User-generated content 101

I bet you hear "Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter" more times in one day than you can count, and if you're like me, you often start your day off by checking them. These sites have become crucial parts of how we function as people, and more importantly-as consumers. 

When it comes to making a decision on which brand to go with or what product to buy, 9 out of 10 times we go with the one that has more social media reviews and more pictures, more user-generated content. Which makes sense! It's easier to trust someone we perceive as being similar to us than it is to trust a brand trying to sell us something. 

That being said, how do we reach out and inspire our consumers to interact with us?

The answer is simple: genuinely care about them. Instead of shoving high quality images and sales tweets at your clients, interact with them! Make it fun, and make it meaningful. 

1. Check out who's engaging with you!
Start by seeing who's already posting about your brand or location. Check out the hashtags, geotags, and reviews.

2. Analyze and find trends

Once you see who your audience is you'll start noticing what unites them. Think about the following

  1. Who is sharing? Are they moms, teens, pet lovers, foodies?
  2. What are they sharing? Is there something in particular they are all posting about?                                
  3. Where are they sharing? Is it in store? At home? With friends?
  4. When are they sharing? During the holidays? While a promotion is going?  
  5. How are they sharing? Is one social media site more active than another? Are they tagging your pages or your location?

3. Create a plan of action

  • If you find already have a good chunk of people championing your location or product then you probably have a clear idea of who your consumer is. Tap into what is most commonly posted about or brought up and create a campaign around it. 

 

  • If you have little to no social media interaction it's time to develop a campaign and monitor it. I recommend a strong hashtag campaign tied in with a promotion. 

If you're opting to go with a hashtag campaign, remember the key here is to care about your consumer and how they interact with you. This is not the time to focus on your brand or brag about how great your products are. Make your hashtag campaign about your consumer, and how you fit into THEIR life. 

4. Promote your campaign

Post signage in-store, host an event, or hold a contest! Share user photos on your website and provide incentives to encourage users to interact with your campaign. 

5. Learn from your data

 Last but not least- it's okay if a campaign fails.  Take the opportunity to learn from your analytics. If a campaign is a complete flop, take a minute to sit back and assess why and learn from it. Don't just jump back into doing the same exact thing. Experiment with your approach. You may find that all of your data points to doing something you'd never think of doing.