How Brand Marketers Can Harness Social Media UGC

 

Have you ever been at a ballgame, and seen the “dance cam” pop up on the big screen?

People start busting out some crazy moves, all for the chance to show up on that screen.

This is a live version of the digital term “User Generated Content (UGC)”, meaning the production team at the stadium inspires the audience to generate content that they can use at the brand level. It gets the audience involved, and adds to the content “roster” that the stadium has to use.

It’s human nature to want to see yourself up there. It’s exciting. You’re a part of the action. A part of the show.

As marketers, this tactic can be easy to brush off. If I don’t have a stadium full of 20,000 fans, I’m probably not going to have a dance cam. But what I do have is social media. And the ability to inspire my fans to engage via social can be even more powerful.

Social Media is a Two-Way Channel

I spent six years on the analytics side of social media marketing, helping other marketers understand and improve the value of their social media programs.

Social media is an interesting beast. Most marketing programs are one-way channels. Ads, email marketing, websites, even content marketing like this blog post; it’s all about broadcasting your message to your audience.

Social works as a two-way communication channel, giving you the opportunity to both broadcast your message, and listen to your audience as they broadcast their own. This presents you, as a marketer, with a huge opportunity. Social can be your dance cam.

Discover, Engage, Display

By using social to discover relevant content, engage with the creator, and display that content, you’re able to do several things:

 

  1. Inspire evangelism: Just like the dance cam, when people have the opportunity to feel involved and get their content on the big screen, they’re more likely to take action.
  2. Increase impressions: Say your content generates 10,000 views per month. When you inspire your fans to post content because it’ll be displayed on one of your properties, not only are you getting the value of that content in front of 10,000 visitors, you’re getting the value of that fan’s entire social audience, and the audience of anyone who retweets, shares, or comments on their post; an audience who may not have engaged without the opportunity to be highlighted. There is exponential value in this type of reward.
  3. Harness the power of third party validation: According to Digital Intelligence Today, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know than they are from brands, and 70% are more likely to trust reviews from other consumers, even if they don’t know them. This gives you a new tool in your tool belt: the ability to harness third party validation to legitimize your brand.

Building Your Own Dance Cam

So without a jumbotron, how do you, as a brand marketer, leverage this UGC to achieve those three goals?

 

1. Display social posts on your website:

Call of Duty shares social posts of gameplay from their audience as a sidebar on their website, giving visitors a real-world (or digital-world?) look at the product they sell. This also serves as an immediate reminder to visitors that they can share their own posts and may show up here.

2. Add a display wall at your retail establishment:

With a 50-inch monitor, any brand can have their own mini jumbotron (is that an oxymoron?). By displaying the content folks post about your brand and their experience, you’re able to harness that third party validation (which consumers trust more than they trust you) at the exact point of sale. This could be what nudges them into that purchase. Or in the case above, it could just be that zip-lines are rad…Either way, you enhanced their experience and made them feel good about what they’re getting out of it.

3. Incorporate social into your next event:

If your brand hosts events, parties, or concerts, bring social into the mix. People love to share posts about all the fun they’re having. Leverage that fun by encouraging them to associate it with your branded hashtag.

4. Foster Community:

Whether it’s a social board within your office, meant to increase employee engagement and advocacy, or in a public place for your customers and partners, a social display helps people feel like they’re a part of something, and encourages them to share that with their network.

5. Add social content to your live stream:

Do you post a weekly Facebook Live, YouTube stream, or other live video? Filling time and finding supporting content for segments can be tricky, but social media can add a lot of value to any live stream by adding another voice into the mix.

UGC: Increase Impressions, Improve Brand Loyalty, Find New Customers

Whichever tactic you decide is right for your brand, focus on the desired outcome. What value are you trying to drive? Is it more eyeballs, more engagement from your customers, easing the path to sale, etc? Including your audience will help you achieve any of these goals.

To learn more about how Tagboard helps brands from every industry leverage UGC to fuel their marketing engines, visit Tagboard.com and request a demo if you think it’s right for you.