Content marketing is the crux of a successful brand. It reinforces your branding, enhances your SEO, educates and informs your target market, and builds your customer community.

And this customer community is a valuable thing. In the quest for better content, we must look everywhere to find it, and your community is a particularly good resource. Read on to discover how to use your community to create better content for your brand.

Your community extends beyond your customers. The people you work with are also part of your community — your tribe. Click here to learn why your tribe is so important.

Embrace social media monitoring for authentic audience input

To really get the most from your community, you need to go where they are active most — social media. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and LinkedIn, there are dozens of social platforms that your customers use daily. For you, this is a content goldmine.

Every day, people tweet, post, and share about the things they are interested in or care about. By monitoring this activity from your community, you can build a picture of the things your customers are talking about online.

Armed with this, you can create better content that caters to your customers’ specific needs and desires. And with a plethora of social listening tools available to help you scour your customer conversations online, it’s easy to do too.

The social media monitoring tool Awario is a good option, especially for brands on a budget. It lets you listen for mentions of your brand name online, as well as that of your competitors or your industry too.

By spotting what your target market is saying about your competition, for example, you can create content that addresses those comments, positioning your product as an alternative.

For instance, let’s say you’re a social marketing automation company and you scour the web for mentions of your main competitor. You find a person’s tweet that they are unhappy that your competitor’s free plan only covers two social platforms and one user per account.

Armed with this knowledge, you could then create a comparison guide between yourself and your competitor that acknowledges these points. You know what features prospective customers care about and then create content that addresses those cares directly — you could even link the unhappy user to the guide directly.

Better content, community-driven, and guaranteed to resonate — perfect.

Create customer-powered user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most important ways that ecommerce (or service) brands can create better content from their community. It’s quick, easy, and virtually free to source, so it’s a must-have for ecommerce merchants or anybody selling online.

As the name suggests, UGC is content sourced from your customers themselves. It’s an effective form of content marketing that strengthens your customer community, reinforces your branding, and creates a genuine two-way conversation with your audience that makes them feel valued.

And sourcing UGC is remarkably easy to do too. Contests are a great way of collating snaps and videos from your customers. Invite your community to submit photos of themselves using your product or service. Collate the best submissions into a blog post that highlights the various features of your product — it’s authentic social proof that will resonate with prospective customers.

Finding UGC is even easier if you use a dedicated ecommerce webstore with access to a plugin marketplace. Visual content curation apps like Socialphotos, for instance, let you select and publish your customers’ photos to your storefront based on hashtags. This automates your UGC sourcing quickly, so you can easily create better content powered by your customers.

UGC is the king of community content, helping you improve your branding and building your community, all in one go.

Get creative with positive (and negative) reviews

Your customer community is always singing your brand’s praises online. Whether it’s on review websites like Trustpilot or social media, your customers are often only too happy to praise your business online.

While positive reviews help your brand by providing valuable social proof, they should not exist in a bubble. Drive further exposure to the nice things customers are saying about you by collating the best ones and transforming them into a piece of content.

For instance, let’s say you’ve released a new product. By picking a few lines of the best reviews and collating them in a blog or video, you can promote your product with a genuine community-led piece of content.

And even your negative reviews can be used to create better content for your brand. Take KFC, for example. The fast-food chain famously promoted negative tweets from customers criticizing their french fries as part of a marketing ploy to highlight their fries recipe relaunch — a stellar PR move that worked wonders for the brand.

Of course, not every brand can pull this off as KFC can. But by trawling negative reviews and engaging with the comments made with them, you can create content that identifies customer complaints with surgical precision. As a result, you show yourself to be forward-thinking and honest, no small win for a growing ecommerce brand.

While your content marketing should entertain, inform, and engage your customer community, the relationship is a two-way thing. Your community is a goldmine for your own content. Follow the tips above and create community-driven content for your brand that delivers time and again in 2019.

Rodney Laws Editor at Ecommerce Platforms