Social Media

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.

What is Retargeting and How Can You Use It?

Chances are you’ve seen a retargeting ad, even if you’re not aware of how they work. That pair of shoes or new appliance that follow you around the internet, displaying in ads on the sidebar of your favorite websites, in your news feed on Facebook, and even on YouTube. Maybe you’ve even clicked on one to pick up your shopping experience right where you left off.

After all, many people don’t make a purchase the first time they visit a website. If you’re like me, you like to do your research and see what’s out there before making a reservation or buying something new. At this stage, you’re looking at different options.

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As a marketer, consumers at this stage of consideration can be especially valuable. But chances are they’re looking at your competitors sites as well. How can you bring them back to your site and move them further down the purchase funnel?

While there are lots of strategies to bring browsers back to your site, a good retargeting campaign can help. Retargeting ads are shown to people who have previously visited your website. With the proper conversion tracking in place, you can even target only those who haven’t made a purchase or subscribed to your email list.

These days just about every advertising platform from Google to Facebook to Pinterest has a retargeting (or “remarketing”) option. To begin, you’ll need to install a tag or pixel on your website from whatever platform (or platforms!) you’re using. Once you have your tracking set up, here are a few campaign strategies you can use to bring visitors back to your site:

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Add value

Use offers to attract viewers attention. Everyone loves a deal. If promotions are a part of your marketing strategy, make sure to include them in your retargeting ads. This could be how you differentiate yourself from competitors in a customer’s mind.  

Be helpful

Make it easy for visitors to see products or services related to what they originally looked at on your site. They might find just what they were looking for!

Customize

Change what ads different visitors see depending on what stage they are in their purchase journey. Browsing your homepage is very different from spending a lot of time on product pages or adding things to your cart. You can customize your retargeting to show different ads to users at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Be dynamic

If you have a product catalog, platforms like Google and Facebook will allow you to show users products they have viewed before. Use these features to highlight exactly what your visitors are looking for!

Optimize for conversions

Remarketing campaigns are great because they typically have enough conversions for us to set up for conversion optimization. This allows us to tell Google or Facebook to show our ads more often to people, who are more likely to click through and make a purchase or reservation.

Bring people back

Retargeting doesn’t have to be just for people who haven’t made a purchase. You can use a longer retargeting window to bring past customers back to your brand.

Want to talk remarketing strategy? Get in touch here or call us at (425) 223-5919.

Tips for Successful Hotel Review Management Responses

As an agency managing the online presence for many hotels, we know that social media networks aren’t the only places where businesses can shine online. In fact, hotels are fortunate enough to have additional sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, hotels.com, etc., where potential guests can read what others say about the property and gauge whether or not it’s the right hotel for them. Hotels can certainly benefit from being active members on review sites by responding to guest reviews.

Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer, TripAdvisor says, "There is no denying that reviews are a powerful and a significant part of the travel planning experience...not only are travelers referencing reviews before they book, they are clearly more highly engaged by businesses that respond to reviews.” In fact, according to PhoCusWright, 77% of global respondents usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before selecting a hotel.

While many hotels understand the importance of responding to guest reviews, many do not understand exactly how to respond. Many times, they get nervous that their responses may actually work against them and push potential guests away, or that it's not worth the amount of time it takes. What we have found is that guests want to see management responses. They want to know that the hotel cares enough to read reviews and respond. And with the following recommendations, your hotel will be on the path to review management success!

  • Be genuine yet professional, while still maintaining the tone of your property. Responses should not sound like copy and pasted scripts. Instead, really take the time to read and understand from where each guest is coming.
  • Stick to the facts. Don’t get too emotional, and when responding to a negative review, don’t get aggressive or angry. Try to stick to the fact of the matter while still being constructive and getting to the bottom of the guest’s dissatisfaction. 
  • Respond in a timely manner. Depending on the number of reviews your hotel receives, daily or weekly response times will be appropriate.
  • Treat each review as a learning opportunity. In most cases, the past guest is giving their honest feedback regarding their stay. Learn from their experience. If you see the same complaint frequently, do something about it on-site. The more improvements you make based on the reviews you receive, the less you’ll see these constructive/negative reviews.
  • There is no need to respond to every review. In fact, a recent Cornell University study found that "responding to some reviews may be beneficial, but perhaps that impact decreases as hotels start to respond to all reviews.” A good rule-of-thumb is to respond to all 1, 2, and 3 star reviews, and 50-75% of 4 and 5 star reviews.

Remember when you respond, you’re not just responding to the guest who wrote the review. Anyone who is looking at your hotel reviews will likely scan the review and your response. These stats from PhoCusWright were especially informative when remembering this recommendation:  

  • 87% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review "improves my impression of the hotel.”        

  • 70% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review "makes me less likely to book that hotel" 

  • 62% of users agree that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally "makes me more likely to book it" (versus a comparable hotel that didn't respond to travelers.)

Lastly, if you are responding, and plan to take action, be sure you thank the reviewer and let him/her know that you will be investigating, or taking some action based on their review. Not only will this be a positive mark for the guest to read, but also other readers.

 If you are looking to partner with an agency and have experts manage your review management, don’t hesitate to contact us