lifestyle PR + digital media

Sprocket's thoughts on encouraging user-generated content

May 3, 2019

It’s something most of us have done: we’ve tagged our favorite brands in Insta photos that in the hopes that we’ll get a regram from the brand page.

Regular social media users aren’t always aware that tagging photos that feature a brand’s product doesn’t only boost our own social media cred; it also makes life easier for the brand’s social media managers by supplying free content.

Brand managers: if you’re relying on your audience to provide some of the content for your brand’s social media channels, you’ll probably find value in a robust influencer campaign. And encouraging regular followers to document their own experiences with your brand on their social channels is a big plus, too.

Let’s start with the influencer campaign. One important piece of developing an influencer campaign is being clear on the content terms. If you’re looking to get images for use on your social channels, ask for it up front. Building your expectations into an influencer partnership lets you account for those 2 pieces in your monthly SMCC.

Consider adding product reviews into your influencer contract, too. Video reviews are especially helpful, since video content continues to dominate the internet. (According to Cisco, 80%+ of the internet will be video content by 2021. Which is only two years away. WUT.) So encouraging influencers who try and want to review your product to do so via video is great for your channels.

You have a bit of leverage with influencer relationships. But how do you encourage regular ole social media followers to post pictures with your product?

For one thing, make it as easy as possible for consumers to find you on social media. Include your handle and relevant hashtags on event collateral and on product packaging.

Hosting a public event and prominently displaying key hashtags or social handles can garner a lot of UGC, too. Sprocket recently opened Free Market, and as part of the opening festivities, Free Market hosted a panel with the founders of FM’s brand partners. The event was RSVP-only, but invites were extended to several women’s networks, as well as the networks of those brands and the larger Dairy Block network. Developing a highly Instagrammable moment—whether it’s a panel or an installation that encourages people to take photos—often leads to fan posting.

Depending on what your product is, sometimes it’s possible to run social media contests in which you’re asking fans to submit photos or Instagram stories featuring or related to your product. But be aware that unless you’re giving away something fairly big (a shopping spree, a trip, or a product worth a few hundred dollars), or unless you already have a large following on social media, it can be a challenge to get followers to post a photo about your brand onto their feed. This tends to work far better for brands with a following or a higher-price point item.

How do you recommend garnering user-generated content to use on your brand’s social media channels?