You want your fans to engage with your brand, but you aren’t really sure how. You know you want to give something away, but how do you do it in a way that’s effective for your business? Our answer: Let your fans do it for you.
Asking for user-generated content – photos, videos, and anything else you can think of created by your fans – is a great way to get your fans directly involved with your brand. Here are six of our favorite ways to invite your audience to participate by creating user-generated content.
1. It’s for a cause!
Donate a prize to a worthy cause and ask your users for input on who should receive it. You could have users submit and vote for their favorite charities, people who deserve acknowledgment, or another group busy making the world a better place.
2. Help them cheat.
Your users want to feel like you’re on their side, and they want more chances to win. So give them even more opportunities to enter. Enable bonus sharing by following on other platforms like Twitter, then go one step farther.
Does your audience love Pinterest? Remind them they can pin the entry and invite all of their Pinterest followers to vote for them in the comments.
Do you appeal to bloggers? Encourage them to write a blog post about the contest, so they can reach the people who want them to win. Help them help you.
3. Let the games begin.
Gamification is everywhere – and for a good reason. Providing an immediate reward for a user is an effective way to start a conversation with them. You can run a game with a leaderboard, which allows you to ask users questions they can answer for points. (There’s something to be said for getting your name at the top of a list.) You can also create a quiz and give your users the joy of discovering which vampire should be their soulmate. If you can find a creative way to tie in your brand with something fun for the user, you win when they do.
This promotion by Crystal Ski is brilliant because it targets such a specific demographic and entices them into listening to something nice about themselves when they finish the quiz.
4. Tell us a story.
People love to talk about themselves. So encourage them to! Why should they win? Ask them to share their funniest stories, their most heartwarming moments, and the stories they tell every Christmas. (Bonus points if you ask them to add a photo to this one.) Foster empathy with your brand, and you’ll have fans for life.
5. Pics or it didn’t happen!
How are fans using your product? Ask them to show you. Have a beautiful business location? Ask them to take a selfie there!
50 Shades of Grey has a wine promotion going on where they ask users to take a selfie with the wine for a chance to win an exclusive getaway for two.
Bonus tip: Have users tag themselves in photos so it shows up on their timelines.
6. Get them on video.
Especially for products that lend themselves to visual demonstrations, video contests can be an incredible way to generate the kind of content that propels your brand straight into the spotlight.
Microsoft is doing it right with this contest – they are giving away several huge prizes, and in return, they ask for more information than your average sweepstakes. The bigger the prize, the more you can ask users to do.
So How Do You Get Great User Content?
It’s not as hard you might think. You don’t have to be a huge brand to get your fans excited. Offer them something they want, add some great design, and hit publish! If you’re doubting whether or not your fans will bite, remember the golden rule of content marketing: Be interesting and they’ll be interested.
Love the idea of user-generated content? Make sure the prize fits the ask. In other words, giving a free cup of coffee to every fan in exchange for something time-consuming to make like a 2 minute video probably won’t get you far. A cup of coffee for sharing your page? Now you’re cooking.
P.S. Ready to put one of these into practice? Sign up for a free account.