“So much time and so little content to create.” – Said no one ever

Let’s face it marketers, creating a quantity of quality content isn’t easy. Even more so, creating a quantity of quality content that your audience cares about is even more difficult.

So, when you don’t have an unlimited budget or execution resources, what can you do?

One way to create more impactful content, is to encourage and support the creation of user generated content (UGC).

But does it really work? According to TapInfluence, 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source. Additionally, 88% of consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from their personal contacts.

To help determine how UGC can work for your brand, the Delightful Duo which consists of MGM Resorts International’s Beverly Jackson and Microsoft’s Karianne Stinson took stage at Social Media Marketing World to share some real-world, down and dirty tips for collaborating with fans. Here are the top takeaways:

#1 – Stock Photography: Yea or Nay?

Both members of the Delightful Duo unanimously voted nay on using stock photography. But why? Authenticity is a key factor in great UGC which means if your brand is creating and sharing original images, it will inspire and encourage your audience to follow suit.

The whole point of UGC is that it drives greater engagement and makes the content more authentic. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#2 – Investing in UGC

Truth be told, most brands do not have a defined budget allocated for UGC. However, there is a big opportunity to invest in your UGC strategy. That means, taking the time to be thoughtful about how you will approach UGC and what you’d like to achieve.

If your brand is just starting out, there may be an investment needed to encourage UGC. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#3 – Work with Influencers to Inspire UGC

Engaging influencers to create content is a fantastic way to show a good example of the type of UGC content you’d like to see your audience creating. Working with professionals will help show your audience the power of what is possible.

Using UGC in a brand narrative alongside influencers, allows you to empower your audience to see what is possible with the product/service. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#4 – Make the Experience Special

According to Beverly, her team has taken photos of every possible angle of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. So, photos of the fountain may not be the best solution for UGC. Instead, find unique and special content that truly reflects what the brand believes and share that with your audience (which will inspire them to do the same).

Get past the thing that is the obvious and find the thing that truly makes the experience special. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#5 – Make Branded Content More Like UGC

Brands, take a note from UGC. Your content should feel more like UGC because let’s face it; it’s the content they want. Learn to speak your fan’s language through your branded content. The two content types should be complimentary to each other.

If UGC content is more interesting than what your brand is creating, your brand is doing it wrong. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#6 – Strive for Content Authenticity

In the end, if your content isn’t authentic, the audience experience will not be a great one. Make sure that you are real and honest with your content in a way that your audience won’t walk away disappointed.

Focus on great experiences. What does the content mean for real people? @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#7 – Keep in Mind Rights & Legality

Ultimately, brands need to ensure that UGC is used with permission and that creators are compensated in some way (if it makes sense). If necessary, get permission to use UGC in writing to avoid any legal issues.

You can’t just take someone else’s content for free. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

Start Making UGC Work for Your Brand!

If you’re considering UGC but haven’t started, what are your biggest questions? If you’ve incorporated UGC into your content strategy, what has worked?

For more on influencer marketing be sure to join us at 4:10PST this afternoon for TopRank Marketing’s Lee Odden’s presentation on How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation.

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