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Hey yo, and welcome back to Salty Social Media Vocabulary, where we cover all things social media strategy, customer experience design, and everything around and in-between. Today we’re discussing why generated content is both an essential part of a sound social media strategy and smart customer experience design.

User Generated Content, or UGC, is when a brand asks users to, well, generate content. This takes place in the form of a content ask, in which brands may ask users to share videos, photos, art, or even just a text tweet or post. The content end of things can be as simple as RTing user content, or perhaps more complicated like producing a video mashup of user submitted content. UGC is effective because it simultaneously activates your fans and highlights their work. How your brand utilizes the content is ultimately up to you.

Why UGC Should be Part of Your Strategy

UGC is particularly popular amongst both brands and fans, perhaps because serves a few different functions: UGC engages users by making them the focal point of the content; UGC creates content for your social channels; UGC can be easily utilized as part of a promotion or giveaway. An example: “send us a selfie with your favorite Hawaiian shirt to be entered to win a trip to Hawaii.” Furthermore UGC can strengthen or build brand loyalty from fans through their very participation, as it gives them a sense of partnership in the content and therefore your brand. At the very least, every fan loves a shoutout or RT from their favorite brand.

How Should Your Brand Utilize UGC?

As outlined above, there are a number of ways in which you can create UGC. The biggest components are quite simple:

  1. Devise a campaign, including a start and end date for user submissions
  2. Activate users with a call to action/content ask
    1. Engage with users during the ask! Remember to like, comment, and RT as you see fit for your campaign. Simple engagements can feel like a participation trophy of sorts, which will help solidify your brand’s relationship with your fans.
    2. Don’t forget to continue listening! The resulting intel could help guide future UGC campaigns.
  3. End campaign
  4. Produce final assets/content if needed (for example, a video or photo mashup of submissions).
  5. Pull and analyze engagement data to learn what you can do better next time.

Perhaps most importantly, be creative!

Have you ever been on either side of a UGC campaign? If so, how did it go? Tell us all about your UGC experiences in the comments below. We’ll see you here again next time for another round of Salty Social Media Vocabulary. Thanks for learning with us!