What is User Generated Content?
Along with influencer marketing, user-generated content [UGC] continues to be a popular form of earned and curated content for social media managers everywhere. In simple terms, it is photos, videos, blogs or testimonials that your customers create about your brand, products or services, and then share on their own social channels for their own followers to see.
You have the option to passively hit a ‘retweet’ button but, if used correctly, this content could easily (and cheaply) work much harder promote for your brand – in a way that is more accessible and personal for your own audiences.
According to Hootsuite’s report on social media trends in 2018, ‘a person like yourself’ is now seen to be as credible a source as an academic or technical expert, and more credible than a company CEO. Sprout Social has also recently reported on the rise in influencer marketing and user-generated content. Consumers are becoming more and more used to sharing their opinions and experiences of brands on social media and respond to these pieces of content with less scrutiny than a branded piece.
Start with content that has been intentionally shared with you. These include testimonials on your websites, as well as Facebook posts and tweets that mention your handle. Also, take a look at what photos you have been tagged in on Instagram. As Instagram is a very strong visual-based channel, these images are often of a near-professional quality and are therefore easy to quickly repurpose.
Next, implement your social listening. Browse Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and review sites for mentions (and hashtags) of your brand, products or services.
As with any form of marketing, there are some best practices to follow before including any user-generated content in your social media plan.
The Golden Rules:
- Get Permission:
This is essential. You do not have legal ownership of this content, therefore you need express permission to use or repurpose their content, and you should keep this on file in case of future reference.
- Give Credit:
Each and every time you share user-generated content, you should always credit the customer who created it. Where possible, tag their social account as well.
- Don’t Copy And Paste:
When asking for permission, be sure to add a personal touch to show you really care about this customer and their experience with your brand. Avoid just copying and pasting a message without adding anything that complements it.
- Say Thank You:
If a customer has made the effort to respond and give you permission, it is only polite to send a genuine thank you in return. If possible, set expectations on when and where they can expect to see their content shared by the brand.
- Follow Them:
This is already an engaged customer and a fan of your brand, so, if you haven’t already, make sure that you have followed their channels so that you can continue to develop your relationship with them (and retarget if appropriate).
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