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.


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!


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.