Tips Tuesday With Your Digital Service Squad – User-Generated Content

Posted On Tuesday March 23, 2021

User-generated content (UGC) comes in many forms (image, video, text, audio) and it is created by people (followers/customers) instead of being developed by your business. UGC is beneficial as it is often seen as more reliable. It is an accurate representation of someone’s views about your business and products. It is important for a business to encourage UGC and then re-share it onto their page as it will help boost credibility, and helps to expand organic reach. Since UGC attributes credibility it can be a major factor in driving a consumer's purchasing decision, directly leading to an increase in sales. Reposting UGC can also help to keep a consistent posting schedule, as you can use this extra content to fill in gaps.

Often you will see UGC in the form of customers posting about part of their consumption experience with your business. They may post an image of themselves visiting your store, shopping, receiving a package, reviewing a product, or modelling/enjoying a recent purchase. Sometimes your business will be at the forefront of the post but other times your product may simply be noticeable in the corner of an image, and your business is tagged. All types of UGC are great as it is genuine content and gives insight into your customer base. If your business is a bar or restaurant you may get more UGC through location tags and check-ins when people are visiting your establishment. Often it will be a picture of friends/family and your business is the backdrop, this is a great way to show off the atmosphere of your business. If your products are visually appealing (ex. baked good, or hand-crafted art) you may see UGC in the form of close-up pictures showing off your product, as the person is proud of their purchase and wants to show it off to their followers. Clothing boutiques may see UGC whenever their items are worn, as customers often tag the boutique to show off the outfit. This creates a variety of potential images as every customer will style things differently, wear it to different places, and show what it looks like on a unique body type.

There are a few different ways to harness UGC. The first and easiest is simply waiting for your customers to tag you in their posts or stories, and then you can repost the content to your accounts. You can include a caption about how this relates to your brand, and use this as an opportunity to thank the user or pride them on their creative promotion of your business. This option runs the risk of only getting a small amount of UGC. Another stance is to actively promote that your business wants to see UGC from its customers. Create a hashtag that users can include in their post so that you can easily see all UGC related to your business. Explore hashtags like #fansof‘business’ #‘business’pride #Shoppingwith‘business’, make it unique to your business name and audience. On your receipts, you can invite users to engage with you online and post a photo with your hashtag. Promote your hashtag in your window, in posters around the store, at a table, in a dressing room, anywhere that your customer might see it or take photos.

Sometimes it can be hard to encourage customers to start posting UGC, if this is the case you can include an incentive. Ask people to share photos relating to your business all month long and at the end of the month, you can pick a representative, and give them a small prize for posting the best photo with your business. You can also pick a couple of your favourite images and have your audience vote on a winner; this can help with engagement.

When you repost content created by one of your customers you are not just boosting your brand’s credibility and authenticity, you are also directly strengthening your relationship with that customer. When you repost someone's content, they go from seeing themselves as just another one of your shoppers to someone that your business sees and values. You reinforce the idea that posting UGC is good, hopefully leading them to tag you in future posts. This is a great way to harness the excitement surrounding your brand and share it with people who may be less familiar with your business.

It is a best practice to always ask for permission when sharing UGC. Even if the post includes your branded hashtag, a quick comment or message asking if you can repost is the best way to avoid problems down the line. If you are using someone else's image in your post, make sure you tag them and give them credit. If you want to repost someone's Instagram story to your story, you will need to be tagged in their post. That is why it is important to actively promote your socials and encourage UGC. When people do post images involving your business, they need to remember your account, remember that you value UGC, and hopefully, they will tag you. UGC is a simple, fun, and creative way to engage with your customers and promote your business. If you are not already harnessing UGC, look at your content strategy and see where you can fit UGC in, you won’t regret it.

If your business is in need of assistance relating to your online presence then you need to act quickly and get in touch with your Digital Service Squad. This service is only available until March 31st. While there is not too much time left, we can still offer you some initial assistance and get you started on the right path. dss@brant.ca