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Best Practices for UGC in Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

Best practices for using user-generated content (UGC) in your social media marketing plans can often be overlooked by businesses and brands alike. The notion of it being online and easy to copy and save is just the digital world we live in. However, if you want to use UGC in your social media marketing (or any marketing effort for that matter) it is important you do it right.

Like all digital marketing efforts, there are best practices associated with using UGC. Here are the UGC best practices LHM Strategic finds most important when putting together social media content for our clients.

5 Best Practices for brands sharing User-Generated Content

One: Always ask permission – Never, share someone else’s content without asking. You would think this is obvious, but I hear time and time again from consumers and influencers whose content was shared or used without their permission. This is a UGC no, no! Just because they tagged your brand and shared it publicly does not mean it is okay to use it without permission. Not only that but asking opens the doors to building a relationship with a consumer who can help activate positive eWOM for your brand or company.

Two: Tag them 100% of the time – Share the love. If they said yes to using their content and did not ask for compensation, show them your appreciation. Most bloggers and content creators are constantly growing their following, and they value shares and tags almost as much as they do cash compensation. Make sure to tag them as the creator of the content in your post. That also motivates them to re-share the post and get you additional free exposure, creating a win-win.

Using user- generated content in your social media marketing strategy

Three: Do not edit or alter UGC – I dislike having to even say this BUT if you are using someone else’s content do not alter or edit their media. This is their creation not yours. It is poor etiquette to edit UGC. Altering or editing their UCG tells them it was not good enough as is. This could create hard feelings and result in bad eWOM for your brand.

Four: Pay them! – Yes, one of the benefits of using UGC is that the content was created at no cost to the brand. However, if you plan on using someone else’s content in a paid ad or digital marketing campaign, you need to pay them for the use of their media. Not only is it illegal, but it also is poor form to just swipe content for use in an ad campaign and not tell the creator, let alone not pay them. I see Influencers and bloggers post about this all the time. This not only creates legal problems but it sets a negative tone for your brand. When the creator finds out they will use their digital share of voice to let everyone know what you did, putting your brand on the bad end of eWOM. Better to reach out first and see if they are interested in a paid collaboration.

Five: Show them your appreciation – Make sure to like and comment on all UGC your brand is a part of. If the customer went out of the way to include your product, service, or brand in their post the least you can do is let them know you saw the content and appreciate them for sharing their brand experience.

User-generated content is a powerful marketing tool for any brand or organization. Following UGC best practices and empowering your customers and stakeholders is a powerful thing. Embracing eWOM and activation on your best advocates helps grow your online community and in turn helps you convert your interactions on social media into revenue for your business.

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