User-Generated Content: Things to Think About

 
 

By Carrie Kerpen, CEO

I run a social media agency, and I get calls from clients all the time where they say, "You know what? We don't really believe in creating content. We want users to create content on our behalf, and then we'll just share that content out, and it'll all be great. It'll get all the viral reach of the users, and we can just have it be user-generated." 

Let's say you do wanna create a user-generated campaign. I've got some things for you to think about.

Don't Expect High Quality

Don't think of user-generated content being this artful, gorgeous, high-tech, photoshopped display. You can't give users too many parameters around the type of content that they create. The reality is that most people on social media are just people with no sense of what to post and how. They're not going to be doing setup and lighting and all of these things you would expect from when you create your own content. It's not going to be the high-level, professional content that you expect to come from something that's more produced. 

Make It Easy to Enter

Do not make your customers jump through hoops to participate. Remember, a video is infinitely harder to capture than a photo. And even a photo takes time. Keep it simple for them to enter. (Don't put it on your website with 55 email opt-ins, etc.) Make entrance easy in the networks where they participate. 

Have a Backup Plan

If you're really gonna do a UGC campaign, you need a backup plan. Let's say you're not getting the photos you need or your video submissions are a total disaster. Ask people for comments in the feed, and then create some content based off of that. You can have content that's inspired by users without actually having it created by users. That will help fill the blanks and create a campaign that makes sense.

What are some other tips you have for succeeding with user-generated content plans? Let me know with your comments.