A reported 37% of consumers look to their social networks to learn about brands and products before making a purchase. And using UGC is a proven way to boost your social media engagement and increase followers by up to 400%! Before you start scrolling through your tagged photos and searching your branded hashtags, read this article to learn about the best practices for User-Generated Content (UGC) the right way.
Why Is User-Generated Content Important?
UGC can appear in many forms: comments on your blog, testimonials on your website, social media posts, Instagram stories, blog posts written by users, video reviews, and more. Such content works as social proof and helps businesses build trustful relationships with their audience and makes UGC an important part of every campaign.
4 Best Practices for User-Generated Content UGC
Word-of-mouth marketing is alive and well in the form of user-generated content (UGC). Happy customers tweeting, snapchatting, and Instagramming your products is one of the most effective, and free forms of advertising.
Below are the 4 best practices for User-Generated content that will help you boost your UGC campaign!
1. Confirm You Have the Rights and Permissions to Publish the Content
First thing’s first: you need to do a bit of housekeeping to avoid photo copyright infringement and other legal issues.
Just because someone tags you in a photo doesn’t mean that it’s fair game for promotion. Although rules and regulations around user-generated content promotions vary from platform to platform, here are some quick guidelines:
When in doubt, ask for explicit permission from creators and influencers prior to publishing. This can be done through social comments and DMs rather than email.
- For social media cross-posting, credit the creator (and their @account) when possible.
- If you’re sourcing UGC from contests or giveaways, double-check that entrants have opted-in and understand the rules.
- Double-check the terms of service for any given social platform you’re publishing to.
You can check the above-given example of Petsmart asking for permission before sharing content from @Rundashie.
2. Know Where to Share Your UGC?
So, you found the perfect image, video, or statistic to share. But where do you share it?
Although the best marketing practice of sharing content far and wide to increase your audience still applies, there may be times when sharing content works best on specific social networks.
Facebook, for example, is an excellent platform for sharing customer videos that show users engaging with your brand. And it’s no secret that Instagram is the place for high-resolution, high-impact visuals, so share your user images there.
But remember to regram and include an @ mention (more on this later). Twitter is the perfect place for smaller text snippets, like a dynamic or thoughtful quote from a customer testimonial.
Just remember to include some relevant hashtags to increase your audience reach and make your posts searchable.
Lastly, LinkedIn is the place to share content that reflects your brand values, so thought-piece articles from business and industry giants as well as customer use cases are most effective when shared here.
3. Motivate Your Followers to Share
How do you create an ever-refreshing tap of UGC? You incentivize people to share!
Ask them questions and invite them to answer in comments on your social feeds. Create fun giveaways and ask people to share photos with your products or services and tag you in the post.
Promise to feature their content on your feed or social walls when they post with your branded hashtag. Instagram is a great place to feature giveaways and contests since it allows you to showcase users’ high-resolution images and curated videos as marketing tools.
Keep a content library of all the UGC you amass, and post content over time to maximize impact — and it will. In fact, 80% of customers said that UGC has a huge bearing on their buying decisions.
And while you’re at it, remember to show your gratitude by thanking each user that contributes — these users are not only current and potential customers, but they’re also an unpaid extension of your marketing team, so treat them well!
4. Get Permission and Tag Those Photos
Sharing content without the owner’s consent or attribution is just bad business.
Although certain social media content is considered fair game when it comes to copyright, it will likely leave users with a bad taste in their mouths if you share without asking.
A simple direct message or even comment on their post asking them if you can share their content will do.
The message should be brief and friendly and include where you plan on sharing, how you will handle attributions (@mentions, tags, etc.), and your contact information so they can reach out to you privately.
Remember to sincerely compliment them on their content, sharing why their content caught your eye in the first place!
Is it a particularly well-edited photo, a creative take on using your products and services, or something else entirely? And be sure to also thank them if and when they let you share their content.
Can You Repurpose User-Generated Content?
Chances are you’re already swamped with content and campaign ideas. We totally get it!
But brands with even a modest amount of UGC on hand should make repurposing a priority.
Here are some quick benefits to consider:
Build your word-of-mouth presence faster. Repurposing UGC empowers you to spread your social proof across multiple campaigns and platforms. Why confine your brand’s customer content to TikTok or Instagram when you can post to both?
Boost conversions across your marketing channels. From social media ads to email and beyond, the connection between UGC and higher conversion rates is well-documented. Through repurposing, a single piece of content on one platform can improve conversions elsewhere.
Squeezing more out of your current marketing assets helps you work smarter, not harder. We know firsthand that gathering customer content can be quite the process. If you have UGC that’s ready to repurpose, you’ve already done the hard part!
The example given is from Black Milk Clothing. It shows how they efficiently repurposed their UGC from Facebook and used it for their Instagram feed.
UGC is great but before you start posting, it’s important to understand a few best practices. The above-given tips will help you stay organized and ensure that your content gets the reach it deserves.