Many brands consider user generated content (UGC) to be their primary sources of ammo for building an online reputation.
Think of some emerging women’s clothing brands- Fashion Nova, Pretty Little Thing, and Showpo. These retailers essentially recycle images of followers wearing their clothing.
What’s the key differentiator here between these images and traditional marketing images (i.e. ones with models)? These pictures are unique because they’re posted by the followers, not the brand.
We’re more likely to respond positively to images shared with us by friends. Having a killer UGC strategy can be a powerful source of marketing. However, this strategy only works if the content is there.
Here are 6 user generated content ideas to get the ball rolling.
1. Look at Consumer Trends
When organically growing UGC, you must look at who’s doing the sharing.
Consider what groups of people are most likely to provide this type of content. Is it as broad as ‘millennials’ or ‘moms’? Or, are you looking at a more specific set of people, like ‘marathon runners’ or ‘backpack travelers’?
You’ll also want to consider what images they’re sharing that relate to your brand. Is it a specific product? Are they at a certain location, i.e. the beach? When and why are they sharing? How are they sharing?
You need to have an idea of who your audience is, so you can create a growth strategy based on real data.
2. Create a Hashtag
Any avid social media user knows the power of a hashtag. If you want to see more UGC, circulate through discovery pages, you need your own consumer-centric hashtag.
Earlier we mentioned how Fashion Nova is a leading player in UGC. They use the tag #NovaBabe to get users sharing images of themselves in dresses, tops, bathing suits, etc.
You’ll want to find something that relates back to your brand, but it can’t be all about you – meaning steer clear of just using your company name.
Keep in mind it takes some nurturing to see this strategy come to light.
You’ll want to strategically promote your hashtag, and use appropriate CTA’s all over the web. You can even print tiny flyers to stick in shopping bags.
3. Influencer Marketing
30% of consumers are more likely to buy from a non-celebrity blogger. Social media influencers are on the rise because of their reliability. You’ll want to leverage these users, as large followings trust their opinions.
Keep in mind that not every influencer will positively impact your brand. Make sure you take time to review their page to see if they align with your company’s mission.
If it’s a good fit, you’ll both target the same audience.
Remember, influencer marketing is a two-way street, so they need to receive value, as well. Whether it’s by means of paid advertising or discounted products, you have to make an offer.
If you want to entice both influencers and regular users to post UGC, share their images on your own page.
Instagram has tools to repost images, and we all know how to re-share on Twitter and Facebook.
This offers social recognition to your loyal followers. What’s more exciting for them than seeing their image picked up by a large brand?
This will encourage other users to follow suit, in hopes of getting their images shared. Many users see this as a strategy to grow their personal brand, so it’s a win-win for you both.
You can also create a gallery on your website where images upload from your social channels. This way, you’re hitting customers at every angle!
5. Give Them Something to Buzz About
If you want your users to talk about you online, you should give them a reason to. That doesn’t mean go all 2007 Britney Spears on anyone. Instead, look for fun ways to spur up a conversation.
Create a promotion that forces your users to get talking (in a fun, natural way, of course).
If you need an example of this, look no further than the ever-popular Coca-Cola. I’m sure you’re aware of it’s ‘Share a Coke‘ campaign. Essentially, the soda giant swapped their regular labels for ones with printed names.
Then, they encouraged consumers to go find Coke bottles and cans with their own name. It’s simple enough as going into a grocery store but creative enough to get thousands of sharing.
6. Start a Contest
Ever wonder why your friends are randomly tagging you on various brand posts? It’s usually because the company is running a contest and users must tag a friend for entry.
This is a good way to get the word out about freebies, but it doesn’t prompt users to post their own content. Instead, ask them to post something to their page that relates to your contest.
It has to be alluring enough someone would actually want to share it with their friends. For example, you can’t just say ‘Post 5 reasons you love XYZ retailer’. You need a more creative angle.
If you’re a restaurant, you can ask people to post about their favorite dish (because we all know the food is insta-worthy). If you’re a bank, you can ask people to post images of where they’d go if they won the lottery. This lanyard company could ask people to post images of themselves at conferences and then share on their homepage.
Make sure you have a clear objective, and that your rules are clearly laid out. Remember your contest should be mobile-friendly, as most image sharing is through phones.
More User Generated Content Ideas
Social media is the perfect means to build engagement amongst your target audience. Make sure you’re interacting with users in an appropriate manner. Don’t spam them, and make sure your own content is more informational and interesting than promotional.
For more user generated content ideas and other social media hacks, check out some articles here!