How user-generated content can boost your social strategy

If you’re running a social media account for your business, there’s a good chance you’re also looking to grow it! While there are lots of different ways to do this, like increasing engagement and posting stories, today, we love user-generated content as a strategy that helps improve your social media, but also lightens your workload!


What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is the term used to refer to social media posts that are created by the actual customers of a business. Have you ever taken a picture of your meal and posted it to social media with the restaurants' hashtag? That’s a perfect example of you creating user-generated content for the restaurant.


Why Does It Help?

This type of content is fabulous because it’s like word-of-mouth marketing from people’s direct contacts. As humans, we often look to our own networks to understand what’s “in” and what we are likely to like. If your best friend loves a cafe, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll love it too, right? That’s why user-generated content helps build your brand reputation, as well as promote to more networks. 


As an added bonus, after you’ve taken the initial steps to encourage user-generated content, it really reduces the amount of work and money that goes into building a social media strategy. Essentially, you have people who are creating content FOR you, for free! You don’t have to take the photos, you don’t have to think of the caption, and you don’t have to pay to promote the post!

While you shouldn’t rely exclusively on user-generated content, it’s a great addition to make the most of your social accounts. 


How Can You Encourage user-generated content?


Create a hashtag for your company or product

It’s important to come up with a hashtag that people associate with your brand and can easily add to their posts! Put it in your bio and let people know that they can use it to be featured on your page. Here are some hashtags you may recognize:  #CaptureCalgary , #ShareACoke , #MyCalvins

You can also use the hashtag in your search bar to find and reshare the content after!


Use your hashtag on your marketing materials and products

Where can you put a prompt for people to use your hashtag? If you’re a restaurant owner, consider adding it to your menu. If you own a clothing store, you could put it on change room mirrors. If you have a little boutique shop, add a line to the end of your receipt that includes your hashtag.


Share Users Posts

When someone uses the hashtag you’ve created, share it in your story! You could also ask for their permission to repost it on your feed. This is a great opportunity to remind people that they can use your hashtag.


Host a Giveaway

If you really want to get people to create user-generated content, think about hosting a giveaway. As a condition to enter, you can ask them to share a photo of them using your product or service, and tell them to include your hashtag. You can find more tips on running a successful giveaway here!


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Michelle Pijanowski

Michelle Pijanowski, better known as PJ, is our go-to girl for all things social. Don’t let her love of gourmet ice cream and appreciation of craft beer fool you! She isn’t your average millennial whose experience starts and ends with an Insta account. A traveller at heart, PJ has always been excited by storytelling and connecting with people from all walks of life. Her passion for content creation started when she accidentally landed an internship in marketing that ended up leading her into the worlds of social media and journalism. Despite not even having a personal Instagram at the time, she immediately fell in love with helping brands grow a community through the power of the internet. She’s worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, from hotels to restaurants to startups. After years of learning the ins and outs of different social networks and completing her degree in Communication and Media, PJ is stoked to help brands build a human connection with a virtual audience.

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