Continue Your Brand Story With User-Generated Content

Khalipha Ntloko
6 September 2019

So you’ve taken the time to establish a compelling brand story. You’ve branded your content in such a way that you know how to leverage storytelling in your marketing strategy. But that is only one piece of the marketing pie; the other is inviting your audience to help you continue telling your brand story. Authentic collaboration, using user-generated content, has proven to be an effective marketing strategy in today’s age where authenticity truly matters.

As consumers want more of the brand experience instead of just the material experience, it’s becoming more important for brands to not only serve promotional content on the table but to also include user-generated content on the menu. But what flavour can user-generated content add to your already established brand story? Let’s explore more in this blog post.  

words on a wall that say 'we like you too'

Why Reposting Is Rewarding For Brands

Now that consumers want more authentic content, brands need to acknowledge this desire and adapt to it. Your marketing strategies can change with the trends and times, but user-generated content remains consistent because of its unchanging authentic nature – something that brands can find rewarding. 

75% of people are likely to share a good brand interaction on their own social profiles. These types of interactions can act as positive, digital word-of-mouth advertising. This is why it’s important for brands to incorporate user-generated content in their marketing strategies. But how could this be rewarding for your brand? 

  • It Builds Brand Trust

90% of consumers say that authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands to like and support. The authenticity that comes from user-generated content helps take this support to having consumers trust you. As a brand, you want to be endorsed, and the more consumers you have that generate content around your brand, the more trust you gain from the people who are organically giving you credibility. 

  • It Builds Brand Awareness

56% of consumers say that the type of content they want to see the most from brands is user-generated photos and videos. Use this to your advantage to build brand awareness. A popular way to do this is through the use of hashtags. The BMW Instagram account has the #BMWrepost hashtag for followers to use as a way to be featured on their page. This ranges between video and photo content, but click on the hashtag and not only does this provide a way for new consumers to discover BMW but you’ll find over 1.3 million people creating brand awareness around BMW. 

Screenshot of the BMW Instagram page

  • It Builds Brand Engagement

Consumers like to have a personal connection with the brands they interact with. 71% of millennials engage with user-generated content on a daily basis, so take the time to see this as an opportunity to build brand engagement. People trust and engage with one another more often than with brands, but if your brand can show engagement through resharing user-generated content, consumers will, in turn, engage with you.

samsung mobile phone screen showing the snapchat, instagram, whatsapp and youtube icons

Choosing The Right Social Channel

Instagram may be a quick way to share user-generated content, but each social channel has a different set of consumers to reach in different ways. Remember to ask yourself what your goal is of using user-generated content, who is your target audience and how will each social platform help you continue to share your brand story? 

70% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after a positive experience with a brand, so it’s important for brands to ensure that this experience is felt across the right social channels. With Instagram user-generated content seeing 50% more engagement than branded content, it’s easy to see why Instagram is the king of user-generated content. With content being created daily on Instagram, this gives your brand constant content to repost and regram so don’t be afraid to include user-generated content in your content calendars to share at various times of the week or month.

With LinkedIn being more of a professional networking platform, you don’t always have to share job postings. Like Microsoft, consider sharing user-generated content around your company culture, employee achievements or company news. Share the faces behind your company as a way to connect with your audience on an emotional level.

microsoft linkedin page sharing the people at the microsoft company

When it comes to Twitter, you’re not restricted by using just words and 280 characters. With the ability to add images and videos to tweets, use the power of the ‘retweet’ button to share the content that your followers generate around your brand. Tweets with images get 35% more engagement, so incorporate user-generated photos for a more visual impact. But make sure you always credit the original creator of the image or video that you use.

how to master youtube for business

Create Collaboration In Your Community

People love to feel part of a community, especially online. When brands create an opportunity for collaboration, it strengthens their online community and commitment to the brand through brand loyalty. Remember that user-generated content comes from some of your biggest fans. They’ve interacted with your brand in a meaningful way. Use these opportunities to inspire more collaboration through user-generated content.

This becomes a win-win situation where brands get free, credible content while consumers get to engage with brands in a fun way. An added benefit of user-generated content is its ability to also generate conversation. Your brand is more than just what we see on our screens. It’s a persona brought to life by the community you connect and collaborate with. 

As mentioned before, one of the best ways to create collaboration within your online community is through using a unique hashtag. This gives your audience a way to submit their content easily and create online conversations that can spread the word about your brand. Use hashtags specific to your brand, like community hashtags, to build customer loyalty, drive advocacy and create awareness around the competitions and initiatives that your brand is driving. Remember to be specific in the content that you are looking for, and the steps needed for your audience to take to get involved in your community.

volvo instagram page sharing new #selfieforsafety initiative

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do ask for permission first. At the end of the day, this isn’t your content. It’s best to ask permission from the original creator
  • Don’t forget to credit the original creator when you repost their content
  • Do create a unique, branded hashtag to help your online community participate in the fun, and to help you find your users’ content
  • Don’t be vague about the content you’re looking for. Rather be specific and say that you’re looking for specific ‘outfit of the day’ posts or ‘a day in my life’ post.

User-generated content can be a great way to continue telling your brand story through the eyes of the very people you tell your story to. If you would like to use Meltwater’s Media Monitoring Tool to help track and measure your user-generated content efforts, request a free demo today!