User-generated social media is fantastic! So why do so few companies engage with it? Honestly, a lot of people don’t know what user-generated content is – or how to use it. So here’s the 411.
The basics of user-generated social media content
User-generated content refers to social media posts that users make. When talking about companies, user-generated content are posts where users discuss your business, products, or services. The advantage of user-generated content is that it feels authentic and viewers trust it more. Think about it this way… If someone tells you they’re kind, you may or may not believe them. But if five of the person’s acquaintances tell you they’re kind, you’re much more likely to believe that. After all, why would these people say this if it wasn’t true? In the same way, posts you create about your products and services can always be dismissed as being biased.
User-generated content, however, can’t.
Remember that genuine user-generated content isn’t ads you arrange with influencers. While there may be a place for these ads in your marketing plan, real user-generated content will be seen as more authentic and trustworthy as those folks aren’t being paid to say good things about your company!
Most companies share user-generated content through reposts. This not only encourages followers to talk about you to be featured, but it also increases trust in your business, products, and services and drives purchasing. It also means you don’t have to create all your content yourself, saving you time!
How to get user-generated social media content
One: Be clear about what you are looking for
Many followers want to be featured, especially by businesses they love. So put a call out for the kind of content you’re looking for! For example, you can suggest that your followers take a picture with their favourite of your products. Always make sure to say how to share that with you – through a specific hashtag or tagging you in the post, for instance.
Two: Search for content
Stay on top of hashtags related to your business, its products or services, and any promotions you are running. If you see content that’s related to you, save it and share it!
Three: Credit the poster
Never infringe on another’s copyright – meaning, don’t steal their work! You don’t want to take someone’s material, you want to share it. In order to achieve that, make sure that you always give credit to the poster. Consider thanking the poster too, especially if they have put a lot of time and energy into their post!
Four: Offer a promotion
One of the best ways to get user-generated content is to offer a promotion. A common promotion is a discount. For example, you may want to give a discount code to anyone who shares a photo of them with your product. If you are doing this, follow up with the code quickly and make sure it is working before you make the offer!
Five: Run a competition
Another great way to promote user-generated social media content is with a competition. This has the same advantages as a promotion but often costs less. Not sure what contest idea is right for you? Here are a few ideas to get you started!