Article author: Nadine Legrand
First of all, why should B2B marketers consider User Generated Content (UGC) in their online marketing strategy?
When it comes to buying out-of-the-shelf products, we usually put little thoughts and efforts in analysing what we are buying. Whether we like it or not, or whether this is conscious or not, we are mostly influenced by advertising, packaging or simply by the fact that the product is new and that we want to try it out. But when it comes to products with higher market values (i.e. more expensive products), we usually take our time to read reviews and compare product offerings before putting our signature at the bottom of a binding contract.
So, if this is true for B2C products, why should it be any different for B2B products?
1 – It’s all about credibility
With the growing importance of social media, potential buyers have now immediate access to a large variety of content types from which they can build their own perception of a company and the products it is selling.
“According to InSites Consulting, 38 percent of social network users pointed to other consumers as the most reliable source of information about a brand or product.”1 And this is not really surprising, whether marketers or consumers, we know that a company sales pitch is like a profile picture on dating sites, it aims at showing oneself in the best possible light. Nowadays, people are no longer interested in hearing how wonderful a product is from the mouth of the brand itself, they want to hear what other people have to say about that product, regardless if it’s their personal or digital network.
2 – From traditional to electronic word of mouth (eWOM)
Whereas before word of mouth was usually limited to friends, relatives and professional network of an individual, today that same individual can reach hundreds of thousands of people through social media. Considering the higher credibility value of such recommendations in the eye of potential buyers, it is essential for B2B marketers to rely on their current customers to help them generate genuine stories. Stories that others will be able to relate to.
Even without our knowledge, customers are already sharing stories about our products and services online. So why not take advantage of their stories to help us address the questions other customers are still trying to answer. Some companies have even gone a step further by creating “platforms that enable brands to monitor social conversations to collect and curate UGC.”2
3 – Building trust, increasing engagement and ultimately sales
Social media networks enable people to share opinions and experiences. By giving our customers the opportunity to showcase their successful stories and put their expertise in the spotlight, we are giving potential buyers a more credible picture of our products or services.
These stories will not only nurture our relationships with current customers but it will also help us reinforce the trust of potential buyers. Customers who took part in this co-creation process will also be more likely to promote this user generated content on their website and social media networks, which again will further increase the reach of such stories.
4 – B2B Content co-creation strategy
We all know that creating a good story takes time and resources. Most of B2B companies do not have the budget nor the resources to hire journalists or copywriters to generate content. So, once we have a good story in hands, we need to extract the best out of it and reshape its content in different formats so it can be spread through different platforms.
“An excellent example of influencer content marketing is how TopRank Online Marketing and Content Marketing Institute worked with influencers to promote the 2014 Content Marketing World conference. They collaborated with more than 40 influencers from major brands including LinkedIn, MarketingProfs, Kapost, Facebook, and Copyblogger.
Each influencer was asked what advice they would give to marketers interested in content marketing. The expert advice and insights provided by the influencers was compiled and used to create a treasury of content marketing resources in the form of four eBooks. Some influencers were also selected for long-form interviews, which were published with the eBooks on the TopRank blog.”3
Today, the importance of social media networks in the buyer’s journey is such that new concepts like eWOM (electronic word of mouth) and UGC (user generated content) have become an integral part of a successful online marketing strategy.
Therefore, B2B marketers have to make sure they publish enough relevant content on different platforms and try to use co-created content when possible, in order to build credibility and ultimately trust in the eyes of potential buyers.
Nadine Legrand, Communications Officer
- Armelini G. and J. Villanueva. “The Power of word of mouth. Adding Social Media to the Marketing Mix”. IESE Insight, issue 9 (2011): 29-36.