages in the future. 

Send your content to our marketing coordinator, Colleen Kowalski.