With We are noticing a huge rise in the popularity of user-generated content, especially with TikTok's success. It gives potential customers, what seems to be, authentic, honest reviews and opinions on products, services, places, experiences, etc.
We have all been getting wise to traditional media ads for a long time. You probably recognize Instagram ads before you even see that it says, "sponsored."
That kind of marketing needs to take a back seat.
You have to market to people the way they want and meet your customers where they are. You have to put your business where people are, and you have to show it the way consumers want to see it.
That's why user-generated content for marketing is so on trend.
What is User Generated Content?
Just as it sounds, user-generated content (or UGC) is content that customers create about your business. Whether it's a comment that they left on a post, a message or photo they sent you or a full-on video, this is all UGC that you can use (with permission where necessary, ie: photo/video) to promote your brand.
It makes sense, right? Someone else saying your brand and business is great is always going to be more trustworthy than you saying it's great. (Unless it's your mom. But actually that would be super endearing, you may want to give that a shot.)
Wondering how to get user-generated content?
Here's a list of ways to encourage more user generated content for your business.
We've established why user-generated content is important. Here's how you can encourage it:
1. Build a community
This might be obvious, but it can't be understated. If people are going to create content about you, for you, you need to be somebody.
This doesn't mean you need to have 500,000 followers or go viral. It might be a slow, steady build to a modest number. As long as your community is loyal and engaged, you have what you need.
You continue to build an audience through valuable content. Create content that means something to people, whether it's informative, vulnerable, entertaining or soothing. You need to create a brand that people want to interact with to be part of the community.
That brings us to our second point.
2. Being unique will help encourage user-generated content
This is really just as simple as being yourself. We are all unique and we all have something to offer in our own way.
What kind of voice and persona is on-brand for you? Are you all about flowing language or technical terms? Tough love or edgy indifference? If your brand was a person, what personality would they have?
Bring that into your content and you will develop over time to stand out and find people who connect with it.
3. Ask your audience and community meaningful questions
This is a great way to encourage feedback once you've built a community. Ask questions related to your business that will prompt responses from your audience.
Use these replies to create more content, whether it's a video reply on TikTok, or a screenshot shared to other social media platforms.
It will make your followers feel seen and appreciated, which will encourage more participation. This is what social media is about and we all love engaging with brands that we know will respond and value our input.
4. Incentivize your community to create user-generated content for you
The incentive could be large or small, depending on your budget. Example: Post a picture of our coffee and the next one's on us. You're asking for something from your audience. It's transactional. If you want to take, you need to give.
5. Ask your best customers to create content
You know, the ones you know really well, who maybe even bring you a coffee now and then? They likely know what you offer just as well as you do! And ask them to create something for you now or later on their own, talking about something they love about your business.
Even though we're talking about loyal customers who would probably love to do this for you, you're still asking for more than you're giving, which is a hard sell.
Throw in a small freebie, or offer to send them a coupon for 15% off their next purchase once the content is posted.
*If you have some loyal customers with a pretty big following, these are definitely people you want to approach and offer a freebie to in exchange for a review of a product, service, or your business in general.
6. Request user-generated content with a brand hashtag
It's always a good idea to have a simple brand hashtag that you can use to encourage user-generated content that's easy for you to find and share.
You can incentivize this as well, especially in the early stages when you're trying to create a buzz. Offer 10% off the next purchase for anyone who creates content about your business, using the brand hashtag (ie: we use #catscove).
Make sure you share it in your feed, stories and anywhere else you can fit it in.
How do you encourage user generated content for your business? We'd love to hear about it!