What is User-Generated Content?
According to Offerpop, User-Generated Content (UGC) is any form of content created by unpaid contributors. It can come in many forms such as pictures, videos, tweets, pins, reviews, testimonials, posts, etc. and it is often created and shared via social media networks.
Why is it Important?
- It’s cost-effective. Professional photographers need not apply! All you need is a marketing/social media staffer to run your program and a small budget to help promote your initiatives.
- It’s trusted. Recommendations from friends and family remain the most trusted form of information above all types of brand messaging offline or online, but strangers come in next. A Stackla poll found that 92% of consumers highly trust user-generated media, such as recommendations and reviews, when booking travel. Additionally, advances in smartphones and high-speed internet have given consumers the ability to easily create and share this type of ‘trusted’ content.
Savvy marketers are now leveraging user-generated content to improve customer engagement and ultimately drive increased revenue. The travel industry which generates an estimated 10% of the world’s GDP, has arguably more to gain from UGC than any other industry. We all know that sharing content online is a key part of the travel experience nowadays, but it is also a top travel research tool. Reviews on social media sites extend consumer engagement and give insider knowledge not available anywhere else.
Sourcing user-generated content for your marketing efforts not only paints a far more authentic picture of your experience, but you can also get an insight into the key moments of your customer experience which can be highlighted in your marketing efforts.
How to boost user-generated content
- Make it easy for customers to review your company. Send follow-up emails to drive customers towards review sites like TripAdvisor. Display review site badges prominently on your website. Consider offering an incentive for reviewing your company such as an entry into a prize draw.
- Create Hashtags and use them liberally. Tag every Instagram update, feature them prominently on all media – online and offline and invite your customers to use them. Learn what the most popular hashtags are in your tourism destination and include them in your posts to increase their reach.
- Run an Instagram contest. Give your customers an incentive to post their photos and videos on your site or social media pages by running a contest awarding prizes for the best content. You’ll practically guarantee getting a ton of great new content.
How to use user-generated content
- Create a UGC gallery on your site. Showcase the best customer photos in a separate gallery and update it regularly. This shows your customers that you recognize and appreciate what they share, driving loyalty and engagement among future customers.
- Share Routinely. Post the winners and runner-up images from your Instagram contest. Use guest photos to enrich your Instagram content and post regularly. Ensure you always thank and give credit to the content producer when you share their content.
- Cross-Promote. Post content across all of your social platforms to greatly expand your reach. This includes Facebook ads, banner ads and even print material.
- Post about local events and happenings. Insert your brand into the buzz around an event by posting relevant content and including your hashtag(s) as well as the event hashtags.