Content Marketing

How to Get More User-Generated Content for Social Media

Smartphones have made amateur photography and videography higher quality and more popular than ever before. Luckily for marketers, that means that your clients, fans, and guests are more likely to share photos of your brand online. These photos and videos can capture authentic moments, tell unique stories about your brand, and provide social validation of your product or experience.

How do you capture this user-generated content to use on your own channels? How do you find it in the first place? Here are some tips for successfully finding and using user-generated content (UGC) on your own social channels:  

Use monitoring software to catch your ALL OF YOUR brand mentions

Not everyone will search out your brand’s username before mentioning it in a post or check to see what your preferred hashtag is. Others might tag you in the location of their post and not in the text itself.

A good social listening tool helps you catch ALL these mentions so you can reach out and ask users for their permission to share. Some tools will even automate the asking process for you. At Thin Pig, we use Sprout Social and a host of other tools to monitor and post on all of your social platforms. Sprout Social also has some great advice for which user-generated content works on each social network.

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Make it easy to share on your website

Accepting photo submissions on your website allows you to make it easy for those who want to share their photos. It is also easy for you to share the Terms of Use. Though it may seem counter intuitive, some folks may not share their photos on social media, but they’re perfectly happy to share them with you.

You can offer incentives, like a prize every month for the best photo or even for a randomly drawn submission. There are a number of tools out there that make the photo submission process easy, from simple web forms to fully-functional contest platforms.

Always ask and be clear on usage

It’s always better to ask permission to share even if someone messages you their photo or uses your hashtag. Most of the time, people are happy to share their photos, and personally asking them to share can increase their engagement with your brand. A direct message or comment on an image are good ways to ask.

Some brands may wish to link to a terms of use that users can agree to. Remember, getting permission to share on a social channel does not give you permission to use that image or video elsewhere. Be clear with users if you’d like to use the image anywhere else, and get their permission to do so. And remember to provide photo credit to the photographer!

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Share more frequently and engage with user content

Though sharing UGC can take more time and effort than simply posting another of your owned photos, it has the potential to increase engagement AND the frequency of your brand mentions.

When you show fans that you are likely to share posts by fans of your brand, they’ll be more likely to mention or tag you. Even if a user’s post isn’t high enough quality or quite what you’re looking for in a share, be sure to engage with it by liking and commenting to encourage future posting.

Need help with social media management and  content? Get in touch here or call us at (425) 223-5919.

How to Get More Posts for Your Company Blog

It can be difficult to get writers excited about contributing to your company blog, even if they have great stories or knowledge. Writing compelling and fresh content each week can be a huge challenge for many marketers.

Luckily, it is possible to get valuable, interesting, and fresh content each week, even in a small company! Here are a few tips that will help you get more authors for your blog and more posts published:  

Ask for Contributors!

Sometimes it can be surprising how many people actually DO want to write for your company -- but no one ever asked them! Make sure you’re widening the field of your contributions outside of just your marketing and sales departments. You’ll be surprised how many great writers there are out there.

Make a List of Desired Blog Topics to Inspire Writers

A lot of the writer’s block contributors suffer from stems from not knowing where to begin. Kickstart this process with a list of compelling questions, prompts, and post ideas that help them get started or inspire new content ideas.

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Make Blog Writing a Contest

Give away a gift card or other prize to the person with the most popular post each month. Be clear how this will be measured (social likes or page traffic?) or just draw randomly each month from your contributor pool.

Crowdsource Blog Posts

Sometimes writing a whole post is too much to ask, but your office mates are still happy to contribute creative ideas to fuel your writing. Come up with a blog topic -- for example “10 ways to increase engagement on Instagram” -- then send around an email to the team with the most knowledge on the topic. Ask what each person’s favorite strategy or idea is (make sure to keep questions short!). Pretty soon you’ll have lots of ideas from the people who know best. This is also a great tool when you’re trying to write on a subject that you’re not as familiar with, but that many at your organization are pros at.

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Interview Your Busiest Blog Personalities

Everyone has a few people they’d love to write for their blog (wouldn’t it be great to have a post from your executive chef or CTO?). But some people are simply too busy to write posts themselves. This is where an interview format can be helpful. The final post can be structured as an interview or you can write a post as that person. Just make sure they’re ok with you ghostwriting for them and always get the final post approved!

Need more blog strategy? Get in touch here or call us at (425) 223-5919.

How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

Crush That Writer’s Block

As we now have a couple of weeks of the new year under our belt, we wanted to take a look back at one of our most popular blogs posts from 2017.  Sarah talks about how to deal with Writer's Block; perfect to start your year off strong!

At some point, it happens to all of us. You sit down to write, but the words just aren’t there. It happens because writers aren’t machines - even machines need an oil change and tune up once in a while. When you have a million items on your to-do list, creative time can easily fall by the wayside. It’s one of the most important aspects of a social media manager’s job.  Anyone with a deadline for journalistic or other forms of writing has likely experienced writer’s block.

Here are some handy tips and tricks to help you stay focused and keep creating awesome content daily.

1.     Write at different times. If you usually write in the afternoon, try writing in the morning or evening. The change in time may be enough to create a fresh outlook. For me, evenings are great for getting some uninterrupted work done. Tasks from the day are behind me and I can focus on jotting down content ideas, catching up on some reading or to research new trends. For the early-bird, the hours before starting your work day might be most productive. Break your habit and experiment to see what works best for you.

2.     Change of scenery. Moving around in your office can get you out of a stale mindset and allow you to gain a fresh perspective in new surroundings. Try changing up locations twice a day. When the weather cooperates, try bringing your computer or notebook outdoors. Fresh air has a way of changing your mood and outlook, which is good news for your next project!

3.     Try something different. Sometimes it’s possible to be too familiar with a topic. Agency life can mean working in the same industry, with the same clients for years. After awhile, it becomes easy to get stuck in a rut. Try looking at your topic from a different perspective and research new ideas or trends to keep it fresh and interesting to read AND write.

4.     Take a break. Short breaks are a great way to stay motivated. As research has shown, we’re actually more productive when we break up our work routine throughout the day. Barring an immediate deadline, there is usually some time to step away from your assignment and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

5.     Crank up the tunes. Sometimes office chatter can be too much to bear. Music can provide some much-needed relief to those little conversations and “quick” meetings that can easily break your focus and concentration. If you find you have difficulty listening to music as you write, try queuing up a playlist that doesn’t have lyrics.

6.     Do the dishes. Your brain needs to relax before coming up with creative insight. Staring at your computer screen might end up being counterproductive. Try stimulating those creative muscles with routine tasks. Tidy your work space. Fold the laundry. Wash the dishes. Above all, relax.

7.     Talk it out. In order to beat your writer's block, try seeking inspiration from others around you. Bounce your ideas off friends and colleagues, or ask someone to brainstorm with you. Just having someone to talk to can often lead to creating ideas you never thought possible, helping ending your writer's block-induced creative drought.

There’s no doubt about it - writing is hard work. Don’t become a tortured genius. Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be. Just have with it fun!

True Life: I am a Social Media Manager

It's that time of the year when everyone is on vacation, so we decided to give our blog writers a much deserved time off and repost one of our top performing blogs of the year. We hope you'll enjoy it, and have a great rest of the summer!

For whatever reason, it seems as if the most commonly asked question when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” I usually respond, “Well, I am a Social Media Manager (SMM).” This is usually followed by the person responding with, “Oh! You get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Sound the record scratch! While this is partly true, marketers and numerous brands/companies know that this is just scratching the surface. While social media is an ever-evolving industry, it is obviously so much more than just “posting to Facebook and Twitter.” In any given day, I wear many different hats.

In a typical day, I converse with clients and coworkers, create engaging and valuable content, analyze analytics of ad campaigns and content, research and plan future posts and campaigns, and monitor the different networks for engagement and mentions on behalf of my clients.

I recognize that the social media world is confusing for business owners to navigate when they have been focused on their trade for much of their career. Social media for businesses came quick and has turned into a whirlwind of an industry. The thing that some business owners may not understand is that being an SMM is a real, full time position that goes far beyond posting current specials and commenting when someone likes their status.

Creating and analyzing ad campaigns are two of the largest responsibilities for a SMM in more ways than one. Building campaigns properly to get traffic, engagement, and to hit goals, is crucial. My clients have entrusted me with their money and expect that I will use my industry knowledge to gain them results. Once the ad is created, I’m not on coast-mode. I optimize throughout the month to make sure it’s delivering, and if it is not, I tweak it.

I review this information and create content with the goal of resonating with the type of people that are responding to the different posts and ads. My clients provide me with photos and specials they have going on to align with their advertising goals. I also keep an eye on local events that may attract people to the area because my clients are in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not focusing on ads or creating content, I’m monitoring the different social profiles that I manage. I engage with the followers and answer any questions that get directed to the brands. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. It is exciting to see when my content has been a success and the positive feedback that my clients receive. It is also beneficial for me to see when content doesn’t generate any form of engagement. This lets me know I need to try something else in the future.

All in all, I am in a field that is constantly evolving and requires a lot of detail, research, and thought. I consider myself to be a part of the small percentage of people who are paid to do something they are truly passionate about. Like everything else, it is not always rainbows and lollipops. There is responsibility and even liability of speaking on behalf of a brand. I look forward to this challenge, amount of responsibility, and sense of purpose I am embarking on as a newly hired Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media.

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