When was the last time you made a purchase without looking at reviews? Today, it isn’t enough to tell people how great your product or service is. You need other people to tell them too. And who better than your satisfied customers?
As you plan your content marketing initiatives, consider how you can incorporate those satisfied customers into your content to generate interest and increase social proof. Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Case studies. An oldie, but a goodie, case studies are an effective way to incorporate your customers into your marketing content. Consider it a longform review of sorts where a customer details their experiences with your product or service. While case studies can take many different forms, be sure that you explore a customer’s story from start to finish. There should be a discussion of challenges, solutions and benefits. This helps with relatability, particularly when you present the challenges. Your audience is very likely to think. “Hey, I’ve had that problem too!”
2. Profile pieces. People love reading about people. Whether they’re on your blog, in your newsletter or part of a larger content piece, profile pieces help fulfill our natural curiosity to learn about others. We especially want to know about people in similar situations or roles as us – whether that’s a marketing professional, a mom, a traveler, a runner, a New Yorker, a customer of a particular business, etc. When I fly Delta, one of my favorite parts about reading their inflight magazine, Sky, is their My Bag feature. In it, various celebrities tell a little about themselves and what they like to take on their travels. To me, it’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at these personalities. For another example, check out our very own 5 Questions profile series.
3. Guest blogs. Guest blogs are a win for marketers and your guest blogger customers alike. You get content for your blog and an opportunity to highlight a customer relationship, and they get to showcase their expertise on a given subject. Before approaching customers about guest blogging, be sure you have editorial guidelines to share with them. This will help answer any questions about the length of the post, writing style, images and other pertinent details that will ensure everyone is on the same page from the very beginning of the process. If you have several different personas within your customer base, try reaching out to customers that represent your full array of personas in order to diversify the content your guest bloggers produce.
4. Testimonial videos. Did you know that when text and video are presented on the same page, 72 percent of people prefer to learn about a service or product via video? This stat from Wyzowl and others like it illustrate the importance of video content today. Tap into that demand in your own content marketing with testimonial videos. Think of these as a more dynamic and visual version of case studies. Your audience is able to see and hear your customers as they tell their stories, instantly making it more impactful than a text-based case study. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone feels comfortable on camera, so it may be harder to secure testimonial videos from your customers than case studies.
5. Social campaigns and contests. In addition to sharing all the types of content referenced above on your organization’s social media pages, be sure to create social campaigns that feature customers or encourage their participation too. This works particularly well on Instagram and Twitter, thanks to their affinity for and functionality surrounding hashtags. One of my favorite examples of this on Instagram comes from the New York Public Library. Using #BookfaceFriday, they challenge followers to line up faces on books with real-life bodies. Each Friday, they share a new user post on their account. The posts always evoke a smile from me and lots of engagement for the brand.