Standing out and staying relevant on social media can be pretty taxing. You have to strategize and create content almost every day. Content creation takes time and effort, and requires you to master the latest management systems to stay on par with other brands. But did you know that you can tap your audience to help you?
User-Generated Content, or UGC, is content about your brand or product created by your customers. Tagged posts and mentions automatically qualify as UGC. It's simple, easy, and something you can share on your feed.
Social Media has become so curated that some people find it hard to connect with brands. People are looking for something more authentic and validating. UGC is very valuable because not only do you show your brand or product from your customer's perspective, but you also get to connect with your audience on a more meaningful level.
Finding UGC for your brand is very easy. Here are some ideas that can help you out:
Create a Branded Hashtag
Branded Hashtags make it easier for you to find content about your brand. Even social listening tools can help you find these posts that use them.
Think of a creative branded hashtag your customers can add to their posts about your brand or product. Aside from using the hashtag in your posts, create a call-to-action about your brand hashtag on your profile bio. This way, people who visit your profile get to see it immediately.
BluBoho, a jewelry shop on Instagram, included three different hashtags for each of their target audience demographics.
On-Ground Hashtag Promotions
Another way you can collect UGC is by adding your Instagram handle and hashtag to your item’s custom cardboard boxes.
Many brands do this already, and it has been proven effective. Customers like taking and posting photos of their purchases, so letting them know that they can tag you from the moment of purchasing already gives them an awareness of how to get you to feature them as they continue to experience your product.
Create impactful digital signage that promotes your Instagram handle and hashtag if you have a physical store. Maybe even have an area where customers can take photos "for the gram."
Hold a UGC Campaign or Contest
Holding campaigns and contests on social media is fun because your customers can look forward to something exciting. Customers love engaging with brands this way because they feel they're part of an online community. It also pushes them to elevate the quality of the content in their feeds.
Of course, you want to ensure that you also get UGC that aligns with your current content so your feed won't look disorganized. Before creating a campaign or contest, ask yourself, "What kind of content do I want to generate from your audience?" You can have a sample post that they can use as a reference. Also, include a unique hashtag for this campaign or contest!
Take Apple's "Shot on iPhone" campaign, for example. They encouraged iPhone users to take scenic shots with their cameras and then featured the photos on their feed. It's a straightforward campaign. Simple in terms of execution, but remains relevant to this day.
Have Giveaway Incentives
Incentivizing customers encourages them to create content with your brand or product. Aside from being featured on your feed, offering a special promo, offer, or cash prize guarantees more participants. The more participants you have, the more UGCs you can choose from.
GoPro is one of the leading UGC marketers in the social media landscape. A big chunk of their content is from GoPro owners. Every season, they have a specific hashtag that users can include in their posts. The best entries get either a cash prize or a new GoPro camera.
Once the entries start coming in, you can repost them in your feed using repost applications you can find online.
Feature Customer Reviews to Encourage More of Them
Turn your customer reviews into actual posts on your feed. When your customers see that they can get featured if they leave a review, other customers will be encouraged to do the same. After asking them for permission to be featured, all you need to do is plug their review into your design template and post it on your social media platforms.
You can even repost their videos on your feed or reshare from your stories. If you're active on Instagram, don't forget to create a Highlight section for reshared content.
Putting Your Audience First
Gathering UGC creates loyalty and a sense of community around your brand. It promotes inclusivity, organic engagement and increases customers' lifetime value. One last thing to remember about UGC is to let them know that you will be featuring them on your page/s. Credit them accordingly by tagging, too. Doing this makes your customers feel they're genuinely seen and appreciated for their support of your brand or product.