If you pay attention to the most popular brands on social media, you will have noticed a new trend emerging as a way to drive engagement: user generated content. Social media marketing has been around for a long time at this point, and clever marketers are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage their brand’s fan base.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content refers to any content such as blogs, pictures, reviews, etc. that are generated fans and users of a particular brand. This content is often posted on a third party site, usually in social media like Facebook or Instagram. This content is then re-purposed by either a marketing firm or the brand to be posted on their own social media or website.
Why use User Generated Content?
More and more people are sharing huge portions of their everyday life on social media. We see people Instagram their dinner, check in to businesses on Facebook, or post their Outfit of the Day on Twitter. This has signaled a change in the way people view brands and make purchasing decisions. Standard reviews by news outlets carry less and less weight as people are able to see what their friends and family are buying and using through social media. People are far more likely to purchase something via word of mouth recommendation than a review they read somewhere.
Any and every brand will say that their product or service is the best. However, consumers are becoming more and more savvy and they have more options when it comes to getting opinions about brands. This is why it is so vital to leverage user generated content. Show people what makes your brand different and great rather than just telling them. Social media allows for an unfiltered (to an extent) view of your product and service. A genuine, unbiased opinion of your brand broadcast on social media is extremely valuable.
- The best way to get all of your user curated content in one place is to encourage your users to use branded hashtags (see our blog about hashtag strategy here). Encourage your fans to use this hashtag often! This not only makes all of your content easy to search for, but acts as an “opt-in” for your fan base.
- Incentivize! Offer discounts for social check-ins or run a contest with a specific hashtag. Get creative and get your fan base active on your behalf.
- Start a conversation. If you’re only pulling content and not interacting with the community then you are missing a huge opportunity to engage fans. Ask questions (“How was your visit?”, “How are you liking the product?”) and get more people talking about you.
- Shout outs. Make sure to tag or give credit to the user who’s content you are using. This makes the user feel included and puts a little bit of the spotlight on them. This endears your brand to new and existing fans alike.
There you go, you’re ready to enter the world of user generated content! Check back every Monday for more great marketing tips to help your business thrive online!