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The Marketing Edge - User-generated content: The key to mastering social media?

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Did you know that recommendations from friends are the most credible form of advertising among consumers? 

“Eighty-three percent of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family,” according to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report. Because we take the advice of the people we know and trust when it comes to purchasing decisions, a new form of social media content generation is being explored by brands big and small.

User-generated content (UGC) is content that’s created by social media users and support a brand’s product or service.

According to Hubspot, “UGC is particularly prevalent on Instagram, where brands can easily repost and regram UGC from users' accounts. And it's worthwhile for brands to do this – 76 percent of individuals surveyed said they trusted content shared by ‘average’ people more than by brands, and nearly 100 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others.”

The great thing about user-generated content is that it can be utilized by small businesses, it’s free, and it requires little to no effort. A great example of a Maine-based company using UGC is L.L. Bean. Photos of their products are great, of course, but photos of people using them is even better. They had to ask themselves a simple question: how would they get these photos without investing a ton of time and effort?

The answer was UGC. Quality images that their customers post on Instagram aren’t hard to find, whether it’s a snapshot of a puppy inside an L.L. Bean backpack or a capture of a pair of bean boots trekking up a mountainside. The thousands of likes that each photo gets also proves the efficacy of this method of posting.

Starting your own user-generated content campaign on Instagram is simple – just ask your customers to tag you in photos they take using your product or service. Choose the best of the best, reach out to the user to make sure you can use the photo and post away. You can also use the Repost application, which is an easy way to repost from Instagram and give the user credit for their photo.

And UGC doesn’t end with Instagram. You can use hashtags and tagging on other mediums, such as Facebook and Twitter, to run campaigns on those platforms as well. Social media search features are also a great way to find content about your product or service that was posted by users who forgot to tag you.

UGC combines simple and effective social media strategy with data showing that recommendations from friends (or individual users on Instagram not getting paid by the company) are most reliable.

Try it out for yourself and see how it works for your business! 

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