Traditional marketing companies spend much of thinking of clever advertising for their clients. However, new data suggests that one of the main categories users consume is user generated content – the posts, videos, pictures, and reviews posted by their friends, family and peers. In fact, it turns out that millennials prefer user generated content to television. It accounts for 30% of all media consumed (another surprise: millennials spend 18 hours a day interacting with media. Wow.) The point is, with user generated content constituting such a large percentage of total media intake, no online marketing energy is complete without accounting for it.


Here are three things to always keep in mind when it comes to user generated content:


1. Your Brand Voice Has to Have Personality


You know what that U stands for in UGC – the user, a human agent. Social media users already suffer from media overflow, so they are always trimming their current contacts and making new ones. They won’t tolerate “corporate speak”, so your profile should exude personality, be interesting, you know, be like a real person. Use this as a measure: if a piece of content is not interesting enough to share with a good friend, it shouldn’t be posted online.


2. Encourage the UGC of Others


Posting on your own accounts is a start, but you won’t gain much traction without encouraging the engagement of others. The key is to start a conversation with your followers, whether that means encouraging comments on your own posts, getting customers to post pictures of your product, or responding to a customer review on Yelp. Our advice: make it fun. Things like polls, raffles, quizzes, and giving away free content tend to work well.


3. Don’t Forget About Conversions


Winning at user generated content can build brand recognition rapidly, but speeding up sales requires something more: adding an actionable component to these interactions. Again, the hard sale approach doesn’t translate well on social media, which many users consider to be “pure” from such tactics. We can’t tell you how to succeed at converting your followers, because every business is different, but we will say this: every piece of content, yours or curated, should fill a part of the puzzle that answers the question “Why us” for the customer.


User generated content will only gain market share in the minds of consumers in the coming years. Pay attention to it as you brainstorm ways to market your business online, and as you do, keep these three tips in mind.

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