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User-generated content (UGC) by definition is content created by fans of a particular brand or product. And when a brand features content created by the fans for the fans, it can encourage other users to generate content too, eventually leading to an engaged community of loyal customers.
To properly ignite this chain of events, however, companies will have to put in some initial legwork. Below, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members share ways in which their businesses build community around user-generated content and how any business can follow suit.
By Highlighting ‘In the Wild’ Product Promotion
At Bright Ideas Only, we love to use fan-created social posts, mostly from Instagram, to highlight our work across our own socials. Candid photos “in the wild” serve as much more effective examples than a styled product shot, and the fans’ enthusiasm is what brings life to our products. – Abby Moffitt, Bright Ideas Only
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By Celebrating User Accomplishments
Core to Volt’s community-building strategy is dedication to serving our Volt Family of coaches, athletes, soldiers, firefighters and everyday people around the world. We celebrate their accomplishments as our accomplishments because we are a part of their journey and they are a part of ours. This enables us to authentically leverage UGC to build our community and spread the Volt love. – Dan Giuliani, Volt Athletics
By Featuring the Varying Communities of Customers
Old Pal is built on the idea of community and on bringing people together through cannabis. We try to highlight all the different communities that interact with our products. Most recently, we did sativa and indica bike rides with Luft in order to pair cannabis with getting outside and seeing new places. Riders who shared content were reposted on our Instagram and featured in our Journal. – Russel Wilenkin, Old Pal
By Encouraging Selfies and Sharing
When our clients rave about us on social media, we love sharing those enthusiastic reviews. We have built a “selfie wall” that encourages people to post selfies and tag us to get feedback from other users, which is a way many prefer to receive information today! When someone posts how much they love their new look, it generates more engagement for the person posting and for us. – Kelley Swing, Head Case Hair Studio
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By Incentivizing Reviews
User-generated content is one of the most authentic and genuine endorsements your brand can receive. No matter how loud you advocate for your own brands, a consumer’s unbiased and candid review goes much further. Create an incentive program to keep the user-generated content rolling in and show your consumers that you aren’t only watching this content, but you’re also willing to share it across your platforms. – Matt Tuffuor, Toasted Life
By Sharing ‘Journey Stories’
We host “journey stories” on our site that are user-generated accounts of psychedelic experiences. Many people who are curious about psychedelics have anxiety over what the experience will be like. Hearing about these experiences from others in the community not only helps reduce anxiety, but also promotes our site as a source for valuable information. – Amanda Reiman, Personal Plants
By Airing Client-Made Videos
We would visit our clients’ stores, shoot videos with our crew, do interviews and then air them. The thought then occurred to me that we should have them shoot their own short videos with their own staff, with my initial direction. It saved us from sending a crew out. The videos they did on their own were whimsical, fun, different and completely natural. It built community. – Scott Cowperthwaite, AfterFiveMedia
By Connecting More Authentically
At Tribe Builder Media, we utilize user-generated content to connect in a more authentic way to our community. Giving creators the freedom to determine how we educate and provide value to our audience naturally attracts others who share the same thought space. – Danielle Sabrina, Tribe Builder Media
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