How to Leverage User-Generated Content
Let's talk briefly about user-generated content, which is basically what your audience is creating and then you're using with permission, by the way. So this is a really powerful way to enhance social proof. So we're creating things and that's coming from us and that's great and we need to continue to do that, but when our audience creates content then it shows that they're very engaged with us or even like obsessed with us and so that creates an awesome social proof. So here's a couple of ideas. Hashtag campaigns, I know you've probably all seen these in some capacity, where you'll put out some kind of hastag, I know there's, this is not a client of mine but there's a campaign called, I think it's #AreYouReal, which is a clothing brand and they encourage women that buy their brand to then take photos, unfiltered, no PhotoShop and post online and then they reshare them. So it's doing two things. You know, one, it's getting behind a movement of being real, right, unfiltered, un-PhotoSho...
pped. It's also showing that like all of their clients, it gets them very excited to want to share 'cause then they're being reshared, right? And nowadays like if you're sharing pictures online, a lot of us do want likes and shares and more follows and so they're actually helping people to grow their own brands. So hashtag campaigns can be really fun, particularly if you have a movement-based business. I just participated in one recently where it was all about the imperfect boss and it was a colleague of mine and she was just encouraging entrepreneurs to show their imperfections, just one imperfection in your life and share that so that we all just feel like we're human, right? We all just feel like we're everyday people just like you, right? And I love that campaign and it was really cool and it was like a nice little uprising and we all felt as one and it was great to just connect with new people also that were participating in the same campaign. Also contests are really great. This is kind of an obvious one. I think we all know about contests. But this is cool, particularly if you do something where you're encouraging people to share a piece of their own content. I see this a lot with scholarship contests. So let's say you have a class or a workshop or even a service where you want to make it accessible to someone who otherwise can't afford it, so you might run some kind of scholarship contest where they have to send in a video, maybe Larin would do one around their dreams, right? Like state your dream, something of that nature. And so that gets everyone sharing, right? They're all engaging with her brand, they're all sharing, at the end there is a reward for one very lucky person who otherwise wouldn't be able to have your brilliance in their world, right? So contests can be really great for that reason. Also, they're very feel-good if they have kind of a social conscious or scholarship thing that's at the end of that. Also, customer stories. So not just like testimonials, that's the easy way, just to take a piece of a testimonial and reshare it. This is just more customer stories, so get permission, interview a customer that you love. Example, if you wanted to do this for your photography business, I love when photographers interview the family and then do like a whole photo story and create a piece of content because it's great to look at these beautiful pictures but like we wanna know like the behind-the-scenes of that family, right? We're all curious. That's why like HGTV is so popular and, you know, all of these shows like reality TV, I mean, that's the passion behind it, we love story, we connect to story, so any time you can really work customer story in, and of course they give you permission to do that, do it. And also resharing your customer's content. So that's really fun. I love doing this, like, I'm a huge fan of coffee, if I haven't mentioned that 8,000 times already and I'm like obsessed so I buy like every coffee brand ever and I follow them on Instagram and then lots of times I'm not like an influencer or anything, I just like to, like, post my coffee and then I'll tag the brand, and I'm not even trying to be like, "Give me free coffee". I just, you know, like it. But lots of times they reshare my post because it helps them, it's social proof for them. And I just think it's fun as, like, from the customer, I'm like, "Oh my god!" I feel like a superstar. (laughs) And like, because I'm such a huge fan of all coffee, so that's kind of, that's a really fun way. It's just like, you're basically just acknowledging your audience, right? And nowadays, everything's automated. Right, everything is automated, so just to get like a simple "like" or share is just like "Really? "You heard me?" So that's really powerful and it seems silly, but it's incredibly powerful. And then brand ambassadors, if appropriate. This doesn't work for all of our businesses, of course, but if you have like a mission, a movement, a product-based business, even like photography, you know, I've seen that work in photography world. I had an old client who was a senior portrait photographer and he would appoint some local, like, graduating teens as ambassadors and they would get like their free pictures and then they would help him like bring awareness to these way-cooler yearbook photos you could have taken. So it can work in different capacities, but only it's appropriate, of course. But just having people that are like mouthpieces for your brand and excited and sometimes they get kickbacks in the form of like free services or products. Sometimes they just believe in your movement and mission so much that they get behind it and are happy to do it, so it kind of just depends.