It's widely said in marketing circles that today's consumers is immune to advertising. What they really mean by this is that they are immune to traditional advertising — a mass-market branding approach that is a one-way form of communication, where advertisers talk "at" audiences. With the rise of social channels and an increase in levels of online brand engagement, consumers are posting more and more photos and videos of the products they love. Marketers have found that collecting and displaying this content is an effective new medium of communicating directly with their consumers. Why? These photos and videos serve as authentic visual reviews of their products. People trust recommendations from their peers—which they see as more objective than brand-generated content. User-generated content is becoming more and more mainstream as marketing teams push for greater authenticity, transparency, and interactive new media experiences.
Yet the number of social platforms where consumers can share content is continuously growing. This makes it difficult for brands without a visual marketing platform to prioritize where to collect user-generated content from. If you're collecting user-generated content manually, here's where you should start.
The ultimate visual platform, this is where you are going to see the highest levels of engagement with photos and videos related to your brand. Collecting micro-videos is also readily accessible on this platform. The easiest way to collect user content from Instagram is to do a search of your evergreen hashtag and reach out to users via an Instagram comment on their content for photo permission rights.
Twitter has an active base of social users—46% log in on a daily basis. The platform itself is very accessible to brands. You can collect by doing a broad hashtag search and/or a brand handle search. The best way to get photo or video permission rights on Twitter is a direct @ ask to the content creator.
Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, and boasts over 1.35 billion monthly users. It also has the most evenly distributed demographics of any social media platform. The easiest way to collect on-brand photos from Facebook is to do a broad search for your brand name and then filter by "Photos." You can reach out to users via a Facebook comment on their content for permission rights.
Video content is becoming more and more mainstream. Increasingly, we see top brands running social campaigns that encourage consumers to post video content online (see Beats by Dre below.) You can also look for brand influencers on Vine. They often post informational videos that might demystify the post-purchase experience of your products. The easiest way to find content is to do a broad search for your brand name and sift through the people and mentions that are most relevant to your brand. You can reach out to users via a Vine comment on their content for video permission rights.
Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform that allows members to discover and save relevant user-generated content. What differentiates this platform from its social media cousins? Pinners are looking to spend. 93 percent of Pinners made online purchases in the last six months, and people referred to a product by Pinterest are ten times more likely to buy a product. Furthermore, the majority of Pinners are under the age of 40 — this makes it a key platform for reaching millennials and boosting online sales.
In one study from Google, 75% of YouTube users agreed, "If there's a brand I love, I tend to tell everybody about it." Couple that with the fact that video is one of the most shareable mediums, and your brand is guaranteed to expand its reach. A few years ago, Pampers used YouTube clips for its Love, Sleep and Play campaign. The company permissioned videos uploaded by parents showing their babies in Pampers and received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the social campaign.
There are many social media channels that you can gather user generated content from. If you have the resources, you can collect them across all social media channels. Make it a priority to identify, reach out, and reward your star user-generated content creators. By adopting these interactive methods to optimize your social media efforts, your brand will be able to tap into the social innovation and power that social media has to offer.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.