User-generated content should be part of your overall digital marketing strategy.
Why? About 85 percent of consumers think that visual user-generated content (UGC) is more persuasive than branded photos or videos.
UGC is unpaid or unsponsored social media posts that consumers share about a product or service.
Of course, the amount of user-generated content out there is almost limitless. Smartphone owners take an average of 150 new photos per month (or about five photos per day).
Because social media thrives on authenticity, UGC is a great way to connect with your audience and build brand loyalty.
The following are 10 tips to help you encourage more user-generated content related to your own brand.
See what’s already out there
Whether you have an official UGC strategy or not, it’s entirely possible that user content about your brand (or showing your product) is already being posted on various social networks.
You can search by location, hashtag and/or keyword depending on the social media platform.
Doing so can help shed light on what’s already out there and what you can start with as you shape your UGC strategy and related campaigns.
Understand current consumer trends
This is somewhat related to seeing what UGC already exists for your brand but on a larger scale. The key is to focus on the habits and behaviors of your target audience.
See our seven tips for determining your target audience.
- What types of photos and videos are my target audience posting?
- Is there a particular style or product dominating the conversation?
- When is your target audience typically posting?
- Are they geotagging their photos and videos?
Once you have a better understanding of how your target audience shares content on social media, you can use that to help develop your own UGC-related campaigns.
Adopt a selfless, community-driven hashtag
Even if you already have a branded hashtag that you use on your branded content (and some customers might or might not also use), it’s a good idea to create and adopt a customer-focused hashtag that’s about them, not so much about you.
One example is Urban Outfitters promoting #UOonyou that’s related to apparel and beauty posts from their customers and #UOaroundyou that’s related to their music and apartment departments. These are actionable hashtags that put the focus on your fans and customers.
Remember, user-generated content might be related to you, but it’s not about you. The more you can put the spotlight on your online community, the better.
Include call-to-actions across your online presence
Just because you create a community-driven hashtag doesn’t mean that it will go viral (or even be used) immediately.
Beyond regular promotional posts talking about your community hashtag and how to share content, be sure to include wherever you can across platforms, whether that’s in your bio, cover image, website or elsewhere.
The more it appears across channels in different ways, the more fans you’ll reach. Just be specific about what the hashtag means and what type of content you’re looking for.
Display signage in your physical locations
While an analog method, displaying signage in your physical location(s) can be very effective.
Think about where you interact with your customers. Displaying signage about how they can share on social media and be part of your online community of fans can be very effective at checkout, for example.
Be clear about the type of content that’s relevant to your community hashtag and even which social media platform you prefer (if applicable).
Host an event
By hosting an event, you can create your own buzz for your fans and customers to post about.
Of course, the type of event you host depends on your brand. But in general, your event enables you to control the environment, the lighting, the availability of your products (perhaps in a goodie bag, for example) and more that can make a splash online.
No matter the event, promote your hashtag to attendees so that they can all see each other’s posts.
Working with influencers can help spread awareness about your brand across social media and the internet at large (depending on the influencer, course).
In a nutshell, an influencer is viewed as a leader among his or her networks, with large and engaged followings.
Obviously, working with an influencer can lead to a great kickstart to any user-generated content campaign.
But influencer marketing can take many different forms, depending on your goal and who you choose to work with.
See our seven tips before diving into influencer marketing. We also break down how to determine which social media platform is best for your brand’s influencer marketing.
Plan a giveaway tied to user-generated content
UGC is organic and authentic, but one way to spur more of it is through a giveaway where entries are tied to posting user-generated content.
Granted, no brand should just launch a giveaway without a confirmed plan of execution and legal considerations. But in general, by asking your following to submit images to be entered into your giveaway, you’re offering an incentive to share more great content.
Just be sure the theme of your giveaway aligns with what your fans already enjoy doing and that your prize encourages enough engagement to be worthwhile.
Consider alternative incentives for user-generated content
Beyond hosting an official giveaway, some brands have experimented with giving other types of incentives for UGC, such as discounts, free samples and so on.
Of course, you’ll want to plan accordingly, but anything you can incentivize for your following to share will naturally help them do so.
Feature user content elsewhere online
A popular choice here is your website. The idea that a fan’s photo could appear on your brand’s website or re-shared on other branded social accounts could be enough to keep sharing.
While this acts as a free type of incentive, it’s also just a great way to celebrate your fans and share your growing online community with others.
Many brands have a hashtag feed that populates on their website to show the latest related UGC being published.
Ultimately, your goals around user-generated content will naturally direct your path with this digital marketing tactic. Take the time to determine what it is that you want to accomplish, whether that’s increasing engagement, saving time on creating your own branded content or something else entirely.
Also, keep in mind that it’s always important to not only engage with the users sharing content about your brand but to ask permission if you plan on using his or her content in any way beyond an in-platform share.
Check out our seven tips to help improve your overall content marketing.
While you’re evaluating how to increase UGC around your brand, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.