Persuading millennials to buy a product or service with brand generated content is pretty tricky today. Consumers are increasingly looking for user generated content (UGC) because it resonates with them and has a personable authenticity to it. In fact, UGC is considered to be trusted 51% more than other information on a company website or news article, and 84% of them rely heavily on just UGC when buying products.
User generated content is defined as any data or media that is contributed by individual users of a website. It could be in the form of blog, photo, or video. Basically, your customers are using social media to tell a visual story about your products and services, without you even asking them. The best part about this is that it’s cost effective because it’s FREE!
So, Where Do I Find It?
In order to get started on your UGC strategy, you must first audit all of your existing content. How you locate UGC will vary depending on which social media site you are searching on, but for illustrative purposes, we will focus mainly on Instagram. Here are three ways to locate user generated content:
The first step for searching on Instagram would be to check the “photos of you” section. This displays only the photos that your account has been tagged in, and it will serve as a quick and easy way to sort through content. When the consumer directly tags your brand, they are trying to openly communicate with you, so it is important that you respond to this type of content as much as you can. You can like it, comment on it, share it, etc. It will encourage the consumer to continue generating buzz for your brand.
Twitter and Instagram are home of the hashtags. Users will hashtag a word, brand name or topic to centralize the conversation into one specific category. For example, if you go on Instagram and type in #Starbucks, the app will pull photos containing that hashtag and align them into a stream of chronological content for you to view. Similarly, if you go on Twitter and search #GameofThrones, you will see comments and discussions on that TV show.
To start, you may want to search by your brand’s name, a popular campaign name or maybe a specific product/service that is a consumer favorite. This will allow you to see what is being said about your business, what’s liked and what’s disliked so you can gain insight on your brand awareness.
A geotag on Instagram uses a mobile device’s GPS to attach coordinates to a photo and locate where it was taken. Assuming that you are listed as a business on a site such as Facebook, your company will show up as a location option for consumers to essentially “check in” to. This allows you to see all of the photos that were taken at or near your business.
Finding quality UGC may be a bit tedious, but taking the time to scour through it all will certainly be worthwhile.
Now That I Have It, What Do I Do with It?
Once you have sorted through the UGC and gathered some quality posts, it’s time to start engaging and sharing it. This is called “regramming” on Instagram and “retweeting” on Twitter. It is a great way to make your customers feel valuable and recognized, while providing you with content to input into your calendar.
To share the content, you can simply screenshot the photo or you can use a free app such as Repost. The app allows you to share an Instagram photo while giving credit to the consumer by putting a small watermark of their account name. Repost even permits you to share their caption along with any hashtags that they’ve used. If they have written a complimentary caption praising your brand or service, it would be smart to share that on your website and social media as a form of testimonial. Fifty-one percent of Millennials say consumer opinions found on a company’s website have a greater impact on purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends.
Respect The Content Creator
It is important to note that you should always give credit where credit is due when sharing UGC. By doing this, you are encouraging the public to create more quality content for your brand and share it their followers, which ultimately increases your reach and gains you exposure. After all, they did all the work and deserve to be recognized for it!
Reaching out to the content creator and asking them for permission to share their post is also recommended. You can send them an e-mail or message them directly through the social media platform. It will help create a relationship with the consumer and drive potential for continual postings by them in the future.
Get Inspired and Get Going
Now that you’ve been given a crash course on what user generated content is, the power of it and how to find it, it’s time to implement your strategy. These great examples of user generated content campaigns will get your creative juices flowing.
Stay tuned for our next blog post on 3 simple ways to encourage UGC.