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Consumers tend to trust other buyers more than branded or sponsored content. Not only is content created by happy customers more believable, but it also has a better chance of going viral. When customers are so delighted with a company’s offerings that they can’t wait to share their experience with others, the content they generate has incredibly valuable marketing potential.
UGC is the height of organic marketing, and it’s basically free. To encourage customers to produce and share content about their brand, businesses can leverage social media listening tools to collect feedback and information highlighting relevant, company-related trends and topics.
Here, eight members of Forbes Agency Council look at ways to use data gathered from conversations about a brand on social media to inspire customers and fans to create favorable and memorable content about the brand.
1. Offer Rewards Or Discounts
Ask them to do it! Offer rewards or discounts for posting photos and videos on social media about the product or service via email correspondence, in packaging materials and on your website. Let them know that their image and their account might be featured in one of the company’s own posts. Start an ambassador program that recognizes fans by giving them the opportunity to upload a photo on your website. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy
2. Give People Fame And Fortune
If a brand truly understands what’s resonating with its base, and UGC is the goal, then give the people what they want: fame and fortune! Heavily promote an online contest for fans to develop content for your brand. Pick a winner, promote the content and reward the creator. Doritos has been doing this for years, and Ocean Spray recently stumbled into it with the skateboarder and Fleetwood Mac video. – T. Maxwell, eMaximize
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3. Use Your Social Listening Tools
One smart strategy is to use your social listening tools to find influencers who are already talking about your brand, then engage them for a campaign centered around UGC. Influencers can be tasked to ask followers to share their own brand-aligned content (a sweeps promo can be a great way to do this), or you can focus on a program that secures influential UGC directly from the influencers. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
4. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Leveraging influencer marketing is the best way to engage fans. Partner with different creators to boost the message and content around a specific trend. It’s important to remember that you should always lean on creators’ expertise to guide the content creation process; they know their platform and audiences better than anyone and will work to ensure an integration feels authentic and natural. – Ricky Ray Butler, BEN
5. Make Them The Center Of Attention
Make those who are creating UGC the center of attention! The Rock’s campaigns for ZOA and Teremana are perfect examples of this. Granted, he is The Rock, but on an almost daily basis, he is reposting UGC that features his products. Plus, he will often add his personal shoutout to the UGC creators and tag them in the post. Give them thanks by giving them exposure. – Bernard May, National Positions
6. Organize Social Media Contests
We’re all competitive by nature, so it’s no surprise that contests perform well on social media. Incentivizing your audience to submit photos, videos, texts or whatever piece of content you need in exchange for a prize at the end of a specified period of time can be a great way to engage, reward and entertain your audience on social channels. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative
7. Conduct A Sentiment Analysis
Reading comments on UGC can be definitely useful; organic conversations happening on non-paid content will show real and transparent feedback on a certain product, app or service. Marketers could use that data to perform a sentiment analysis and improve a certain product based on the user feedback, as you would do thanks to a focus group session. Read their feedback, improve, repeat. – Alessandro Bogliari, The Influencer Marketing Factory
8. Reward Customers With Branded Swag
We encourage our customers to create content with our swag packs. Once a customer makes their first purchase, they can request a swag pack. It’s a box with a shirt, mouse pad, mug and a bunch of other things. We’ve never had to ask customers for content; they naturally started doing it. It does cost us money to fill, pack and ship the swag packs, but it has been worth it for our social channels. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member
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