By Sandy Sponaugle
Posted on October 8, 2014
Filed under: Blog, Communications, Social Media, Websites

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Need More Content? Just Ask Your Fans

What do we want? Content? When do we want it? Now!

Content (e.g., posts for blogs and social media, testimonials, website copy) is something businesses need more of, and they need it all the time. The problem is that content creation can take up a lot of resources—time, energy and money. Luckily, some smart marketers figured out there’s a better way to obtaining content, and it’s something your business can do with a little help from your fans.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any content, including photos, videos, blog posts, poll responses and comments, made by unpaid contributors. For example, when you tweet your favorite clothing brand a picture of yourself wearing the newest pair of their shoes, using their hashtag, you’ve just helped a large brand generate content. And it didn’t cost them a dime. That’s user-generated content.

How Do You Get It?

Getting your brand’s fans to contribute is almost as easy as just asking, but you have to give them a compelling reason and an incentive for sharing. The easiest and fastest channel through which to do that is social media.

So how do you ask your fans for content on social media? Try these tips:

  • Ask fans to upload photos or videos of themselves using your product or service.
  • Encourage them to use your brand’s hashtags.
  • Ask for stories, testimonials and comments.

Give Fans Something in Return

Contests, the chance to be featured on social media or in some other form of media and the promise of free swag also can be pretty convincing reasons for fans to share content. It could be as easy as posting something like “Hey, Morgan’s Grove Market fans, we want to see what you’re cooking with your market produce! Send us your best photos for a chance to be featured on the Morgan’s Grove Market Facebook page.”

Once you’ve done that, just sit back and wait for the content to start rolling in.

Take a Cue From Top Brands

Still wondering how user-generated content can help a brand? Look at what the top big brands are doing to inspire user-generated content. During Super Bowl XLVIII, for instance, Doritos asked its fans to create their own ad about the brand for the chance for it to be shown during the Super Bowl. The result: thousands of video submissions from all over the world and fans who feel like they are now a part of the brand.

Another example: the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America asks those who are getting a wish granted to take a video of their experience. The videos are then uploaded to YouTube. The result is some powerful marketing material that is heartfelt, genuine and completely user-generated.

Now that you know all about the benefits of user-generated content and how to get it, start asking your fans to contribute to your brand. Comment on our Facebook page or tweet us at @Platinum_PR and let us know what you’re doing to encourage user-generated content.

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