What catches your attention when you scroll through social media?
Photos of your family or friends, an advertising message or an update from one of your favorite brands?
While social media platforms are constantly evolving with new updates, trends and tools, one thing remains constant: if you’re trying to grow your business using social media, you need to make your posts stand out from the crowd.
User-generated content can make your messages stand out on social media and help your company attract new followers. Read on to find out why you should consider integrating user-generated content into your social media marketing strategy.
What is user-generated content?
Simply put, user-generated content is content created by your customers, not by your brand. Common forms of user-generated content include the following:
- Online testimonials and reviews.
- Images of people using your brand’s product or service.
- Videos of people using your brand’s product or service.
- Non-sponsored blog posts.
- The difference between user-generated content and influencer content
While user-generated content and influencer content are similar, there’s an important distinction to be made: influencer content is paid for by the company. Companies can pay an influencer for a product review, feature article or advertisement, and the amount they pay is usually based on the size of the influencer’s audience.
On the other hand, user-generated content is created without compensation of any kind, and shows real reviews and images of customers interacting with your brand. Because user-generated content is created without outside influence, it provides an authentic insight into what people like (or don’t like) about your brand.
Why is user-generated content important?
There are a few reasons why user-generated content is important:
He has influence
Eighty-five percent of consumers say that user-generated content has more influence than brand-created content, and 90% of consumers say that authenticity is important in deciding which brands they like and support.
User-generated content provides an authentic assessment of your products/services, which has influence not only on potential customers, but also on the brands themselves; reviews can give you valuable feedback that you can use to improve your brand.
It provides social proof
If the user-generated content you receive is positive, it can provide potential customers with the social proof they need to feel confident about making a purchase.
It helps build relationships with customers
Interacting with user-generated content shows that you care about your customers. For example, liking a post someone has shared about your brand can strengthen your relationship with the customer, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases.
How to encourage the growth of user-generated content
Now that you know the benefits of user-generated content, it’s time to find some for your brand!
On Instagram and Facebook, search for hashtags associated with your company to see what content appears. If you can’t find user-generated content, think about the hashtags you can use to develop your social presence, and integrate them into a strategic marketing campaign.
Instagram contests and giveaways are a popular way to improve social awareness and promote hashtags. By offering a promotion or prize for the use of related hashtags, you can boost the popularity of the hashtag and encourage customers to use it organically.
An example of a branded hashtag can be seen on the HomeSense Instagram account. HomeSense customers use the hashtag #myHomeSense when posting images of their HomeSense decor and furniture finds. HomeSense re-displays these user-generated images on its profile to show how its customers stage their interior design products. HomeSense also uses this hashtag in its own publications.
Branded hashtags help increase brand awareness and can be an easy way to find user-generated posts to use as part of your brand’s social media strategy.
Opinions and testimonials
Check out Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook to see what reviews you’re getting. Take note of the positive reviews you see, and think of ways to incorporate them into your social media posts. An easy way to share reviews on social media is to create a review message template and replace the review each time you share a new one.
Another quick way to share reviews/reactions is to take a screenshot of the review and share it again in your story/feed.
You can even tag the reviewer in the message as a thank you!