You’re probably already aware that authentic, user-generated content (UGC) is one of the most powerful online marketing tools for building your brand. (And if you’re not, check out our blog post all about why you need user-generated content.) Whether it’s a tagged photo shared on Instagram or an influencer partnership on TikTok, UGC is any kind of copy, video or image produced and shared by a customer rather than by a brand itself. UGC is an excellent tool that helps brands turn their customers into creators.
Here are some of the most popular types of UGC:
- “Unboxing” videos
- Social posts including a brand’s hashtag or handle
- Review videos
- Blog posts
- Sponsored/paid influencer campaigns
Here’s the issue: Traditional UGC is notoriously hit or miss in terms of quality, while influencer content can be pricey (and come off as inauthentic). That’s where StoryTap fits in, providing a user-friendly platform for guiding your customers and creating branded, focused user-generated video content.
Here are 5 tips to harness the power of your own online community and turn your customers into creators:
1. Establish what kind of content you need
The first crucial is figuring out what kind of content you want to help showcase your brand. If you’re a cosmetics brand, will you be collecting beauty tutorials and unboxing videos? If you’re a software company, would you aim to publish product demos, client testimonials, or a mix of both?
When considering content, know that video is by far the most powerful format in terms of awareness, engagement and conversions. Stats show that 72% of e-commerce customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. What’s more, video can dramatically improve your SEO ranking to help your brand be discovered online. Having enough video content helps your website stand out by making your way to the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Since Google purchased YouTube in 2006, videos hosted on that platform are given preferential treatment in terms of SERP ranking.
The issue with video content is that it’s notoriously time-consuming and expensive to create – not to mention the fact that high-production brand videos come off as inauthentic (consumers can tell the difference, trust us). StoryTap automates the production of video stories from consumers or employees – at scale, in any language, for any demographic – and can help save your business money while boosting your brand’s collection of authentic video content.
2. Find an easy and unique hashtag
A hashtag (a word following the # symbol on social media) is essential for collecting user-generated content on social media. It provides a way to aggregate all the shared content that’s related to your brand. Your hashtag should be:
- Short enough
- Easy to remember
- Reminiscent of your brand, ideally (could even include your brand name)
Be sure to do a quick search to make sure it’s not already being used in reference to something unrelated to your brand. Once you’ve established your hashtag, be sure to share it enough so that your audience knows it well.
3. Provide an incentive
Give your branded hashtag an initial boost and encourage your customers to share by providing an incentive. Here are a few options:
- Provide a discount code: If you’ve got the resources to do so, send a DM (direct message) with a discount code to every user who submits a picture using your company hashtag.
- Host a giveaway. Tally up all users who have shared content using your hashtag and randomly draw a name to award a prize. Pick a winner manually or with the help of a random draw contest software, which is helpful for larger audiences.
- Feature select UGC on your social account. If you’ve got a large following, simply featuring someone’s post with their handle could be incentive enough, since users will benefit from the exposure and likely gain precious new followers from having their post reshared by your business account.
With StoryTap, our team can suggest incentives for campaigns to encourage more customer videos.
4. Be polite and friendly when using UGC
Even if you’ve made it clear that you’re looking for UGC to reshare and provided a specific hashtag, it’s best to ask your customers for permission to repost their images or videos. Also, always give proper credit by tagging them. Also, if resources permit, it’s always a good idea to personally thank your customers for sharing their content (after all, it’s like free advertising for your brand). A friendly message is enough, and you can have one set thank-you message to keep things simple.
5. Use influencers strategically
Influencer campaigns gives a brand some control—but consumers are too familiar with these and now associate influencers with paid partnerships, giving campaigns very little believability. That being said, there’s still some benefit to working with influencers who are the right fit for your brand since they can:
- Raise awareness quickly and the exposure can help grow your audience.
- Provide content that’s aesthetically pleasing (since they’ve grown their following by being aspirational).
- Stick to branding guidelines. You’ll likely be able to “control” their content to some degree, whereas regular UGC is often too low-quality to reshare (think blurry pics, bad lighting or hidden branding).
Still, it’s best to balance out influencer content with genuine UGC to encourage consumer trust.
Turn Customers into Creators with StoryTap
Not sure how to collect and share UGC that’s still on-brand and engaging?
StoryTap is the patented video platform that enables you to easily create and share authentic experiences from real customers and employees at scale. Schedule a demo and we’ll show you how StoryTap can turbocharge your brand growth online.