How to use content created by your customers.

User-generated content has become all the rage in online campaigns and has become a legitimately useful part of many marketing strategist’s plans.

There are certainly right ways and wrong ways to ‘do’ user-generated content (UGC), so before you get started, read on to find out just what it is, what you shouldn’t do, and what you should.  

What is user-generated content?

As the name suggests, it’s all about content that has been created by the user/customer.

A quick content definition: Content can be anything from photos and videos to blogs and Tweets. When it comes to content, anything goes, so it truly can be whatever your fans share online.

And by user, this means someone who is not specifically paid to create this content. Think of them as your fans, or simply your current and potential future clients.

Naturally, a random Tweet or photo may not be the best piece of content to use to promote your brand, so user generated content tends to refer to things that can be used to help you market your business in some way. For example, it could be a photo with one of your products and a hashtag of your company name, or a blog that mentions your services. 

You don’t necessarily need to re-share this content yourself, as it can stand alone and simply be seen by a user’s friends and family, working as its own form of influencer marketing.   

RELATED: eBook: How to create standout online content for your business.

How you should be using user-generated content.

Some user-generated content will happen naturally, but it’s less common, and it is often difficult to find. Instead of hoping it will occur magically, do create a campaign or two to drum up UGC. You might ask users to share an image and add a specific hashtag, or Tweet to your brand with a great idea, and offer the best ones a reward.

Do give credit if you share the user’s social media content. It will make them feel great to see you appreciated their content, it will make you look good in front of your followers, and it will avoid potential legal issues.

Dedicate some time every few days to searching for UGC across major social media platforms. When you find some, do respond to it from your brand account – it could be a quick comment saying thanks, or a longer thoughtful reply depending on the situation.

RELATED: Content ideas for every industry.

How NOT to work with user-generated content.

If someone shares a great piece of content on social media and you want to re-gram/retweet/re-share/re-anything it, do not hit that button until you have gained their permission in writing. It does slow the process down slightly, but it avoids any potential legal issues. As an exception to this rule, should you run a campaign where you expressly state that content may be shared, this should already count for consent.  

Don’t invest 100 per cent in crowdsourcing your content. While it’s a fantastic resource that adds a different, authentic viewpoint, your audiences still want to hear from your brand as well.

Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Get in touch with the experts at Yellow Pages.

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