Many brands leverage the benefits of user-generated content (UGC) through large scale contests or promotions. By asking for photo submissions – like Shoeboxed did with their Messy Desk Contest – or requesting video testimonials – like the National Chicken Council did with their ‘I Love Chicken’ Contest – these brands incited their users into creating and submitting content that could be distributed around the web. Because this content came from users, it didn’t require the amount of time and/or resources it can normally take for a brand to plan and produce a unique piece of content. What’s more, because users were personally invested in this content, they were more likely to share and promote it themselves, removing some of the content distribution legwork from the brand side.
When done right, these kinds of contests can produce great results. However there’s a simpler, smaller-scale way to reap the benefits of user-generated content by making it a part of your day-to-day social media strategy. Instead of a big contest or promotion, start to look at smaller “submissions,” i.e. comments, tweets, etc., as user-generated content that can be distributed by your brand on social media. For example, the This Is Personal Campaign Facebook page highlights one user comment each week by turning it into a shareable visual that is then posted across several channels.
We implement a similar tactic on the DiabetesWellBeing.com Facebook page [client] by repurposing user comments as visual page content as often as several times per week. The results of this are above average engagement rates, as shown by the 5,000+ likes, almost 2,000 shares, and 244 comments generated in the example below.
Though this simple tactic is overlooked by many brands, you should absolutely find ways to incorporate it into your daily social media activities. Here’s why:
User-generated content saves time, money, and resources
Marketers spend hours upon hours planning perfect social media updates. However in following this user-generated content method, the unique and engaging yet also on-brand update we aim for each day has already been created. The only time and resources required are those involved in finding an appropriate comment to repurpose, and then dropping it into a pre-designed template.
User-generated content strengthens one-on-one relationships
A lot of what goes on between brands and users on social media channels falls into the category of mass communications; speaking to all of, or at best a specific segment of, your audience at once. However when you choose to highlight a certain user’s comment by repurposing and resharing it, you generate a feeling a specialness between your brand and that specific user, making them feel valued and important.
User-generated content encourages additional social media interactions
That feeling of specialness generated when you highlight a user’s comment? Other users want it, too! When you make a habit of repurposing user comments, those who also wish to be highlighted will interact with your brand more often, incentivized by the possibility of being featured on your social media channels.