The Benefits of User Generated Content and How to Implement It

This week, we’ve decided to try something a bit different and bring to you our very first ever video blog! In this week’s episode, we explain just why user generated content is so important for a website, especially in ecommerce, and how and where you can implement it on your own website for maximum benefit. Sit back, watch and enjoy!

Video Transcript:

Hi guys, I’m MacKenzie Liptak from Mountain Media and today I’ll be talking about user generated content in the world of internet marketing.

Often abbreviated as UGC, user generated content covers a fairly broad range of words, images and videos that you see and hear on the internet. A great example of UGC is Wikipedia, the human-created encyclopedia.

Why is UGC important? Well, it has the capacity to influence purchase decisions, brand affinity and brand loyalty.

Here at MM, we work with a lot of ecommerce clients, so I’m going to talk about the benefits of UGC in regards to your website. The first benefit of UGC is increased user engagement. When people have a place to speak their mind on your website, they tend to stick around longer. Also, people want to read about what others are saying about your products and services, therefore UGC has the potential of creating a great community for your online audience.

Another benefit of UGC is a more effective marketing strategy. As people, we tend to trust reviews more than we trust traditional marketing tactics. Therefore, if you can get a customer to write a review about your products or services, be that good or bad, it’s going to be a lot more effective than you telling customers how great your products or services are.

The third and final benefit of UGC is improved SEO. Of course, fresh content is good for your website, and your search engine optimization. With UGC, you get new content uploaded daily to your website, and you don’t have to do a thing – search engines like that!

Where do people find user generated content? Well, the number one place people find UGC is on social media. This includes Facebook, Twitter, blogs and review sites. The second most prevalent place people find UGC is search engines – that would be your Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about UGC, here’s what you can do to include it on your website. For starters, you can make it easier for customers to write reviews on your products or services. You can do this by enabling comment functions on your blog or under your products, you can provide a star ratings system, which will allow people to vote on the quality of your products and you can also create customer forums, where people can post questions daily regarding your products or services.

Another thing you can do in regards to UGC is ask for customer testimonials or case studies. This is a form of supplement user generated content because it highlights a customer’s opinion. It’s still beneficial.

The next thing you can do in regards to UGC is to encourage social discussion. This means using social media to encourage discussion among your fans and followers. Ask people to share their experiences with your products and/or services. Talk about what they like and what they don’t like. Seeing your social network engaging with you will paint you in a very positive light.

Lastly, when it comes to UGC, it’s important to be transparent. Let’s face it, it’s inevitable that people will say something negative regarding your brand. Rather than deleting the comment, take this opportunity to connect with that customer. Respond quickly and in public, stay positive and deal with the details privately.

Thanks for stopping by the Mountain Media blog – I hope you found this video helpful and learned a little bit about user generated content. Stop by daily for some more helpful web tips.

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3 Places for Video Love on Your Website

Most businesses know that their website should have video content, somewhere, somehow. But where many people get stuck is exactly there – “I know I need it, but how do I get it, where do I put it on my website and what exactly do I do with it?”

While some of the common video questions business owners have get into highly detailed and technical responses, there are always the basics to go over, and that includes where to play your video content on your website. There are tons of options for placement that will help increase your site’s engagement and interactivity, but 3 places on your site in particular will help you right off the bat in terms of optimizing your site with video content.

So get the content made, and start posting in these places as soon as possible!

Your Homepage

First and foremost, you know the importance of good, quality text and images on your homepage, along with a good, functional design and easy navigation menus (check out this post by our friends at HubSpot that outlines the key elements of a good page). These are all the basic elements of a good website in general – so I’m simply adding to the list by mentioning video content on your homepage.

If you’re working to increase brand awareness, which every business should be focused on throughout their marketing strategies, especially online, a company overview video is a great way to introduce people to who you are and what you do. The benefit of sharing this information in video form is that people don’t get bored reading paragraphs of text on your company, and instead they get a great visual representation of your company.

Think of it this way – an IT company, for example, might have some issues explaining to potential clients exactly the services that they offer. Many people may not want to read a bunch of text trying to explain the purpose or mission statement of the company, but people will want to see a video of the people behind the company, and see a visual explanation of the services that they offer.

A video on your homepage can help introduce your company and encourage customers to take a look around the rest of your site, which can help decrease your bounce rate (which can also affect your overall SEO metrics – read about how here).

Category Pages

Your website’s category pages are the next logical step for video content. Once you have quality content to place on the homepage, move on to the top category levels that drive a good amount of traffic and/or business for your site.

Video content on category pages are great because, when optimized correctly, they can benefit the power of that particular page so much. For starters, once again, you’re giving potential customers valuable information in a more entertaining and engaging way than text alone, so you’ll encourage them to stay on the page and check out more of what you have to offer.

In addition to this, when properly optimized for SEO benefit, a video on a category page can produce some of the strongest rich snippets results we’ve tested and seen here at Mountain Media. Here’s an example – we’ve posted a video on our category page for our guest blogging (check it out!), optimized it for SEO and watched as our search rankings have steadily climbed. Here’s why:

That little video thumbnail next to our search result increases our click through rate (CTR) and helps build trust to the page, which Google sees and in turn ranks us higher for. And since you’re optimizing a category page with this, you’re giving the visitor further opportunities to explore deeper into the site, or contact you for information.

Product Pages

On an Ecommerce site, this is the next progression where video content makes sense. Again, when optimized properly, a product page video can help increase your search engine rankings, click through rates and user engagement once the visitor reaches your product page.

The content of a product video, though, would be much different than the content of a homepage or even category page video. A product video should be seen as your last chance to sell a product to your online customer – think about when people call your business and ask for more information on a product. You have about 1:00 to catch the person’s attention before they hang up the phone on you. Or when a customer comes into your storefront location looking to buy a product, but they want to know more about it before they make a purchase, you give them your one last sales pitch before they either leave your store or buy your product.

Your product videos are going to give you this same chance to “sell” your online customer one last time before they leave your store, or in this case, your website. Product videos are meant to be kind of boring – in other words, they’re not shareable, simply because the content of the video is directed specifically to a person who is already interested in something that you have on your website.

Check out Zappos‘ page for great examples of product videos. These guys do it right – over 50,000 product videos in under a year! And while you don’t necessarily have to implement product videos in this sort of volume, having any kind of this rich content on your site can help improve so many performance numbers that the costs associated with producing and implementing these videos will prove to be well worth it.

The first step in all of this, obviously, is to get your video content made. Know which area of your site you’re tailoring the content to, and create your videos around that. In general, good web videos are one or more of the following:

  • Entertaining
  • Shareable
  • Informative
  • Link-worthy
  • Sales-ey (yes, I think I just made that word up.)

When the content is made, find the appropriate place for it on your website, and do not hesitate to post it – especially now that you know where to do so!

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Mountain Media’s 26 Random Acts of Kindness

As many of you know, there is currently a nationwide trend to perform 26 random acts of kindness, 1 each day, in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.

In our own effort to show our support for our east coast neighbors, as well as back a huge local effort organized by our very own Mamatoga to make this happen across our beautiful city of Saratoga Springs, NY, Mountain Media has decided to partake in our own 26 random acts of kindness.

Now, the three of us here in the Mountain Media marketing department that are spearheading our company’s efforts aren’t exactly rolling in the Benjamins – so we can’t make large donations to our favorite charities or pick up someone else’s restaurant tab on a whim or anything like that (although we sure do wish we could!). What we can do, though, is small acts that simply bring a smile to someone’s face and that will encourage them to “pay it forward” – and isn’t that what it’s really all about?

So we’ve enlisted the help of our entire staff to complete our 26 days of 26 random acts of kindness, and here’s what we have to share with you so far!

Wednesday, December 19: Act 1

As our first random act of kindness, Ashley, MacKenzie and I all took our lunch break to make the short drive over to Dunkin’ Donuts to purchase a Box O’ Joe to deliver to the construction workers next to our office building. We pass them every day on our walks to and from the office, and we always feel for them, always out there in the cold working like crazy to complete Saratoga’s new BowTie Cinema.

When we brought them the coffee, they were so pleasantly surprised that they didn’t know what to say to us. It was the greatest feeling ever, walking away after having wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, knowing that we had performed our first random act of kindness.

Thursday, December 20: Act 2

We’ve started off our kindness campaign on a bit of a coffee kick, as our second random act of kindness also involved delivering coffee. For this one, Ashley and MacKenzie took a stroll over to the Stewart’s down the street from our office to buy some coffee. They stocked up on all the fixins for a cup of coffee, and delivered a hot, fresh cup to the man ringing the Salvation Army bell at the Price Chopper next to our office building.

The man began tearing up when the two of them delivered the coffee, and said to them, “You two must be angels.” He then pulled a silver coin out of his wallet that he had received from a soldier who had come back from Iraq. The coin had a prayer from John 3:36 on it that read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not parish, but have everlasting life.”

Ashley and MacKenzie returned to the office beaming, saying it was the best thing they had ever done for anyone.

For today, we are currently accepting ideas, but Mountain Media’s CEO, James Curley, has an idea to pick up a few cheeseburgers at McDonald’s to deliver to a few of the homeless men that are always outside around town. And Scott Fultz is playing Christmas carols on his guitar to a local elementary school – pictures of which will come on Mountain Media’s Facebook page shortly!

Also, I am considering bringing a few Christmas cookies to the Post Office today. I go on a cookie extravaganza every year, and yesterday, the Post Office helped me locate a misplaced package, and the man who I was talking to over the phone all day sent their delivery driver to my apartment building at 6:30pm last night to hand deliver my package to me after they found it. The delivery man pulled up in his personal vehicle and everything. I was blown away by the kindness, so I feel a need to thank them!

Do you have any ideas for us for our 26 Random Acts of Kindness campaign? Let us know here or over on our Facebook page! Or, just participate yourself – it could be something as simple as leaving a friendly note in your mailbox for your postman to pick up, or picking up the coffee order for the person behind you in line at the drive thru window.

And, of course, all of this is in honor of the 26 fallen victims in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, who are in our thoughts and prayers for this upcoming holiday season.

What will you do to “Pay it Forward”?

Smiles and cheer,

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Mountain Media Set To Take on PubCon in Vegas

Las Vegas Blvd.What happens in Vegas will only end up on Facebook, right? That is 100% correct, except Mountain Media is taking on a different spin. We’ve gone through several positive transitions this past year. One of our most exciting is a trip to Las Vegas to attend PubCon. We have announced this via Twitter and Facebook earlier in August. So what is going to happen in Vegas exactly?

What is PubCon?

PubCon is a massive conference that takes place in a few major cities. Mountain Media will be attending the conference taking place in Las Vegas [insert excitement here]. It’s a conference that focuses on everything happening in new media including eCommerce, graphic design, and internet marketing. Attendees get to meet other professionals in the field, and they get to discuss or listen in on seminars to better themselves in their given fields of new media. It’s an investment that we believe will better ourselves as professionals at Mountain Media.

When Is It?

PubCon is taking place from the 15th to the 18th of October. For anyone that’s ever been to Vegas, this is the perfect time of the year. Not too cold, and not too hot for us mountaineers coming from the Northeast.

Don’t worry, Mountain Media will not be closed during these days. There will still be employees at the office if you have questions at any given point. Amanda, Dani, Jim and Mike will be at this conference getting live coverage of the events taking place, so make sure you watch it all unfold on our Facebook account.

Who’s Hosting PubCon?

PubCon is being hosted and organized by WebMasterWorld.Com. They are pioneers in the internet industry and host one of the first technology forums focusing on what the web can offer us. WebmastersWorld.com is benefiting all new media professionals with this conference, and we can’t wait to be a part of history.

What You Can Expect

With all of these informative sessions, we want to share the information with you that we will be learning. Mountain Media is going to be doing live coverage through blogging and social media throughout the week. So if you are not following our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account, now is the time to start. In the end, we plan to bring new ideas to present to our clients and utilize for our business.

I hope to see you there,

Amanda M.

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