Everyone is a content creator these days. Our mobile devices and web tools have made it incredibly easy to produce quality images and videos. There is certainly no shortage of content across social networks. Marketers must take note, especially when content is related to your brand.
What’s more, making a proactive call for user-generated content with some guidance (e.g., specified hashtag or CTA) can have exponential effects for your brand. So how can you go about this in an organic way that extends beyond your immediate community? This week’s #SproutChat discussed just that. Here’s what our experts had to say.
Ask for Content to Deepen Your Customer Relationships
Simply said, individuals trust their friends more than brands. With that in mind, you should leverage user-generated content as a tool to reach new audiences. Not only does UGC make the people who create it feel closer to your brand, but it also shows that relationship to all their connections.
A1. UGC allows marketers to activate their audience and empower them! It creates fanatic fans and brand advocates #sproutchat
— Alexander Wilson (@anthrofoodie) December 2, 2015
— Stephanie Nairn (@stephnairn) December 2, 2015
A1 it’s using content that’s obviously already relevant to your audience and it drives two way engagement #SproutChat
— Tate Dimech (@tatedimech) December 2, 2015
Celebrate UGC That Aligns With Your Brand
One pain point of UGC is that it might not be absolutely on brand since it’s not created by your team. While perfect content is not the point, you don’t want to use material that’s so far off from your brand identity. To get the best quality possible, highlight the kind of content you’d like to see. Still, keep in mind that how your community interprets your brand can be valuable information that shouldn’t be dismissed as wildly out of step. This is an opportunity to assess the perception of your brand from engaged community members.
A2 Engage and ask for it. Guest blog for example. Highlight power users / contributors within your community #sproutchat
— Toby Metcalf (@Toby_Metcalf) December 2, 2015
A2 Use it. Give credit. Celebrate people who create content. Make people want to do it. #SproutChat
— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) December 2, 2015
Limit Parameters When Calling for UGC
Although it may be tempting to try to get UGC to look perfect, it’s tough to enact such strict guidelines. In fact, it could turn off your audience. Keep in mind that your community may be using a mobile phone to create content. Anything you can offer to align with this factor should be well received. Keep boundaries open, and let creativity flow.
A4. Ask your audience to create content that’s all about them. How’d they use your product? What have they learned? #SproutChat
— Margot Mazur (@margotcodes) December 2, 2015
A4: Only ask for authentic content from your audience. Let them choose the medium and what works best for them #SproutChat
— Gabby Yocum (@thegreat_gabbby) December 2, 2015
A4) Users might even surprise you with the perfect content that you didn’t even know you wanted! #sproutchat
— Elizabeth Sherling (@ecsherling) December 2, 2015
Compile Content to Drive Interest From Others
One of the main goals of UGC should be to attract interest from the creators’ networks and other individuals within your community. UGC may need some polishing in order to make it intriguing. This is where the brand comes into play. Combining content that’s been made for the same purpose can be really powerful and even elicit FOMO from those not involved.
A5: Picture Albums on Facebook. A page on the site dedicated to the community content, rotating timely. A special hashtag. #sproutchat
— Heroic Search (@HeroicSearch) December 2, 2015
A5) People like free stuff. Give them free stuff. In other words, contests & giveaways! #Sproutchat
— Charleigh (@char6529) December 2, 2015
A5. Demonstrate value added for users or tell such a compelling story that it makes them want to join in. Option 1 much easier. #SproutChat
— Nathan Young (@notnathan) December 2, 2015
Sarah Nagel: Sarah Nagel is the Senior Manager, Brand Advocacy & Community at Sprout Social. She heads community building initiatives as well as Sprout’s advocacy program, Sprout All Stars. Sarah is a champion for empowering passionate and enthusiastic customers and believes in the huge impact an engaged community can have on an organization’s bottom line. Outside of work, she loves taking on home renovation projects, spending time with her husband and two rescue dogs and making the best guacamole you’ve ever had.