Best Practices for Engaging with User Generated Content
JIM FREDERICKS, Executive Director, PPMA
New social media platforms like TikTok have drastically changed the way that companies and brands can engage with their audience. TikTok features like Stitching can allow you to reshare other users’ content while adding your own commentary in a video. Due to these advances, engaging with and utilizing user-generated content (UGC) has become a key part of many businesses’ social media strategies. For those who are new to UGC or just getting started, check out these best practices to inform your approach.
What Is User Generated Content, and Why Is It Important?
UGC is original content created and shared by social media users. It can be as simple as someone posting a video of an ant infestation in their home or a photo of a large wasp they’ve found their yard. This content may be of interest for you as it is relevant to your businesses. However, other forms of UGC are posts that mention your company or brand. You’ve likely been tagged in a post from a customer about their experience with your product or service and have engaged with this content in the past.
So why is UGC so important? According to Social Media Today, 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Being engaged on social media can have a direct impact on your businesses. Not to mention, resharing UGC on your own social media channels and using it in ad campaigns can bolster the impact of your content. According to Stackla, 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions and find it 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.
How to Start Engaging with User Generated Content
There are so many ways to engage with UGC. The easiest way to start engaging is through comments. The comment section of a post is a great place to start developing a brand voice, connecting with social media users and raising awareness. If you’re just getting started with UGC engagement, keep these best practices in mind:
• Engage with trending content and content that is relevant to your business by joining the conversation in the post’s comments.
• When commenting, position yourself as a pest-control expert and a source for reputable information.
• Include a website link or phone number to encourage users to visit your website or call your business to learn more or speak with a professional.
• If it makes sense for your brand identity, try experimenting with witty or funny comments.
• Use hashtags and tag users to connect your comment to relevant or trending topics.
• Respond to questions and comments in a timely manner.
Resharing User Generated Content
The next step in engaging with UGC is resharing the content on your own social media channels. Some platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, make it easy to reshare content. If a customer tags you in an Instagram Story, you can easily share on your own page by clicking Post This On My Story directly from your notifications. You can also share other users’ posts to your Story and add your own message if you’d like to comment on the content. On TikTok, Stitching is a creation tool that allows you to combine another video on TikTok with one you’re creating.
Here’s how to Stich another person’s video on TikTok:
1. In the TikTok app, tap the Share button on the side of the video you’d like to Stitch.
2. Tap Stitch at the bottom.
3. Choose the part of the video you’d like to Stitch, then tap Next.
4. Choose from the filming options on the side panel.
5. Tap the Record button to start and stop your recording, then tap the check mark.
6. Edit your video, then tap Next.
7. Adjust your settings, write a caption and tap Post.
While some platforms make it easy to reshare UGC, there are times when you may need to take a more traditional route to get permission to share. If you see a photo or video that you’d like to share, reach out to the original user who posted it through the comments or a direct message to ask permission. Be sure that you disclose how you would like to use the content—posting on your social media, for use in an advertising campaign or to publish on your website. Don’t forget to let them know you’ll give them credit them for the content. Engaging users to ask for permission is also a great way to build trust within your online community.
While UGC is not a new concept, changes in social media platform capabilities and trends affect how you can interact with your audience. Something as simple as a comment on a post can start a conversation and allow you to engage with new users and potential customers. As you continue to navigate the ever-changing social media landscape, lean into engaging with and sharing UGC as a way to connect with your audience.