User generated content

How to Increase Engagement with User Generated Content

User generated content

Want to get your customers more involved in your business? Turn your most loyal brand ambassadors into content producers.

User generated content is any media that a customer (the user of your product) creates for you.

GoPro is perhaps the leader for user generated content with over 6,000 videos made with the cameras getting uploaded to YouTube daily. Look at a few examples of the user-generated content GoPro receives each day, and you’ll see impressive footage of kayaking in drainage ditches, flips over canyons, and jumping off tall buildings.

Although your product might not inspire daredevil videos, there are ways to get your customers creating content for your brand. But why should you invest time encouraging this type of content?

User Generated Content is More Important Than You Might Think

User-generated content is fun for brands. You get to see your hard work pay off and watch your customers enjoying your products. But it’s not all fun and games.

  • It’s more trustworthy – especially among Millennials. Ditch those banner ads because only 19% of Millenials trust those. 49% trust peer reviews.
  • It’s cheaper to produce. Turn your customers into production teams while you sit back, relax, and share all the fun content streaming into your business.
  • It creates loyalty. It takes a lot for a customer to post content for your brand, but when they do, it builds loyalty and a stronger sense of community around your business.
  • It makes doing business with you a delight. When you share the content your customers create, they get their 15 minutes of fame. They love seeing their creations in the spotlight. Your business can give them that pleasure.

So let’s swap the overly professional voice of “user-generated content” into what it actually means in today’s content environment: Undeniable, Glorious Connection.  – Jessica Ann, Content Marketing Institute

How to Inspire User Generated Content

Getting likes and shares is challenging enough. Getting your customers to produce content for your brand seems downright impossible! How do you twist your customer’s arms to get them to produce it?

1. Create engagement

It sounds complicated, but the steps are rather easy.

  • Post more often. Give your audience something to respond to.
  • Respond to your audience. Create a conversation online.
  • Engage with them. Ask questions and get them talking!

To create engagement, you need to show your audience you want to hear from them. Spark conversation online by posting more and posting strategically.

2. Make it easy to contribute

Don’t make your audience go through hoops to contribute content. Give your customers a platform where they can have a voice and share how they’re using your products.

Social media is a perfect place to start. Not only does your audience know how to use this platform already (most likely) but the expectation is firmly in place, making it more acceptable to share content.

user generated content using hashtag campaigns

3. Reuse the content you already have

Reuse your current content to encourage others to add their voice.

Did a customer send you a review or share her positive success story with your product? Get her permission to share it online.

user reviews

4. Solicit content

If you are having a hard time finding content, seek it out. Ask your customers to comment on a blog, retweet, share testimonials, or like something you’ve shared.

This doesn’t (and shouldn’t) look like an act of desperation. Instead, make it fun! Starbucks did an exceptional job of this by holding a white cup contest. Because Starbucks is well-known for their white cups, they encouraged their customers to turn it into a work of art by doodling on it for a chance to win.

To enter, customers had to:

  • Design a cup
  • Take a photo
  • Share it on social media with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest

Starbucks white cup contestThe brand had over 4,000 entries in three weeks.

5. Make it worth their time

Your customers will actively participate when there’s something in it for them. To get user-generated content offer an incentive for providing it. Reward people for sharing, or at the very least, acknowledge when they do.

Offer incentives and you’ll create an engaging experience that establishes trust, loyalty, and a positive reputation.

Get Going

User-generated content does more than drive engagement – it’s fun for you and your audience, building your relationship with your buyer. It’s also one of the most valuable components to social prospecting.

Ready to get going and learn more ways to find new leads on social media? Check out our free Social Prospecting Workbook for visual instructions, pro tips, and prescriptions for success.

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