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Using User-Generated Content

You’ve created it. Your friends have created, and you’ve seen it all over social media whether you know it or not. We’re talking User-Generated Content (UGC). User-generated content is an affordable and inexpensive means of building credibility for your business. It’s about showing your customers that you care about their needs and it helps foster a human connection. UGC can prove very beneficial for your business. Why? Because your offerings are being praised by your audience’s peers. It can take the form of a nice comment on Facebook, a curated photo of one of your meals posted to Instagram or a rave review on Yelp. Think of it as word of mouth but digital.

Now that we know what UGC is and how beneficial it can be, the next step is to determine the type of UGC you want and strategize towards it for the best results. Here are some tips to help you devise a UGC plan for your business:

Engage Your Audience:

In order to engage your audience, have them interact with your brand and provide you with UGC, you need to put a focus on engaging content. A simple way to do this is by asking questions in your social media posts. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you can ask what everyone’s favorite dish is. You can also encourage people to leave reviews on Google, Yelp or Facebook. If you want to amp things up a notch, you can partner with micro-influencers or you can host giveaways where an entry requirement is to leave a review, comment about what they love about your business, etc.

Selecting the Best UGC:

Not all UGC is created equal. When selecting which content to share or repost, first look at things like grammar, quality of any visuals and overall shareability. Then, once you’ve compiled some options, strategize on how to get the most mileage out of these posts. To put this in context, pretend you’re the owner of a clothing store and you have a pair of jeans that are about to go on sale. Say you also have a great review of these jeans. Instead of just randomly selecting content, use the review of the jeans to also highlight that they’ll be going on sale.

Post Branded Hashtags:

Hashtags are a secret weapon for optimizing user-generated content. Consumers can easily look up content through branded hashtags. Try to keep your hashtags short, simple and unique to your business. Look at your competitors’ hashtags and think strategically about phrases and words that best describe your offerings. 

Sponsored and paid advertisements on social and digital have become redundant, and consumers may have a tendency to scroll past them. The right UGC strategy can be just what your business needs to create a connection that’s meaningful, engaging and profitable. 

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How to Upgrade Your Visual Content

how to upgrade your brand's visual content

People are busy and constantly scrolling – it can be tempting for your audience to scroll right past that carefully crafted blog you wrote. So how do you get someone to pay attention in the world of short attention spans? Visually interesting content. 

When it comes to thought leadership and visual content, the same principles apply as they did for creating long-form written content. Whether you’re creating an infographic based off of a blog or sharing a testimonial, you have to make it consumable and you have to relay expert information in a way that requires little to no effort from your audience. Your visual content has to be strong, unique and relatable to your consumers, and it needs to be aligned with your end marketing objective. 

Here are some top tips on how to create visuals that will catch your audience’s eye. 

Consistent Branding:

Your branding needs to be immediately clear to any social media scroller, that’s why it’s important to incorporate your brand’s color palette and logo. The idea here is for your audience to start to recognize your branding so it won’t take more than a moment for them to know this is your business’ content. Optimal use of brand colors and logo in designing can give a voice and personality to your brand. 

Composition:

It’s important to strike a balance between text, color and negative space. It can be easy to want to fit as much text as possible on a graphic to inform your audience, but that actually does the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. By using the rule of thirds formula and erring on the side of using less text and more icons, you can create harmony in your designs, making them easier for your audience to digest. 

Tools for Design:

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to design great visual content. There are many tools and softwares available online for you to use to create content. Canva is one of the preferred websites used for designing any kind of visual content. With a few pre-designed templates, Canva is fast, easy and extremely user-friendly.

By integrating visual content as part of your digital marketing strategy in tandem with long-form written content, you have a much better opportunity for your audience to take in your content and boost your credibility as a thought leader.