A fair chunk of time goes into creating a marketing plan and then executing said plan. But what if you could get your audience to help you in a way that made them feel valued and like they were part of your brand?
Ok, being part of a brand like Apple or Nike might be an easy sell, but a letting agent? Nothing against letting agents, but they don't quite have the it factor in the same way as some of the world's leading brands. And yet, you'd be surprised by how much audiences want to interact and feel a part of something.
Enter user-generated content, a form of marketing that relies on your audience creating content on your behalf. UGC can be a great way to get some extra juice out of your marketing activities while fostering a stronger sense of community with your audience. And here's how you do it.
What is user-generated content (UGC)?
User-generated content is any form of content created by people rather than a brand. That could be text, videos, images, reviews – anything that comes from someone who would typically use your agency's services.
Otherwise known as contributors, the user will create a piece of content incorporating your brand. You can then share this content on your website, across social media platforms and even on advertising material that promotes your brand.
How does user-generated content work?
There are two primary ways to get UGC from your audience: by asking them to contribute directly or finding previous mentions of your brand with social listening. You can then use that content for your own marketing purposes, as long as the content owner has given you their consent.
For most brands, Instagram is the primary place for UGC. People generally like to share images, which makes the social media platform a popular option. However, some brands use UGC on their website and in other ways to diversify their marketing efforts.
Why is UGC helpful for letting agents?
UGC can provide content on your behalf without you need to create it yourself while forming a bond with your renters and landlords. Typically, UGC is popular with lifestyle brands, as it's easy to get people to buy into the idea of being part of a community.
However, the more you dig into a letting agency's makeup, the more obvious it becomes that UGC actually seems like an effortless fit. Letting agents operate out of their local neighbourhoods and are often at the centre of everything going on. Therefore, implementing UGC in your marketing is merely another way of building on that sense of that togetherness in your area.
Important UGC stats
If you're wondering why UGC can benefit your agency, then look no further than the stats backing up its importance. Ads based on UGC garner up to four times higher click-through rates, while UGC gets 28% more traction than usual company posts.
UGC generates a 73% increase in email marketing campaigns and has a 29% increase for web conversions. Seventy-one per cent of customers also use online UGC reviews to make a purchase decision. And 93% of customers believe user-generated content is very helpful when making a decision, such as instructing an agent.
How should you approach renters and landlords?
Getting people to actually create UGC for your brand is an essential component to making unique content. But how do you encourage renters and landlords to post about your letting agency?
One of the most obvious ways to incorporate UGC is by asking people to leave reviews about your service. This is the most common way of implementing UGC in your brand, albeit the least creative. Good reviews are worth their weight in gold, though, and you should definitely seek them from renters and landlords. But this approach should make up a broader part of your UGC outreach.
Asking people to enter competitions using a specific hashtag is a great way to get them interacting with their brand and showcasing content you can use on their behalf. For example, you could run a competition asking them to showcase their favourite room in the house, posting under a hashtag created by you. This would give you rights to the images, which you could repost on social media or use for other marketing material.
Reaching out directly
There's also the option of directly reaching out to your audience, asking them to create a bespoke piece of content for your agency. This route might be slightly trickier but is a great way to build relationships with renters and landlords and make them feel valued.
Authentic content that pops
User-generated content can add authenticity to your agency, striking a stronger relationship between you and your clients, whether they're renters or landlords – or both. It's an inexpensive way to try a different marketing approach and can help build your agency's profile and increase the people interacting with and using your brand.