How To Promote Your Brand and Engage Customers with User-Generated Content
Everyone wants to know the secret sauce for an amazing social media presence. Well, there is a powerful force that can skyrocket your brand to success: your fans.
Fan engagement and user-generated content is a key element of successful social media campaigns. If your fans don’t care, then you won’t be heard. User-generated content, in particular, can help your business grow and significantly benefit your marketing team.
Use our mini-guide to explore where this content comes from, why it is valuable, and how you can tap into this powerful force to grow your business.
What Is User-Generated Content?
As the name sounds, user-generated content refers to any post, image, video, or content posted by your customers, fans, and followers. To benefit your company, this content typically features your products, services, business, or brand in some way.
A great example of user-generated content has been Burger King’s Impossible Whopper. People across the country, both vegetarian and not, have been curious about this menu item. They take pictures of it, share their experiences with friends, and let other people know that it is available.
Burger King doesn’t have to invest in any advertising for user-generated content. The fans create it organically on their own.
Why Is User-Generated Content Beneficial?
There are two key reasons why user-generated content will benefit your brand.
- Initially, this marketing strategy can take the burden off of you for content creation.
- Then, you can use this content marketing tactic to grow your reach across social media and the web.
Content creation is one of the biggest challenges that SMBs face on social media. It’s not uncommon for page managers to feel burnout or get overwhelmed with the pressure to create exciting or engaging content. User-generated content can be a lifesaver for page managers who want highly-engaging content but don’t have the bandwidth to create it.
When your fans upload photos, share videos, and add fun comments, you can collect this content and fill your editorial calendar. Even setting up a basic post featuring a “fan of the week” can help take the burden off of your content team.
User-generated content is a great way to reach new audiences. Look at your fan count. Do 1,000 people like your page? That means that each post past a potential reach of 1,000. User-generated content opens your brand up to reach new audiences. A fan who posts about your brand to their 300 friends gives you a new maximum reach to 1,300.
The more fans who post about your brand, the more people you can potentially reach. We all know that with Facebook’s algorithm, reaching all of your fans is highly unlikely, but increasing the number of people you can potentially reach also increases the number of people you will reach.
Recommended Reading: Facebook Ad Strategy 101: What Every SMB Owner Needs to Know
Of course, there are other, less-tangible benefits to tapping into user-generated content. Trust is one of the main ones. You trust what your friends promote. When your fans and customers post about your brand, it is a high-quality endorsement that is more valuable to your business than any paid ad.
10 Ways to Tap Into User-Generated Content
Many small business owners understand the value of user-generated content, but they aren’t sure how they can get fans to engage with it. It’s one thing to manage the Burger King social accounts, but what about small local brands with only 100 followers? Or companies that aren’t as exciting for users, like a CPA or lawyer?
There are a few ideas that you can try to get your fans to create user-generated content. You can modify these tips based on your industry or fanbase, or try multiple options to see what works.
- Hold contests where fans can post about your brand and tag you in order to win free products, services, or other benefits.
- Offer a basic discount for fans who post or check-in (ex: a free side or food sample at a restaurant).
- Promote social media accounts in your area and encourage your fans to follow the people who post about your brand.
- Create photo promotions within your business (ex: an orthodontist setting up a photo-op area for teens who get their braces off).
- Ask for reviews or customer testimonials related to your business or brand.
- Encourage employees to post photos of their work with their customers. (ex: a personal trainer with a client or a hairstylist showing off an exciting new cut on a customer.)
- Get involved in community events and fundraisers where people can take photos near your branding.
- Post survey questions and debate subjects to get fans talking (ex: a travel company asking people to choose between skiing vs. snowboarding or Disney vs. Universal.)
- Create a scavenger hunt around town where fans have to find and post about items related to your brand.
- Develop in-store challenges to bring people in and see if they can prove their strength, smarts, or taste.
There is something on this list for everyone. Simply asking clients or customers to write a review online can give you content that you can share to promote trust in your brand for others.
What Can You Do With User-Generated Content?
Once you have a steady flow of user-generated content, start saving and sharing those photos, posts, and tags. The sky's the limit for what you share and how often you share it. Most brands will take screenshots of the content and tag the fan who shared it. Other brands will directly share or retweet the content if the user made it public.
As a general rule of thumb, always ask your fans before you share their content. Just because someone posts about your brand doesn’t mean they want their profile shared where everyone can see it. If they don’t want their names shared, you can also ask to share the content with identifiers cropped out.
User-generated content has the power to drive conversations of its own, continuing your engagement levels and bringing out more people to comment on and like your posts.
Get the Most Out of Your Marketing With MyArea Network
If you wish you had high engagement levels and fans posting about your brand, turn to the experts who love drumming up engagement on the web. At MyArea Network, we specialize in helping brands with their marketing efforts and giving them the guidance they need to make an impact. Reach out today. We’re here to help you.