If you’re behind the wheel of your business’ social media pages, you’re probably familiar with the “what should I post” slump.
It can be tricky, constantly curating high-quality content for your social media pages, website, and newsletters.
But what if I told you that not only do customers not expect your feeds to be full of your own product photos, they’d actually prefer it if they weren’t!
Believe it or not, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.
Additionally, social media posts that incorporate user-generated content drive substantially more engagement than standard posts.
You’re probably thinking—”great, how do I get started?”
The good news is, with the help of SMS, quality user-generated content is only a few clicks away!
User-generated content refers to any content (photos, videos, blogs, testimonials, etc.) that has been created and published by unpaid contributors.
A great deal of what you see on the internet and on social media is considered user-generated content. As long as it wasn’t created by a brand or someone paid by a brand, it’s considered UGC!
User-generated content is found across all corners of the internet.
“Native” UGC is most commonly found on social media when people tag different brands or utilize branded hashtags on photos. Like this example below of a student who tagged Dunkin Donuts in their graduation photos.
If you want more user-generated content, it needs to be enjoyable for customers to provide you with it. You want them to want to tag you in photos, share reviews, and most importantly, share you with their friends.
A big part of creating that positive experience is making it simple to share with you. And there’s almost no easier way to share photos and information than with text messaging.
Thankfully, text messages have a 98% open rate and average a 45% response rate!
When 70% of the total digital media time in the US is spent on smartphones, it makes sense to meet customers where they are and text them your requests.
Thanks to two-way messaging, you can even invite them to text you right back!
Here are a few fun and quick ways to engage with your customers and encourage them to share UGC with you.
Create a theme you’d like your customers to take photos around. For example, if you’re a cooler company, you could run a summer contest inviting people to share where they like to take their coolers with them.
From there, instruct customers to text you their best cooler pics to be entered to win a grand prize! Customers will love the opportunity to play for the prize, and you’ll receive dozens of real user photos to use as you please!
💡SimpleTexting Tip. For user-submitted content, you should get express permission prior to using it for any reason. Please consult with an attorney for specific advice on how to request and use user-submitted content.
Outside of a grand prize, a small incentive you can offer your customers is the chance to have their photo featured on your official company social media page. This is particularly alluring if you have a decent-sized social media following.
It’s as simple as sending out a campaign inviting your subscribers to text you their pictures for a chance to be featured on your Instagram.
It’s important to note that all incoming SMS (or text) messages are free. However, incoming MMS (or photo) messages will cost 1 credit. The good news is, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the 650% average return on ad spend (ROAS) influencer marketing has!
Thanks to the high open and response rates we mentioned before, texting makes the perfect avenue to ask customers to share ratings and reviews with you. You can do this a few different ways over text.
When it comes to collecting UGC you can repurpose, we recommend going with either option 2 or 3. These options give you the chance to collect more quotes or genuine customer testimony which makes for richer content. You can pull quotes and turn them into graphics for social media, share them in newsletters, or use them in product descriptions!
The benefit of having a text-based relationship with your customers is you develop a kind of inner-circle understanding of who your biggest promoters are. By nature, everyone who signs up for your text messages did so willingly because they are fans of your brand. That means your baseline subscriber is someone who would likely be willing to help you out.
If you can identify customers who are most active with your content (always click on links, reply to messages, etc.) you can message them individually with a bigger ask. For example, if your company runs a blog, ask them if they’d like to submit a guest post sharing their story of how they found your brand. Or invite them to do a social media takeover for the day sharing some of their favorite products or services!
Now that you’ve gathered some awesome photos, videos, and testimony from your customers it’s time to turn it into something!
Here are a few real-life examples of UGC out in the wild.
Feature customer photos on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter feed!
Feature your UGC front and center in your next marketing campaign.
Let your customers know what your products look like out in the world instead of on/around models.
When packaging your products to ship include a packing slip featuring some UGC with a CTA inviting the customer to share their photos using a hashtag.
If you’ve collected testimony or quotes your website is the perfect place to display it. Customers’ words are a very valuable trust signal.
At the end of the day, user-generated content is all about authenticity and fun. So remember to keep it short, make it exciting, and let your work speak for itself!