Harnessing the Power of User-Generated Content on Social
More consumers are turning to brand authenticity as the guide to their purchase preference while also valuing connection with the brands they use. The best way to ensure your brand is keeping up with consumer desires is tapping into user-generated content.
So what is UGC?
User Generated Content (UGC) is anything created by users – from blog posts and testimonials to videos and fan art. UGC is the way consumers publicly show their love for an product, concept, or business. When a customer posts a picture on Instagram with their perfectly swirled ice cream cone from your shop, commenting how excited they are to eat it – that’s user-generated content.
It’s every marketer’s dream: to be able to have consumers engage and give feedback on the brand. So with all that power, user-generated content has the potential to help your brand connect and engage with customers without generating extra content on your end.
Why User-Generated Content Works
But why do customers care? Capitalizing on user-generated content doesn’t just make your company look good, but it makes customers feel good. When customers get that feedback from the business or organization, they perceive it as authentic and genuine content – which it is!
Think back to the days of the ALS Ice-bucket Challenge or even the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. Everyday, for both of these, people around the world were creating loads of user-generated content without either organization having to lift a finger.
According to Tint Marketing, 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand – and they buy accordingly. The list of benefits doesn’t end there – in fact, UGC:
- Encourages a shared emotional connection
- Adds credibility to the reputation of the brand
- Fosters a personal connection with the brand
- Attracts more customers to the brand’s products
- Gives companies the opportunity to respond to customer feedback and complaints
- Extends your brand’s reach past the following on its own social media channel
The power of user-generated content lies in the authenticity and empowerment it gives consumers. It’s not a model being paid to shoot in the studio or a paid sponsor. It’s real people discussing their real views of the product or service they received.
How to Harness UGC’s Power
The easiest way to get user-generated content from your customers is to encourage them to share their thoughts online. It doesn’t take a flashy campaign or massive investment. It’s about boosting the responses and posts that do come your way which will open the gates for others.
Posting with a catchy hashtag or asking for a specific type of photo can go a long way, but so can looking through tagged photos. Meeting your customers where they are and seeing how they use your product or service is a simple way to understanding what they see as authentic. Tapping into the power of influencers and their following is a great way to get user-generated content that will find its way in front of far more consumers.
How to ask your followers for UGC
- Tag the user! People like to feel recognized, especially by a brand for which they created content. Let them know you liked it by tagging them when you repost, comment, or reblog.
- Don’t rely completely on UGC. Mix it in with regularly generated content and that will give a good background for the UGC to stand out.
- Tell your audience what you want! Follow and Share? A picture with their new shoes? A handstand challenge? Let your followers know and your work will be cut out for you.
- Run a contest. Users can’t resist wanting to win something or be recognized. Simply asking for UGC along with a contest or campaign lets them know you welcome their content.
Tips From Our Social Media Manager on Posting User-Generated Content Across Channels
- Share the user’s post from your brand’s page! This will help boost the original post that was shared, which in turn means more users will see it.
- Save photos or videos for content down the line. When you’re running low on user-generated content, share an old favorite to light the fire and start a chain reaction.
- Retweeting is a great way to share UGC to your brand’s followers and encouraging more users to share their content. People get excited when their favorite brands interact with them on social media!
- Twitter is a great channel to focus on customer service and quick response time. Users on this platform often use it to express dissatisfaction about a service or product, and this is an opportunity for your social media management team to solve their issue and make it right again.
- For sharing UGC on IG, we use a handy little app called “Repost for Instagram,” which makes it quick and easy to share fans’ content. Simply copy the link to the post you’d like to share, and when you open the app, the link will be ready to open and repost in Instagram. It even adds a box which tags the user in the photo to credit their work!
- Make sure to comment on the user’s original post, and maybe even let them know you’ll be sharing this. Users love to see interaction from brands and a little acknowledgment of the effort it took to post their own product or service review.
- If your brand is active on Pinterest, it might be a good idea to start a board for user-generated content specifically. Although users (most likely) won’t post the content first on Pinterest, saving and sharing this content to a board on your Pinterest may be beneficial down the line. Try creating a new board titled “Happy Customers” and upload pins over time to help showcase this content.
In this digital age, consumers crave connection and authenticity. If brands want to boost their engagement and interact with consumers, asking users to share user-generated content is a simple way to get feedback on your product or service, as well as start a chain reaction of engagement with your brand.
This is just one strategy to boost your brand’s overall social media presence. If you’re looking for guidance on your company’s social media strategy, contact us here.
Interested in more social media tips? Check out this blog!