What is User-Generated Content and How Can It Benefit Your Business?

As you begin mapping out your content marketing strategy for 2017, you need to find opportunities to highlight and include user-generated content.

What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is created by actual users of your product or service and published on social media platforms. For example, if you snapped an image of your beautiful Starbucks chai tea latte and shared it on Facebook, you would be creating user-generated content for Starbucks.

As you can imagine, user-generated content is a powerful source of social proof that your brand is credible and worth checking out. According to a survey put together by Olapic, 76 percent of respondents feel that user-generated content is more trustworthy than content created by brands themselves. That statistic itself should get you motivated to include user-generated content in your content marketing strategy.

How can you encourage your fans to create user-generated content?
Most people are armed with a smartphone today and love any opportunity to snap an image of themselves in action. You can use this trend to your advantage to help you earn more user-generated content for your brand in 2017.

Here are 3 highly effective strategies for encouraging fans to create user-generated content:

1. Create a photo booth.
People love the cheese factor of a photo booth. If you’re hosting an event for your business, include a photo booth and encourage your guests to post their selfies to social media using your designated hashtag. This is a fun way to get people excited about your brand, and the user-generated content that’s created through this photo booth will help to raise awareness for your business.

2. Share user-generated content in real-time at events.
Big events such as seminars and music festivals have had a lot of success by sharing user-generated content in real time. Camera manufacturer GoPro used this strategy beautifully at the Bonnaroo Music Festival by asking Instagram users to share images of their favorite moments at the festival. GoPro then republished this content and chimed in with real-time feedback from the music festival. This allowed GoPro to capitalize on a trending topic that was relevant to its audience.

3. Create social campaigns to inspire user-generated content.
Ask your fans to share an image of themselves using your product on social media for a chance to win a gift certificate or something relevant to your business. To track your campaign, require that participants use a brand-specific hashtag in their social media posts. If implemented correctly, a social media campaign can provide you with a wealth of user-generated content. Asking your fans if you can share their content will make them feel rewarded and will encourage them to participate in future social campaigns.

Including user-generated content in your content marketing strategy not only helps to build trust with your audience, but also provides you with an opportunity to recognize your brand ambassadors and encourage other fans to share their content.

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