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Aimee Millwood
Director of Content at Yotpo
April 30th, 2015

5 Customer Content Marketing Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Table Of Contents

Creating and perfecting customer content marketing campaigns shouldn’t feel like staring at a blank page. We’re here to make mastering marketing with customer content easier.

As more and more brands start integrating customer content marketing (CCM), there’s been many admirable and amazing examples of great user-generated content marketing, as well as many that didn’t get the desired results. If CCM doesn’t seem to be working for you, it’s not time to give up.

There’s no question CCM works – it’s backed by plenty of data – but success relies on identifying questions about user-generated content marketing as well as possible mistakes that could be sabotaging your work.

We’ve studied how brands integrate user-generated content in their ecommerce marketing plan, and we’ve learned that mistakes can be the greatest learning tools.  We’re here to identify some of the most common customer marketing mistakes along with the tips you need to correct any missteps and start seeing results.

Mistake #1: You aren’t utilizing your marketing mojo

Marketing mojo, otherwise known as excellently executed strategy, is the core fuel that powers every campaign. Campaigns can take off on their own, but without marketing mojo, they’ll never reach their full potential. How do you get mojo? Understand and cater to the needs of your users.

Many campaigns don’t take full advantage of their mojo because they wrongly campaigns propelled by customer content need less strategy. This is a serious mistake.

While customer content advertising drives campaigns, they will crash without a great strategy to drive and guide it. Strategy is key to every marketing campaign – don’t let yours fall short. Without focus, CCM achieves nothing.

How to know if you’re lacking mojo: You don’t have concrete, detailed user personas. It’s impossible to know what your users’ needs are unless you know who they are.

How to fix it: Create detailed user personas. Be able to identify who your users are, what they respond best to, which mediums they interact with, what type of content they prefer consuming and contributing, and what motivates them to engage.

Check minute interaction details, such as when spikes in activity during a certain time of day or day of the week occur within your audience. For example, while young professionals may be great to reach in the mid-afternoon on Fridays when they’re trying to kill the last few hours of work, if you’re targeting teenagers, they’ll be getting out of high school and embarking on weekend fun at this time. Your campaign must be super targeted to know not just what to ask for, but how.

Don’t disregard outliers – these can often be the strongest contributors. Find out what makes each and every target and subtarget audience tick, so you can measure your efficiency with data collected from real-time interactions. Every time you engage with your users, measure your results.

Knowing your audience but failing to study the data on what they respond to and don’t respond to causes you to miss out on seriously valuable indicators for future campaigns.

Mistake #2: You aren’t igniting customer passion

Too frequently, customer content marketing fails to take off because the campaign doesn’t properly align with the brand story. When this is the case, customers will lack the real desire to contribute.

We often hear the complaint that customer content marketing is failing because audiences simply don’t want to contribute. However, this is an enormous misperception. Getting responses relies asking for the right content in the right way.

Great customer content marketing campaigns are built off the knowledge that it’s not just what you ask your users for, but how you ask and how it is framed inside of brand story. You need to know not just what they want, but how they want to submit the content.

Consider different consumer segments – while teens may happily upload a selfie with a brand hashtag on Instagram, older generations may prefer to respond to requests via email. Additionally, your specific audience has needs that are best met through campaigns that tap into these desires.

How to know if you’re guilty: You feel like you aren’t generating significant buzz from your campaign.

How to fix it: Create harmony between the company story and campaign. Consider Starbucks’ success with their contest that asked consumers to submit their own cup designs. Starbucks knew that to get submissions, they needed to align with their brand coffee, and what was a better match than a cup of coffee?

Consider how to make your campaign unique to your company, like asking users to submit their own designs for retail or inviting them to send in photos of how they use your product in a related setting.

In other words, if you sell pet products, don’t just ask for photos of customers using your dog bowl – ask for them to submit a fun picture of Fido and them at their favorite park. Think of what makes users love your product and create a campaign that allows them to share their passion.

Mistake #3: You aren’t advertising correctly

When it comes to marketing with customer content, too much brand advertising can detracts from participation. Customer content marketing is driven by organic word-of-mouth, and when brands try to push a campaign, it can push users away.

Just because campaigns are spread organically doesn’t mean you can’t help the process. It takes subtle behind-the-scenes orchestration designed to set up your campaign so users spread the word.

How to know if you’re guilty: You aren’t getting strong engagement or shares from your target audience even though you created a campaign that should interest them.

How to fix: Make sure you’re asking customers to act in a way that is easy and enjoyable for them, and include a clear call to action that asks users not just to participate, but share. The key to achieving organic advertising is understanding virality. Ensure your request is both easy and enjoyable, and be as precise as possible so there aren’t any questions about your request.

A great example of this is the ACL Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. By being extremely specific and asking users to challenge five friends, social shares skyrocketed. Rather than asking customers to submit a photo and hashtag it, make it part of the request to invite others.

Mistake #4: You haven’t covered your legal bases

This is the number one mistake we see from people in user content marketing. UCM is a new ballpark with different rules. It’s important to back up your campaigns with the right legal shields so you don’t get in trouble.

How to know if you’re guilty: You have a set of terms and conditions, but you don’t separate contribution and distribution rights, and you also don’t really understand the legalities of repurposing content from social media for your own uses. In short, you assumed your user content marketing would be okay because everyone else is doing it, but you’re not sure.

How to fix: Make sure you cover all the bases in your terms and conditions to protect yourself by creating a comprehensive agreement that covers contribution and distribution rights. When dealing with social networks, you must take into concern their own agreements and understand what rights to the material you have. Don’t just assume implied content – seek explicit agreement before using anything your customers create. Ask for user permission during uploads, and make it clear that content created and shared on social media may be repurposed for marketing means.

Mistake #5: You aren’t getting the most out of your customer content

The smartest content marketers know distribution makes a little go a long way. A single customer content marketing campaign generates original content that you can then re-use for many further campaigns in the future. In addition to rewarding the best content and re-engaging users, knowing how to re-purpose UGC allows you to be more effective when getting the most out of what you have.

How to know if you’re guilty: You are getting great submissions, but after you receive them, they just sink to the bottom of your social media feeds or inbox.

How to fix it: Repurpose your content to ensure that great customer review or Twitter shout-out doesn’t get lost in the abyss of the internet. Compile your best submissions and integrate them into future campaigns. Beyond recycling valuable content, ensure you optimize your content for SEO to increase its visibility in the first place.

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