2020 came around pretty quickly, and we suspect that with the new year, new plans and goals were added to your business’ list of ‘to-dos’. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to add your social media to that list. Quality over quantity should be your mission this year, and consistency is most definitely key. But how exactly do you do that? On our agenda this year is using more user-generated content, and we’d recommend you do the same!
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content for social media, less formally known as UGC, is absolutely any content created around your brand by your customers instead of your team. This can range from images, video and audio of your products to reviews on sites like Google My Business and Facebook. Remember that excellent 5* review you got on TripAdvisor last month? It’s time to put that to use!
When a person posts content about your business, you can utilise it on your own social media feed(s). In this day and age, Instagram is the most popular with both businesses and customers due to the wide range of visual content available and the ability for people to tag their content at your business location - whether that be a salon, a glamping pod or an accountancy firm.
So why does my business need user-generated content?
Business’ that are customer-orientated are expanding at a rapid pace, this is because companies are focused on keeping up with the changing trends on social media and their audiences needs and wants.
So, should user-generated content be a priority for your business? Absolutely. Below are just a few reasons to add more user-generated content to your social media schedule in 2020.
“The abundance of freely available consumer visuals has the immense potential to lower the high costs most brands currently pay for content while also solving one of their greatest challenges: producing enough engaging visuals at a fast enough frequency.”
- Damien Mahoney, CEO & Co-Founder of Stackla
51% of consumers surveyed by Stackla in 2019 believed that less than half of brands on social media create what could be described as ‘authentic content.’ The survey also found that consumers are 2.4x more likely to engage with UGC over brand-created content.
This is largely because consumers tend to believe the word of their peers over that of marketing departments. In this day and age, it’s no longer feasible to rely on free stock images and staged content - you need to give the people what they want! And what they want is honest experiences your customers have with your brand.
Push traffic, drive decisions & build a community
One of the most important benefits of user-generated content is the impact it can have on buyers’ purchasing decisions.
A great example of this is Topshop’s UGC strategy. Their branded hashtag #TopshopStyle allows consumers all over the world to share their Topshop style via Instagram. Not only does this allow people to see real customers in the clothing brand, it allows Topshop to establish a well-known, searchable hashtag, creating a platform that encourages sales and offers them free exposure.
Topshop has ramped up its content marketing over the last few years, connecting consumers, growing its brand and expanding to new territories all over the globe. This strategy has pushed customers to make decisions based on other people's purchases, resulting in even more purchases and new customers, all while building an excellent community around their brand. That leads us to brand desire…
Ignite brand desire
It’s in our nature to be a little bit envious of experiences and things that other people have. This is especially true for the tourism industry, where brands can harness the power of “fomo” to their advantage. Social media content of a 5* all-inclusive Maldives trip is sure to make you want to go on one, too (unless you hate sunshine, sand, sea, cocktails and palm trees).
It's highly important to showcase your brand, product or service through a customer's own experience. User-generated content shared on brands’ social media pages can rack up hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and is a way to showcase what your business has to offer like never before. People who have never heard of you, might soon be flocking to visit - if you get it right.
It’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity, and it can take time to find suitable user-generated content that will be engaging - but it will be worth it. Plus, you never know - you might just discover an influencer’s review, and that will be of huge benefit. Not only can user-generated content build you a new and brilliant following, it can open many doors leading to a much larger brand awareness and an increase of sales.
How to get more user-generated content
The people creating user-generated content are likely to be some of your biggest fans, so it's important to keep them on board.
Always ask permission when collecting user-generated content. Just because they’ve posted a picture and tagged your business doesn’t mean you can go ahead and re-use the content without their consent.
Reach out to the content creator, tell them how much you love their post and politely ask if you can share it with your audience. The chances are they’ll agree. After all, their work will be showcased on an account that likely has a much bigger following - so you’re both winners!
Give credit where credit is due, so make sure that before you share user-generated content across your social media channels, you ask the original poster about how they would like to be recognised for their content. As an example, if social channels cross and you want to post a picture and a review from Facebook on your business’ Instagram feed, check to see if they have an Instagram handle to give them some recognition on that specific channel.
Are you able to offer them a reward?
In many cases, people are likelier to post about your brand if they can get something in return for their artistic content, which is pretty understandable. So have a think about what your business could offer to the people posting about you to get more user-generated content
This doesn’t always need to be a financial reward. Many social media users will be happy with the recognition and the possibility of an increase in followers and likes they will receive from having their content featured on the business’ social channels. A discount code for those whose posts are featured by you could also go down a treat.
In other cases, consider running a social media competition. Get customers to share their best content and pick a winner - the reward can be chosen by you, ranging from a gift card to some complimentary goodies.
Challenges you need to be aware of
Building a rapport with people engaging with your brand can take time, so don’t panic if user-generated content doesn’t start pouring in overnight.
And as always, with the good comes the bad. No brand has 100% satisfaction - at least none that we are aware of. There’s a high chance that even with all the positive user-generated content you could possibly find, there will be some negative feedback too.
In this case, it’s important to have someone within your business who can dedicate time to monitoring social platforms and engaging with comments and posts both positive and negative in a timely and responsible manner.
Keep engaging and keep growing. User-generated content is one of the most cost effective ways to build a community on social media. And with social media being one of the best ways to boost brand awareness and therefore generate more sales, investing in your social media presence can’t be recommended enough.
User-generated content is a fun and exciting way to get people to engage with your brand, and often the best social media content will come from it. Not only can it benefit your business, but seeing all the great feedback can be great for company and staff morale; after all, everyone likes to know they’re doing a good job.
Have you tried user-generated content within your business? If not, now is the time to start. If you’d like some help with creating a community of engaged and enthusiastic fans around your brand on social media, Bundle Digital can help you. We’re a digital marketing agency in Edinburgh with a knack for brand identity and creating posts your target audience will love. If you’d like to learn more about how we do things at Bundle, get in touch with us today.