When creating your social media strategy, consider incorporating user-generated content, or UGC. UGC is defined as any content created by a user of a company’s product or service while the said product or service is in use. UGC differs from typical influencer content because users are unpaid contributors who share content without advertising.
Creating a social media strategy with user-generated content highlights dedicated customers and showcases your product/service in a real-world setting. Target audiences are much more likely to trust a brand after seeing their peers using, and enjoying, the product. For example, a plumber may be more inclined to purchase a shower drain after watching a video of another plumber installing the product compared to a brand post about how great the drain is.
Sharing content posted by users on your company’s social media platforms also builds authenticity. In fact, according to Later, “consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by a brand.”
Here are 5 tips on successfully finding and sharing user-generated content as part of your social media strategy.
1. Set goals
As you would set goals for any aspect of your marketing strategy, the same holds true for user-generated content. Don’t begin sharing the first UGC that you find. Instead, determine your desired outcomes and carefully plan your selection process. Potential goals are raising brand awareness or driving visitors to your website. Your specific goals will decide what type of UGC will positively represent your brand.
2. Choose social media channels
High-performing content on Facebook is not necessarily high-performing content on Twitter. Your followers most likely vary across social media channels so sharing UGC on all channels might be a waste of a post. The easiest way to begin this process is by researching through each channel. Search by hashtags or those who have tagged you in posts to learn where UGC is being shared the most and has the highest engagement rates.
You can also refer to competitor pages or keep in mind how similar content has performed on specific channels. Also, similar to other social media posts, maintain consistency with the days and times that you share UGC content.
3. Know what your audience wants
After noting the types of content using your product, you hopefully have a good idea of what your audience likes to see. If your water heaters are constantly in UGC photos, and they’re generating a lot of positive feedback and engagement, that product should be the focus of the UGC shared on your pages.
Once you decide on the best type of UGC, stay consistent and only select users who share that type of content. However, always properly inspect images and videos to make sure the product is being used correctly and won’t create any backlash for your company. If you are unable to find quality content, don’t be afraid to ask your followers to send in submissions and spread the word.
4. Create a hashtag specifically for UGC
Get creative and develop a brand-specific, dedicated hashtag for UGC content that you share on your channels. Always and only incorporate that hashtag in UGC copy, encouraging users to use the hashtag as well when sharing content about your product. Bonus: The dedicated hashtag will make future UGC posts easier to find!
For additional hashtags, see what is currently used in UGC posts your brand is tagged in and what is commonly used in your industry. These hashtags can also help show your audience the type of content you’re looking for, such as #plumbingsolutions or #heatingsolutions. Placing the same additional hashtags on every UGC post is important to maintain consistency as well.
5. Build a community
Sharing user-generated content shows your customers you care about their full product experience, not just making a sale. Continue to grow a loyal fan base and engage in the end result of the product by sharing UGC.
Develop a brand voice that accurately reflects your image and mission. Use this brand voice and actively collaborate with product users, always replying to both the good and bad comments. Additionally, encouraging your audience to share UGC, tag your brand, share to their stories, and use a dedicated hashtag enforces a sense of community.
User-generated content is a great way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Always review the use of your product before posting to ensure it is being used properly. With the right planning and strategy, you can turn UGC into a regular part of your digital and social media marketing.
Ready to develop a successful and strategic social media strategy? Contact our team of digital marketing specialists today!