User generated content is the best marketing you don’t have to pay for. All created by your customers, user generated content includes blogs, social media posts, videos, images, podcasts — pretty much everything under the social media sun. It allows you to grow, engage and convert potential customers into loyal consumers. (According to Bazaar Voice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options to share their opinions about brands)
In a way, user generated content creates brand evangelists who create free advertising for you. If you haven’t been harnessing the power of user generated content, then you could be missing out on some serious business.
So, how do you get more user generated content to promote your brand? That can be tricky, since you’re not the one who is creating and sharing the content. The first (and most important) way to gather strong user generated content is by simply offering a product that people love (this is a no brainer!) Not to quote Field of Dreams or anything, but if you build it, they will come. If you offer a killer product that solves a major problem for your audience, then you already have the foundation for getting great user generated content. You just need to give your customers a platform to praise your brand.
Here are three tried and true strategies for getting more user generated content. These strategies all involve embracing social media, so if you don’t have a strong social media presence yet, then you’ll need to establish that first. Once your digital marketing strategy is strong, then test out these three ways to gain user generated content for your brand:
1. Own a hashtag
Owning a brand hashtag allows you to give a clear search term on social media where people can find content, images and videos about your brand. This strategy has shown up in countless marketing campaigns. Recently, United State President Donald Trump used #maga to create a clear message that his followers could latch on to, proving that the power of social media can penetrate politics — pretty crazy. Coca Cola also used this strategy with #shareacoke, allowing their consumers to take photos with their products and use a hashtag — double marketing magic.
2. Create a social media contest
Nothing builds brand momentum on social media like a contest. By giving your users an incentive to share and talk about your product, you’re engaging in a fun, domino effect marketing campaign. Chobani, a Greek yogurt company, used this strategy by asking customers to submit photos and videos praising the yogurt. Chobani, in turn, used their user generated content on billboards, the company website and across other mediums. This strategy instantly gathered user generated content and also gave Chobani customers their 10 minutes of fame.
3. Spread your branding….everywhere
Once your branding is established, you should make it a priority to stamp your logo on any products your users might like (notepads, key chains, t-shirts — the list goes on and on). This is probably the oldest strategy in the book. It creates free advertising — and who doesn’t like getting a few freebies? Our favorite freebie we’ve seen yet are iPhone cases because, well, who doesn’t have their phone on them all day everyday? Once your branding is spread to the masses, this gives consumers the opportunity to have a visual to go along with any review or testimony.