The search for content in showcasing, advertising or reinforcing your brand’s message is one of those marketing tasks that will never be finished. You can always repurpose, reshare or reimagine some piece of your brand’s message that will continue attracting new followers.
One of the most popular and innovative ways to do this is to find content made by other people, or to encourage your fans to create content of their own. User-generated content can make anyone into an influencer, where authenticity shines through in each post and highlights the purpose of a brand’s product or service.
User-generated content is effective because it is unsponsored and occurs much more organically than most other content that a brand can share on social media. It leverages genuine enthusiasm for a brand and creates social proof. Social proof is the idea that other people like something, so maybe you should, too.
Choose the right platform for your campaign
Each social media site has a slightly different audience, tone and purpose. Short videos belong on TikTok or Instagram. Longer videos or text posts usually perform better on Facebook. These aren’t always the case, but most of the time it’s a safe bet.
TikTok and Instagram are two of the most important social media platforms for companies to generate videos showing customers enjoying or celebrating their brands. Twitter has its own tone niche too, with a tone and audience all its own.
Bombas makes a habit of sharing user-generated content, simply retweeting people’s tweets about their products. Not only does this generate the social proof that UGC is known for, it empowers more people to tweet about Bombas so they might be retweeted, too. A report showed that 51 percent of consumers are more likely to engage with a brand if it shares their post on social media.
Create a hashtag
A hashtag will unite your effort to gather user-generated content and create a buzz around any topic your brand is focusing on. A hashtag should be short and sweet, clever and doesn’t need to mention your brand by name. The hashtag should invoke some central theme of the brand.
Toronto’s tourism department does an excellent job of seeking out user-generated content and sharing it with the hashtag #SeeTorontoNow. That hashtag will resonate with anyone traveling or living in Toronto, and encourage more posts to come in.
It’s important for a hashtag to be unique, and not too general. It should hit a sweet spot: specific enough to be clearly associated with your brand, but general enough to attract a large group of people who contribute quality content.
Share tools for creating content
Doritos started an interesting campaign for UGC that allows its fans’ creativity to take off. This is a crossover between influencer marketing and user-generated content that has produced some funny, engaging posts.
The brand set up a website for users to sign up, and Doritos offers payment to those who submit posts the the brand uses on its social media. The site includes challenges such as “Snack Hacks Challenge,” a “Doritos Mixtape Challenge” or “Doritos Nacho Memes Challenge.” Once someone signs up for the Legion, they get the tools they need to create, including graphics, templates and even a handbook showing them what Doritos is looking for.
This post is a great example of a contribution from the Legion, with the meme a spoof of Drake’s 2015 mixtape, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
User-generated content can bring a brand to a new level of engagement with its fanbase. Not only does it promote direct contact with some of the brand’s biggest fans, it creates a buzz that inspires other people to create their own content. From a practical standpoint, user-generated content is cost-effective and, if done successfully, can create an exponential amount of content relative to the effort it takes to start the campaign.