With the proliferation of digital platforms and social sharing apps, social media has become an inextricable part of people’s everyday lives. In fact, it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t own an account on any of these platforms.
Because of this online activity, social media has given brands countless opportunities for marketing their products and services. One effective marketing tool that arose from this digital boom is user-generated content, also known as UGC.
UGC consists of digital posts made by consumers to showcase their thoughts and feelings about a brand. By publicly sharing these posts on social media, customers inadvertently promote the brand without sponsorships. UGC can come in any form, be it images, videos, text, audio, and the like. One example of UGC is a user’s video of their canine happily playing with customizable plush dog toys from a pet supply shop. If a user posts photos of their cat wearing a branded collar from this shop, that’s also UGC. The best part? This content can easily catch the attention of hundreds and thousands of people (and if it contains cute animals, maybe even more).
Look how our brand partners are using user generated content to reach new customers.
As you may have noticed from the examples above, UGC not only promotes your brand for free, but also grows organically. However, if you really want to maximize its benefits, it helps to use strategic and purposeful approaches to boost its development.
Want to start harnessing the power of this amazing marketing tool? Below are three ways to encourage customers to create posts that promote your brand:
Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
Before you start doing marketing initiatives for UGC, you need to know exactly who your primary audience is and what social media platforms they use the most. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to avail themselves of a brand’s products and services if they follow them on social media. Choose one or two platforms to focus on instead of splitting your efforts across multiple apps.
If you want to market your brand’s pet apparel, then it makes sense to use a visual-heavy platform where your customers are already in the habit of sharing photos. Some may even have a dedicated account for photos of their furry friends in cute costumes.
You can also try other content formats like video, where you can share demos of how to use a new product or footage of pets enjoying their new toy from your brand. With the right platform, you can establish a wider and stronger network of consumers that will definitely give you an edge over your competitors.
Host Contests and Giveaways
Sometimes the best way to get your consumers to create UGC is to give them a straightforward request—with incentives, of course. Surveys have shown that 50% of brand followers would prefer to be instructed on the types of content they can share. One of the best ways to do this is to host online contests that offer giveaways or rewards. These rewards can include money, brand merchandise, tickets to company events, and special discounts. For instance, you could ask consumers to upload photos of themselves using your products on social media. Or you could ask them to create and post short jingles for your brand, then give prizes to those with the most captivating outputs. By hosting contests and giveaways, you can keep consumers engaged and invested in your brand while increasing UGC.
Hashtags are a small but mighty feature of many social media sites as they can easily connect people to content about specific interests. By having a custom hashtag for your brand, you promote brand name recall along with creating a database of content related to your brand. When a user includes your brand’s hashtag in their content, viewers can find other posts with the same hashtag by simply clicking on it. Some websites can even analyze the activity of your hashtags and instantly give engagement analytics.
Coming up with a catchy hashtag for brand campaigns can generate more excitement among consumers. For example, if your brand sells dog treats, you may want to host a campaign to strengthen the bonds of pups and their owners. During the campaign, you can ask owners to post a picture of themselves giving your brand’s treats to their canines using the hashtag #MyDogisPawesome. You’ll be surprised to find hundreds of people jumping on the #MyDogisPawesome bandwagon to show appreciation for their beloved fur babies.
UGC is an invaluable tool when it comes to budget-friendly marketing. By encouraging consumers to create more UGC, you can better engage with your target audience, boost brand awareness, and connect with new potential customers. However, be sure to gain a user’s consent before sharing their UGC in any way, especially if they weren’t prompted by your brand to make it. Remember, transparency shows customers that they can trust you and can improve your brand’s reputation. With the right attitude and approaches, you’ll be turning consumers into devoted advocates of your brand in no time.