Have you searched for your name on a Coke can yet? Well this is a genius form of user-generated content. UGC is a secret weapon for businesses – especially for those on social media. We all know that Coca-Cola is not the healthiest thing in the world and with our generation on a health kick, the Coca-Cola marketing team came up with an amazing campaign, “Share a Coke with ____”. Not only does Coca-Cola use personalized names and general terms such as "bestie" or "better half," but features these images on their Instagram that people have taken, which is one technique people and businesses use UGC.
User-generated content can range from your #OOTD from Nordstrom, to the West Elm goods in your home, to any pictures you take and share at an event or location. This is good for businesses because when people tag, share, post or tweet about you, it increases your reach! One way to return the favor and show your appreciation is to repost things from your audience. To start, you should have a unique #hashtag to your business or have people tag you in their picture (that way you'll be notified about their post or experience). Then take that tweet, post, picture, video or whatever it may be and regram, retweet, or share it with your audience. An unwritten but important rule is that some people may like you to ask first before posting, so be courteous and keep that in mind. However, majority of the time as long as you give them credit, they'll be happy you shared their content! But the rule of thumb and important principle of all social media is to always, always, always give credit to those you take or borrow from. Don’t be a user abuser!
There are different levels of using user-generated content. In fact, there are certain accounts that only use user-generated content. Business or not, this kind of UGC allows a community of like-minded people to share similar content and get inspiration from one another. There are a variety of pages dedicated to all sorts of things, @yellowconference (#bloomyellow), @sidewalkerdaily (#sidewalkerdaily), @dametraveler (#dametraveler). Dame traveler also does #dttakeover, which is when a person takes over their Instagram and literally posts pictures they take for them (read how to host an effective Instagram takeover here). Talk about another level of UGC!
But the most common form of user-generated content is when it is used in moderation. This means that a company or an account will post original photos and their favorite UGC. Examples of this would be, @westelm (#mywestelm), @cocacola #shareacoke, @thesaguarops (#thesaguaro). West Elm showcase how their products are being used and styled; Coca-Cola shares with everyone how much fun people are having with their new can campaign; and The Saguaro share all the pictures they couldn’t take, but that their audience could!
For all you busy bees and social butterflies, we know how it is to be on-the-go all the time, which is why UGC is for you! Since you're posting your audience's content instead of your own, it saves you time that you would of spent and gives you inspiration to keep the buzz going! All at once you increase interaction, show appreciation and make less work for yourself. It’s fun for everyone involved, so why not now give it a try?