• 7 Smart Ways to Encourage More User-Generated Content

How to Get More User-Generated Content

The benefits of user-generated content (UGC) are endless. It saves time and money. It increases engagement and brand loyalty. It broadens the reach of your business, making leads more likely to trust and buy from you. The list goes on and on.

With benefits like that you’re probably wondering how you can encourage people to submit this valuable content, right? Wonder no more! Here are seven persuasive ways to promote the submission of user-generated content.

Related eBook: Social Media Pocket Guide

How to Get More User-Generated Content

How to Get More User-Generated Content

1. Engage Regularly Before Asking For Favors

One of the primary origins of user-generated content is social media, where people post photos and videos relating to the brands they love. How can you get your followers to do that for you? By engaging with them regularly before you ask them to share their content.

If your brand is not “personable” and if you don’t really encourage or respond to engagement, it will seem out of character to start asking for photos, videos, reviews and the like all of sudden. So make it a point to engage by liking and responding to comments, liking posts, using conversational captions, and so on.

What’s the takeaway? The more you interact freely with your audience, the easier it will be to get them excited about contributing to your business.

2. Offer Rewards

Rewards are appealing, especially when one simple action is all that’s needed to earn them. It’s not a difficult task or an inconvenience for your followers to take a picture, shoot a short video or write a review. Especially when the incentive for doing so is the possibility of being featured in your email newsletter, on social media, on your website/blog or in some other way.

What’s the takeaway? If you want more user-generated content, make sure to really highlight the rewards that your followers will be most excited about receiving.

3. Hold a Contest For the Competitors at Heart

A competitive spirit is commonplace these days and a great motivator for many people. A contest can do the trick, then, when it comes to UGC. How can you create successful contests? Much the same way as you would when offering rewards…only with a contest, the rewards are limited. The fewer the rewards, the more highly coveted they are.

For example, you might choose to do a weekly photo contest, asking users to submit their best photos featuring your products. To up the stakes, you might emphasize that only the best photo—your favorite, the most humorous, the most inspiring, etc.—will be chosen to receive the prize, whatever it might be.

Not only would this increase the number and quality of entries that week, but also in the future as the determination to win grows stronger and stronger. Needless to say, you can build up quite a selection of contributions this way.

What’s the takeaway? Highlight the desirable reward that you’re offering and make clear that there are limitations on who can win the contest. This will appeal to competitive personalities and increase their desire to win or, in other words, submit content.

4. Host Events

Depending on your business type, you may host workshops, webinars, and fundraisers for community events or charitable causes. In such circumstances, you can create a hashtag and encourage attendees to share pictures, videos, and comments about their experiences at your event.

You might also make them aware of an incentive such as being featured in an upcoming blog post about the event. This can give them the push they need to contribute.

What’s the takeaway? Host meaningful events and encourage people to capture and recall special moments. You could do this using your very own event-specific hashtag. (If you choose to do this, it’s best to start promoting your hashtag before the event to get potential contributors in the right mindset and generate anticipation among the rest of your audience.)

5. Allow Enthusiasts to Test Your Latest Offerings

Do you have current brand advocates and loyal supporters? If so, you can increase their enthusiasm and your storehouse of user-generated content. How? By allowing your most avid fans to be involved in field or beta testing.

Give them special access to new features, products, and services before they’re released to the public. They’ll no doubt be excited to have such an opportunity. Then, ask for their feedback in the format of your choice and share the most positive reactions you receive.

What’s the takeaway? Heighten the enthusiasm of your most vocal promoters by allowing them to test new features, products, and services.

6. Start a Hashtag Campaign

Creating your own branded hashtag was mentioned earlier in relation to promoting your events. However, they can be used for so much more. Your hashtags can promote new features, products, and services, describe your brand, identify a lifestyle, refer to your followers or customers, and so on.

Such unique tags, when they fit with the rest of your branding, can motivate your followers to begin using them in their posts.

7. Provide Photo Ops at Your Physical Location(s)

Especially in this day and age, what’s the first thing many people do when they come across a spot they like? They snap a photo! And now—with the reign of social media ongoing— most people share their pictures.

Is there anything snapshot-worthy at your physical location(s)? If not, it would be wise to think about some things that might attract attention and be appealing to customers past, present, and potential.

You Can Increase UGC Submissions

User-generated content is powerful, as was explained at the outset. Not only can it free up a significant amount of your time and energy, it can also be more persuasive than your own (biased) promotion.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can increase the amount of user-generated content that comes your way. Some approaches may motivate your customers more than others. So as you decide on your strategy, keep in mind what you know about your audience. This will allow you to reach your goals faster.

Now that you have some ideas to get you going, it’s time to start raking in the free content!


User-generated content is just one of many forms of content to have as a part of your content and social media strategy. For more social media tips, download our free eBook below:

Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant is passionate about helping small business owners create and execute solid marketing strategies, and writes blogs with a particular focus on inbound marketing and branding.

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