User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool to help brands build trust, improve engagement, and foster deeper connections with customers. This type of content is popular in B2C marketing and can also be very effective for B2B brands.
One of the challenges that B2B companies face when they consider incorporating UGC is choosing what kind of content to solicit from their customers. Many of the approaches that work well for B2C (for example, when a sneaker company features customers wearing its footwear on Instagram) will not be practical or appropriate for a B2B strategy.
That said, there are ways B2B brands can benefit from this powerful marketing tool.
UGC—used effectively—can showcase a brand’s authenticity, reliability, and expertise. Reviews and testimonials make for some of the best B2B UGC content. Brands can also leverage social media by reposting customer content and actively engaging with comments.
So, let’s explore a few ways B2B brands can effectively leverage UGC to strengthen their online presence and drive business growth.
Reviews are one of the most effective forms of UGC, as they provide honest, real-world feedback from customers about a brand’s products or services. B2B buyers often make significant long-term investments in the products they choose, and they rely on reviews and recommendations to make informed decisions.
To effectively use reviews, B2B brands should:
- Encourage customers to leave reviews: Send follow-up emails or reminders after a purchase, thanking customers and requesting a review.
- Include easy-to-find links to popular review websites like G2 and Capterra.
- Showcase featured reviews on the brand’s website, social media, and other marketing collateral. This helps demonstrate credibility and quality.
- Share awards and honors via social media. These posts provide an excellent opportunity to thank customers for their support and honest reviews.
- Monitor and respond to reviews: Address positive and negative reviews to demonstrate that the brand values customer feedback and is committed to resolving issues.
Well-crafted testimonials can significantly impact a brand’s reputation and credibility. Testimonials are similar to reviews, but they are typically more detailed and focus on the specific benefits of a product or service. B2B brands should:
- Request testimonials from satisfied clients. Ask for a quote or a short video describing their favorable experiences with the brand.
- Display testimonials prominently. Feature testimonials on the brand’s website, sales materials, and social media accounts.
- Use testimonials in case studies. Combine testimonials with data-driven case studies to demonstrate the real-world impact of a brand’s solutions.
Industry events provide B2B companies with an audience that is already engaged and interested. After all, casual browsers don’t typically attend trade shows! That’s why these events present a prime opportunity to collect UGC as attendees are more likely to be enthusiastic and willing to contribute their experiences, insights, and opinions.
B2B companies can leverage industry events to:
- Create interactive experiences that encourage attendees to generate content. Live demos, interactive displays, and giveaways can all be used to encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media or other platforms. By providing incentives or rewards, companies can motivate attendees to actively create UGC.
- Add diversity to their content. The concentrated nature of industry events allows B2B companies to capture a variety of UGC from different perspectives and backgrounds. This diverse content can be highly valuable as it provides authentic and varied voices, enhancing the overall credibility and reach of the company’s marketing efforts.
- Build industry relationships. Marquee industry events often attract influencers, thought leaders, and experts, both as speakers and attendees. Engaging with these influential individuals during events provides an opportunity for B2B companies to collaborate and co-create UGC. Partnering with influencers to create content can significantly amplify the reach and impact of the content, as they typically have a loyal following that trusts their recommendations and insights.
Employee generated content (EGC) is a powerful form of UGC that many B2B companies underutilize. Highly engage employees who are passionate about their work create incredibly valuable content that brands can deploy across multiple channels. Employee knowledge of the company’s products, culture, and values make them ideally suited to create compelling content that connects with potential buyers.
By encouraging and empowering employees to create content, B2B companies can:
- Tap into employees’ expertise, insights, and unique perspectives. This content takes many forms. Blog posts, social media updates, videos, case studies, and testimonials can all effectively highlight the expertise within your company. Plus, when you showcase employee expertise and talent, you build up the internal community that is vital to the longterm success of any brand.
- Add authenticity and credibility to content. When it comes directly from the employees who are knowledgeable about the products, services, and industry, content resonates well with potential customers. They perceive EGC as more genuine and trustworthy compared to content created at the corporate level.
One advantage that EGC brings to the table: B2B companies can leverage internal channels and platforms to facilitate creating and sharing EGC. This can include setting up employee advocacy programs, providing guidelines and resources for content creation, and recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions. By fostering a culture of content creation, companies can ensure a consistent stream of high-quality UGC generated by their employees.
Open Source Projects
B2B companies that provide products and services based on open source software such as databases or deployment tools have a unique UGC opportunity. Brands can highlight community members who build interesting projects using their open source offerings and offer a showcase for this incredibly valuable UGC.
B2B companies can leverage projects built on open source software to promote their products through UGC by:
- Actively participating in the open source community. While many young companies are “open source native,” larger enterprises built on proprietary commercial software can be active members of the community. Contributing to open source projects and providing value-added features or enhancements can help establish the company’s expertise and credibility within the industry. When other developers build off of these projects, brands can highlight that UGC across channels.
- Hosting or sponsoring hackathons, meetups, or developer conferences centered around open source projects. This provides an opportunity for B2B companies to engage with the community and encourage the creation of UGC. These events can lead to collaborative content creation, such as code snippets, demos, or project showcases, which highlight the company’s product and its capabilities.
- Provide resources and support to the open source community, such as documentation, tutorials, or libraries, which can generate UGC from developers who find value in these resources. By actively participating in forums, Slack and Discord channels, and ther online communities related to the open source project, the company can foster discussions and encourage UGC creation.
- Engaging with influencers or thought leaders within the open source community. This can be a very effective strategy for B2B companies to create UGC that promotes their products. Collaborating with influential individuals to create content, such as podcasts, blog posts, or video tutorials, can generate awareness and generate valuable UGC that highlights the company’s product features and benefits.
Reposting Social Content
Social media reposts can be a simple yet effective way to amplify UGC and boost a brand’s visibility on social platforms. B2B brands can leverage reposts to:
- Showcase success stories. Share how their products or services have helped clients achieve their goals or overcome challenges.
- Strengthen relationships and build community. Reposting customer content and amplifying other voices help develop a sense of community and deepen client relationships.
- Expand reach, generate leads, and add value to the community. Retweeting UGC can help the brand reach new audiences, potentially creating new lead opportunities. More importantly, engaging on social media allows brands to become active contributors to the community, adding value beyond the products and services they provide.
Engaging with customers’ comments on social media, blog posts, or forums is an excellent way to foster conversations, gather feedback, and address concerns. B2B brands can benefit from comments by:
- Responding promptly and helpfully. When brands address questions, concerns, and complaints directly and empathetically, they build community with their customers.
- Encouraging discussion. Post questions or prompts to encourage customers to share their thoughts and opinions on relevant topics.
- Using feedback for improvement. Customers who feel seen and heard develop deeper relationships with brands they trust.
User-generated content offers B2B brands a unique opportunity to build trust, increase engagement, and create lasting customer relationships. By effectively leveraging reviews, testimonials, reposts, and comments, B2B brands can showcase their expertise and demonstrate their commitment to their customer community, ultimately driving business growth and success.
Ready to get started building your B2B brand’s community with UGC? Let’s chat!