Best practices on social media are constantly evolving. We’ve seen large strides in various practices such as celebrity endorsers, micro-influencers, and customer advocates over the last five years. The big component that ties these three together? User-generated content (UGC).
Lately, organic content is taking a backseat and its ability to produce significant reach is dwindling. Not only that, the cost of advertisements has been increasing, making it a field that is growing in complexity and competitiveness. It 2017, the Digital Advertising Report from Adobe Digital took a look at the cost rises in percentages on certain key areas.
Big ones to notice would the cost-per-click (CPC) areas, meaning all Search advertising efforts will see spikes in cost. This, however, is where user-generated content comes into play and social media shines.
So, what does UGC look like?
At this point, most are aware of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign where bottles were adorned with names on them. Customers were asked to share photos of themselves and the beverage with their name on it on their personal social media platforms. And just like that, they became the advertisers. This is what a UGC campaign looks like in its most simplified form: customer advocacy.
UGC is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors. This can be anything: photos, videos, Facebook or Instagram posts, tweets, and more. Think of it as word-of-mouth referrals, and despite living in the digital age, these types of referrals are some of the most beneficial to have.
Why is it important?
The biggest reason would be authenticity. As a dental practice, you want to showcase that your online presence is a reflection of what your office is like. While having branded content is important, catering to your patients and having them be front and center is just as essential if not more so.
We don’t give online users enough credit; they recognize marketing tactics and will gladly navigate away if they’re bothered by them. UGC diminishes this risk by using actual patients and customers as the trusted source. By using your patients as advocates, connections are created through stories, shared interests, and more. It adds a level of human interaction that is still desired in the online world. After all, over 92% of people trust peer recommendations over branded content, so it’s easy to see the benefits.
How do I implement it?
Naturally, we’re not going to recommend going the Coca-Cola route – not the most feasible. However, there are still many ways to let your patients become your advocates and advertisers online. The easiest one would be sharing great interactions at your office.
If a patient has had a good interaction with your practice, there is a high likelihood they’ll want to share it. You’ve already seen this through reviews, Facebook or Instagram posts, and testimonials. Now it’s time to utilize them. Share their reviews and use their words to your advantage. Make a post about it and let your potential new patients in on the great experience they had.
Other ways to get your patients involved are as follows:
- Launch a photo campaign
Do your patients have a story to share about their new smile? Ask them to share it with a nice photo like the ones above.
- Search for posts you’re tagged in
- A post on Facebook, photo on Instagram, or even a Tweet – they are out there and they were waiting to be used. Ask if you can repost and let them do the work for you.
- Flaunt the merch
- This might not be for everyone, but we’ve seen practices that have shirts or cups with their brand on it, so why not make a competition out of it? Ask your patients to take photos with the merch around the community and pick a winner based on the most creative one. Highlighting the community and getting them involved at the same time is a win-win.
UGC not only grabs attention, but it gives people a reason to look into or even return to your practice. It fosters a community and builds a stronger audience in the process. The benefits are plain to see, so it’s time to get sharing.
If you ever need help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Social Media team. We’ll work with you to find a strategy that best fits your practice.
— Adrian Vargas, Social Media Specialist, Sesame Communications