In most marketing campaigns, you create the content. However, giving your audience the opportunity to come up with content for you can help you create something truly interesting. Learn how to effectively leverage user generated content and attract more engagements to your brand’s social marketing.
Encouraging user generated content (UGC) has some very important benefits you should be aware of:
All of these benefits highlight the significant impact that user generated content can have on your marketing campaign.
Just like other marketing campaigns, you need to have a clear set of goals for the user generated content that you want to have created. This not only sets the kind of content to ask your audience for, but also how you will use it. Examples of goals that you might want to set are:
Flesh out these goals further to give yourself a better picture of what you need to accomplish for your UGC.
Once your goals are set, you can start deciding on the kind of user generated content you want, and what platform to ask for them on. These issues are closely related to each other as different types of UGC work best with specific platforms.
With its 140-character limit, short text content works best on the platform. The idea here is encouraging your audience to use the limited character space in a creative manner such as sending jokes.
Send us your best dad jokes using #TODAYsTake
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 26, 2017
You can also call for visual content like images and short videos to add flexibility to your user-generated campaign.
Videos are some of the most popular user generated content shared online. YouTube will be your main hosting site for all video content.
Since it is compatible with other social media platforms, your audience will be able to quickly share their content with you. Creating a dedicated hashtag campaign will help you manage cross-promotions between it and other platforms.
If you are looking for purely visual content, Instagram and Pinterest are the best platforms to use. Just like YouTube, it can be easily integrated with other social media sites. This allows users to quickly share their submissions.
It might surprise you but LinkedIn can also be used to call for user generated content. Unlike other platforms, UGC on the site follows stricter rules. Particularly, the content that they create and send to you must closely align with your brand’s presence on the platform.
The type of user generated content you call out for should also closely associate with the product or services you offer. Tangible products are best showcased using visual content like images and short videos. On the other hand, your followers’ written anecdotes work great for customer services.
The most common way of getting your audience to share user generated content is by creating an initial buzz around your brand. The idea here is to intrigue them enough that they check your product and eventually create content in support of it. The strategy hinges on your product and can easily make your content plan go viral.
The trick here is to come out with shareable content that will serve as an example for your audience to follow. Make the content easy to replicate and interesting for your followers. Having a dedicated hashtag for the content also helps make it more visible, and to better coordinate the flow of your UGC campaign’s story.
— barbi broda (@notyourbrbidoll) September 1, 2017
Choose one that will pique the interest of your audience and incorporate it creatively into the content. You can increase the prominence of the hashtag and the content by using services like Devumi’s Twitter Retweets on Twitter, or our Pinterest Repins Service if your hashtag campaign is on Pinterest. Highlighting this important content from your fans is vital. It makes them feel valued. This will lead to them sharing even more content.
Another way to convince your audience to send in their user generated content is by offering a reward. This is where contests come into play, adding a fun factor to the campaign. In this one, the content your participants produce become their entries.
— Doritos Canada (@DoritosCanada) June 18, 2014
Ensure that the entries are easy to create. As is with the above, you can provide a template to further facilitate this.
You also need to make entry submission easy. Create a dedicated landing page which:
Be sure to send people to this landing page from social media as a way to generate website traffic. You will also need a plan for a landing page to display the content that wins. Your end goal with all social marketing should be a landing page on your website.
A clever way to get your audience sending the content they create is by asking for feedback. People are always enthusiastic when given the opportunity to share their opinions. Ask them about their experience with your brand or what their opinions of it are. Make the activity more interesting for them by finding creative ways for them to send the feedback.
One thing to watch out for with these are the possible negative responses that you might get. If you get swamped by these, be ready to respond to them and their concerns. Don’t try to backtrack and abandon the campaign, as it could end up being hijacked by irate customers.
Trying to convince people to send the content they created on your own can be tough. Make things easier by getting the help of influencers. Look for the ones that your audience look up to a lot and ask for their assistance.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) January 6, 2015
You also need to consider how these influencers align with your brand. Ask yourself whether or not the particular influencer is someone who would use your brand. This helps make the call for UGC you made through them more convincing to the audience, increasing the likelihood they will follow suit.
To make it easier to sift through the dozens, or even hundreds, of pieces of content sent to you, there needs to be clear criteria:
Make sure the criterion is known for your audience so that your selection process is more transparent. Include it in the list of instructions that you post at the beginning of the campaign.
Copyright concerns are also something that you need to sort out early with your audience. A common misconception here is that anyone can freely use content shared on social media. Note that, under copyright laws, the original creator of the content still retains legal rights. The various social media platforms also have their own terms of services that protect their users’ copyright ownership.
To know when to ask permission from your participants when using their content, ask yourself the following questions:
If your answer to either question is yes, you are required to seek permission from the creator before using it. Also, properly credit them whenever you use their content for anything outside the original campaign.
While followers would wholeheartedly share their content with you, it is still a good gesture to show appreciation for their efforts. Come up with a creative way to reward your participants. This could be some discount coupons, customized freebies, publicly acknowledging them, or any trinkets that they would find rewarding.
Highlighting their work for others to see is also a great way to do this. Create a dedicated page on your site to display the works, with a separate section for the best ones. Share this on your social media pages for increased mileage.
You have until tomorrow night to submit your piece for our summer fan art contest! Check out the entries here -> https://t.co/Au8nTdntyF
— Hyper Universe (@playhyper) July 13, 2017
User generated content can also be leveraged to band your followers together into a community. Use some of the best content you get as conversation starters, encouraging the creators to join in the discussions. Get involved and share your own ideas. This helps give your brand a more human touch.
User-created content is great for getting people to interact with your brand. Effectively leverage this user generated content by:
— Marc Jacobs (@marcjacobs) March 30, 2017
Follow these reminders and you can significantly boost engagements by just calling your audience to submit their user generated content, And it could quickly become part of your overall brand advocacy campaign.