The influence of UGC is growing across all social channels. So, it’s important for B2B marketers to consider the role UGC plays in their brands’ marketing strategies — and the first step is to gain a better understanding of the various benefits UGC provides to B2B brands. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of user-generated content for B2B brands.
What is B2B Branding?
The term Business-to-Business brand (abbreviated: B2B brand or B-to-B brand) describes brands for industrial and capital goods, machines for instance.
Unlike a Business-to-Consumer brand (B2C brand), the brand’s target group is not the end consumer but companies in the processing industry (with a few exceptions, for example, Intel). Some of the best-known types of B2B brands are company brands such as Hilti, Festo, Siemens, General Electric, and IBM.
Countless technology brands are B2B brands, as are so-called ingredient brands like Intel or GORE: They try to convey their relevance to the end customer across value chains.
Such brands sell their products to processing enterprises which in turn advertise that they integrate these brands into their products (“Intel Inside”). The goal is to make the product more attractive.
Because negotiations in the B2B segment are primarily with purchasers or corporate buyers, it is often assumed that decisions are made mainly on the basis of price.
However, various studies – among them the first study examining brand management in the B2B sector – have shown that buyers indeed apply other purchasing criteria: security, simplicity, and their personal relationship with the seller.
Benefits of User-Generated Content for B2B Brands
Now that you have an overall idea of what B2B branding is, let’s move on and discuss the benefits of user-generated content for B2B brands.
1. User Creativity Drives Increased Customer Engagement
UGC introduces opportunities for added depth and creativity, resulting in a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts.
For example, in Adobe’s CreateJoy campaign, users share images, animations, and videos they’ve created using Adobe, then include the hashtag #Adobe_CreateJoy for their content to be featured on Adobe’s social networks.
This allows the brand to inspire buyers by showcasing the creative talent of its users — a talent that’s enabled by Adobe products.
Rewarding the creators of UGC with reposts or retweets motivates participation, especially for brands with a large social following. If your brand has a smaller following, offer an incentive such as a prize to boost social shares of UGC.
UGC Gives Your Brands a Voice in Conversations Your Customers Care About
Encouraging your audience to share their views and ideas on a topic they care about can be a powerful, mutually beneficial social strategy. By initiating meaningful conversations with prospects and customers, you can position your brand as an influential voice and thought leader in the space.
Start by posing an industry-specific question and encouraging discussion in the comments section of the post. The responses you capture from your social audience can inform decision-making and potentially be repurposed for stand-alone social content or the development of other content assets.
Customer Success Stories Connect Prospects to the Customer Journey
In addition to driving higher engagement, UGC also builds and strengthens customer loyalty.
Today’s buyers have the ability to research and review a product on their own, but they are more likely to trust a user’s review of a product over a brand. That’s why 93% of consumers find UGC helpful when making a purchasing decision.
Third-party review sites like Yelp, Google, TrustRadius, or G2 are the most valued because they are not hosted or controlled by a brand. However, video testimonials are still powerful when hosted on a brand platform because they facilitate a more playful approach to storytelling.
Employee UGC Generates Positive Brand Sentiment
Company culture posts are a form of UGC that drives high engagement rates and differentiates your company from competitors. Consider sharing content created by your employees, like an inside look at a day in the life of your marketing manager and employee-generated blog posts.
Or consider allowing employees to take over your brand’s social channels. This creates distinct and memorable content that serves as the building blocks of your brand’s online image.
You’ll notice that this content differs from the content in an employee advocacy program in which workers are given content to share on their own social media channels. Mailchimp takes advantage of UGC through its #MeetMailChimp series where they introduce and feature employees on Instagram.
Employees are empowered to share their positive work experiences, which boosts public brand perception, as shown in one comment, “I want to work for MailChimp, sounds awesome”.
User-generated content will continue to be a driving force on social platforms as B2B brands move away from a strict sales approach and tap into new audiences. Sharing UGC shows customers and employees that a brand values their voices and opinions, creating a stronger and more loyal online community.
A UGC strategy acts as a powerful endorsement for a brand and its products, creating a level of trust which transcends any paid social efforts.