user-generated content

8 Bulletproof Tips To Gather High Quality User-Generated Content

Can you tell if these photos are user-generated or brand-generated content?

These are some of the top photos from our clients. People often think that because they’re free, they must be low quality. We – as well as our clients – know it’s not true. Just like any type of marketing, it requires the right strategy and a lot of effort. I am lucky to work with some of the top brands in the world at Filemobile and have the opportunity to learn from the top marketers.  Here are 8 valuable tips on how to gather high quality user-generated content:

1. Have a clear call to action.

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein

Many UGC campaigns fail because the call to action wasn’t clear and users have no idea what they need to do. Education is a big part of a UGC campaign. An average user doesn’t have a marketing background or know what is.  Your call to action needs to be clear enough for a person with zero background to understand. If you can’t explain your concept to a six year-old child or your grandmother, you’re in trouble.

Before your UGC campaign, have a small study group and test your call to action. It’s always a good idea to include examples of the type of content you want to generate. If you have a video contest, create a few sample videos. Most people are followers not innovators. Marketers need to show users the right path to follow.

Don’t sit back and wait for magic to happen. Go out and create magic. (tweet this)

MichelleColdwell Canadian Geographic user-generated content

2. Fake it until you make it

Community building is a chicken and egg problem. Most communities have a hard time attracting people in the beginning, including Google+, the social network child of the search giant Google. But nobody wants to be part of a ghost town.  Being an early adopter is hard, and most people would prefer to be part of a popular community. One of the most popular growth-hacking strategies is fake it until you make it.

In the early days of UGC, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman seeded the link-sharing site with fake profiles posting link to simulate activity. Huffman posted the type of content he wanted to see on the site and attracted the type of people who were interested in similar type of content. The brand-generated content shared the culture of good content in the community

In marketing, the line between white and black hat marketing is getting blurrier everyday. Sometime the best place to stand on is on the grey area.  Many great ideas need a little push. Seed your community with high quality employee-generated content to shape the culture of your user-generated community.

Fake it until you make it. (tweet this)

Randy Cummings-Deriger The weather network user-generated content

3. Promote like it’s your own content

Producing content is only 20% of content marketing; the other 80% is what you’re going to do with the content. Many marketers forget the word marketing in content marketing. UGC creators are not professional marketers. They create content because they love your brand – not because they are on your payroll. It’s important for the brand to help them promoting the content.

There are many benefits to promoting UGC:

1. It shows that you appreciate their efforts and love.

2. Pushing positive content will help building awareness and expand the user-generated community.

3. Promoting high quality content will help shaping the community culture and create an unofficial guideline without being too pushy.

4. Brand will have a bigger pool of content to use beside brand-generated content.

Keep in mind that promoting others is promoting yourself. (tweet this)

Grant Erb The Weather Network user-generated content

4. Filter out the bad content.

Not all of the content will be good content even if it’s free. It’s better to generate less but much higher quality content. Moderation is a big part of UGC marketing. A community manager needs to filter out all the bad content and give the high quality content the spotlight. Often, a brand will simply put up a Twitter or Instagram feed on its website without filtering out all the noises. It makes it harder for people to get access your high quality UGC and can lower the quality bar for your community.  A good UGC software will allow you to moderate and filter content easily. Invest in a good tool can save your brand a lot of time and money. Remember that time is the most valuable asset; every second on the internet can make a big difference.

If you want to make moderating easier, allow users to vote and rate the content. Let your community  help you filter out the content.

Shape your community culture with high quality content that will encourage users to produce similar content. (tweet this)

Rick Carroll Canadian Geographic user-generated content

5. Reward users.

Rewarding users for producing high quality content will show users that:

1. Your brand appreciate their love and help.

2. You are giving them a green light to produce more high quality content.

3. You are encouraging other members to produce similar content.

A reward can be anything from a shout-out on your social networks, using the content on TV or in your brand marketing to valuable prizes. The cost is usually minimal compared to the result.

If you show your users that you love them, they will return the love. (tweet this)

John Andersen The Weather Network user-generated content

6. Repurpose top content.

If you know something works, repurpose it. With the speed of the internet, most people probably didn’t have a chance to see the content the first time you shared it. Social media gives people the chance to be discovered, but it also buries so many talents with noise.  The key to encouraging  more high quality content is to keep promoting high quality content and re-use the content in different formats.

If you gather hundreds of thousands of UGC media files like many of our clients do, it’s very important to be organized from the start. A community manager needs to organize user-generated media files into different groups and add relevant tags. When the brand needs to search for the perfect UGC file for a campaign, a simple search will do the job. If you don’t take content management seriously, a lot of high quality content will be lost and forgotten. Brands are spending a lot of money to generate more content and you need to put that content into good use.  A small investment in a good digital asset management platform can have a great impact on the result of your UGC marketing campaigns.

Social media buries both good and bad content in the internet landfill. Marketers need to re-purpose the gems and give them new life. (tweet this)

Fromac Canadian Geographic user-generated content

7. Collect from the source.

With the rise of smartphone’s camera, a large amount of user-generated content are produced using a smartphone. To generate more high content, you need to gather more user-generated content.

1. Optimize your campaign for mobile

According to Inmobi’s  “Mobile Media Consumption” report,  50% of the average global mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.

It’s very important to optimize your UGC website and uploader for mobile. If you don’t, you will lose a lot of potential high quality content because many users won’t take the extra step to switch to a desktop. Users are doing you a favor by producing content for your brand. Your job is making their lives easier. If you’re building a user-generated community, building a mobile app for will give you a lot more power to generate more targeted and high quality content.

2. Leverage borrowed content.

Most UGC is on the internet. Tapping into social media and pulling social content will allow you to gather more UGC and finding higher quality content. It allows users to help you produce and spreading more content on their preferred. platform. You can create and promote a hashtag for your brand.

For instance, if Lorna Jane didn’t encourage fans to share #MoveNourishBelieve lifestyle photo, they would miss the opportunity to gather over 105,119 amazing photos and videos on Instagram.

With the right user-generated content app, you’ll be able to gather those content and feature on your website and social media in different formats such as live blogs, galleries or slideshows.

If you make the lives of users easier, they will return the favor. (tweet this)

RodneyTidy Canadian Geographic user-generated content

8. Adjust and optimize.

Not every campaign will work out. UGC  marketing is seeding a lifestyle. It’ll take time for your brand to understand the community and figure out how it works. Don’t give up.

Every experience is a good experience if you learn from it. Spend time listening to and understanding your community to adjust and optimize for future campaigns. There are always opportunity for you to improve. Spend time understanding the data and trying to improve user experience. Find your UGC marketing mentors and learn from them.

If you ever want to help solving your UGC marketing problems, we’re here to help. Feel free to tweet us @filemobile, send us a Facebook message  or drop us an email anytime.

PS: If you need an all-in-one digital asset management and UGC marketing software, check out our UGC platform.

 Photos: The Weather Network, Canadian Geographic Photo Club

[FREE EBOOK] The User-Generated Content Blueprint: All You Need to Know to Achieve Your Content Marketing Goals

CamMi Pham

Community Manager at Filemobile
I am a digital strategist by day, a blogger by night.I enjoy writing about marketing, social media, startups and lifestyle. For some more personal posts, check out my lifestyle and personal development blogs.
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