Social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools around. Each platform is an easy and authentic way to build brand awareness while directly connecting with consumers. As your following expands, more opportunities arise to differentiate your growth and customer retention strategy. User-generated content is one opportunity to supercharge your social media presence.
User-generated content is any post, photo, video, tweet, or review that a consumer posted on their own social media account. This content can then be reposted in some way, shape, or form on your platforms to help drive further engagement and sales.
It’s Ultra Organic
Like most of the content produced on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, and more, user-generated content is another form of organic social media content. It’s a low-cost (read: free) way to show that people are liking your brand and product. And, it takes minimal effort on your part. In fact, all you need to do to curate user-generated content is stay up to date on reviews, continuously share your branded hashtags, and then follow those hashtags to see if any consumers use them in a story or post.
Apple’s #ShotOnIphone campaign is an excellent example of how powerful user-generated content can be to inspire consumers and showcase key selling points while growing sales with minimal effort on the part of a company. The campaign consists solely of user-generated content, including photo and video captured by real-life consumers on their iPhone.
Convert New and Loyal Consumers
Who doesn’t love compliments? Think of user-generated content like a compliment that can complement your own posts. Showcasing positive feedback you’ve received from consumers—even if it’s just them enjoying your product—is a compelling strategy to convince other consumers to purchase your product. User-generated content is one way to show that your product is worth choosing over others because consumers are already choosing it—and enjoying it.
Let’s return to the #ShotOnIphone example. All ads should include high-quality photos or video. Apple freed two birds with one key by showcasing the iPhone cameras were up to par by using content produced by said cameras for its ad campaign. The point was to convince potential customers that they did not have to worry about low-quality camera features because current users were not only satisfied with the iPhone, but shooting photos and videos that were stunning enough to be included in a mass marketing campaign.
Make Your Followers Feel Special
The point of social media is to attract attention, and the more eyes the better. If your followers are in fact engaging with your branded hashtags, it’s important to show them that you see their efforts. Liking and commenting is the first step. If the user-generated content fits your feed aesthetic, resharing on your story and reposting on your timelines is the next step. This will make your followers feel special and seen. It shows that you care about connecting with your loyal brand fans while also setting the standard for engagement with any new followers.
For a brand like Apple, which has a massive reach and following, relying on user-generated content was very effective. They turned their followers into professional photographers featured in a successful national campaign, which is one way to make your followers feel special and seen.
Should you choose to incorporate user-generated content into your social media strategy, just be sure to always ask for permission to use the content first. Once posted, always include a proper credit to the original content creator of the post as well.