How destination brands can utilise user-generated content

User generated content

If you’re a marketer, you’ll know that creating and publishing digital content can be time-consuming. You probably don’t have the time to do it all yourself with business meetings, coffee mornings and networking events to attend.  You’ll need some assistance.  

Have you thought about taking advantage of user-generated content yet?

What is user-generated content?

It’s been a hot topic for a while now. User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content – such as blogs, social media posts, images, video or audio – created by consumers, rather than businesses, that is available online and which can be utilised in the marketing output of a brand.

Agencies and brands can utilise their customers’ creativity to help market their own products, integrating UGC with their own content marketing in an authentic and organic manner.

Some ideas for travel brands: how they can utilise UGC

Thailand boat

To make things a little easier, let’s pretend you’re a travel or destination brand and your marketing concentrates solely on advertising the city of Manchester. You might be thinking, “Manchester? Who’d want to visit there?” However, suggests it’s the third most-visited city in the UK for overseas tourists. Plus we’re now based here, in our brand new Northern Quarter office.

So now you’re convinced, here’s what you (if you were a Mancunian travel brand) could be doing:


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Hold a competition

An alternative tour of Manchester

Run a competition. Why not? It’s the perfect way to engage users. If you do it right, you’ll have some quantifiable content at the end of it.

You could, for example, ask people to devise their own ‘Alternative Tour of Manchester’, which takes in places off the beaten track that are worth checking out.

Everyone probably goes to Old Trafford, and while it’s home to the greatest football team around, get perspective from others, and publish your favourite(s) in the form of a blog – or if you’ve got the budget or means, create a video or animation.

The best UGC campaigns use the inspiration of consumers if the idea’s right and you’ve got the incentive to match, the results could be something like what Starbucks did with their Starbucks White Cup Contest. They got people to send in illustrated coffee cups over a three-week period. The #Whitecupcontest competition was entered by 4,000 people check out some of the results.

Supercharge your social media

Get photo submissions from social media followers

The Manchester Evening News asks Instagram users to use the #ManchesterEveningNews hashtag when uploading photos of Manchester. Then, on a daily basis, the newspaper’s digital team repost their favourite onto the official MEN feed.

Just look at how many people enter each day, and the end result on the MEN’s feed it works a treat.

It’s such a simple idea, and such a quick way for the brand to fill their feed with content. And the best thing? They don’t really have to do anything. It’s a win-win situation for the newspaper and for the photographer, who gets exposure to over 50,000 followers.

Why not try something similar for your brand?

Get customers to submit their reviews

Ask for customer opinions after purchase

Econsultancy research says 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision.

Positive brand and product reviews are therefore important. They help build trust and are also great for online visibility. That’s because Google looks for fresh, unique content when deciphering where to rank a page in its search results.

Reviews are great for a number of things:

  • Showing you have fresh content
  • Improving rankings for “[product name] + review”
  • Increasing click-through rates on results pages
  • Increasing conversion rates

Have you ever searched for “[product name] + review”? Yeah, me too. You’ll have more chance of popping up right in front of the people that are looking for your products if you’ve got plenty of reviews. Click-through rates also improve by 10-20%, thanks again to Econsultancy for that one.

Reviews of your attraction, whether it’s the Imperial War Museum, a Northern Quarter reptile shop or something you sell online through e-commerce, will undoubtedly bring benefits to your SEO endeavors.

Happy customers and brand ambassadors are a valuable marketing resource

But always remember that in most cases, the brands that are most successful in utilising user-generated content are those that offer their customers a real incentive for getting involved, whether that’s through winning a prize or receiving exposure for their creativity.

Happy customers can be more than just that. They can help rejuvenate your digital marketing.

Our blog is brimming with more digital marketing tips, so check out more of our posts!

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  • Understanding your audience
  • How to engage your audience
  • Content marketing top tips
  • Paid media top tips

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