Around 200 billion tweets are made per year, and Instagram hosts over 80 million new photos each…
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This is just a small example of how vast the source of user-generated content can be on leading social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Gone are the days when platforms like Twitter were only used by influencers to react to a certain topic. These days, social media is making the news. If you are a content marketer or a blogger, then you can easily use social media as a vast source of content.
From getting on-the-ground information to compiling a reaction to a certain topic, there are plenty of things one can do with user-generated content.
You have very likely already read a few blog posts in the past featuring different kinds of user-generated content.
In this post, I will make you familiar with the power of user-generated content and how you can harness it to create engaging blog posts.
But before we begin, let’s cover the basics.
What is user-generated content and why is it so important?
Any kind of content that is created by users on social media, without any paid contribution, can be classified as user-generated content.
It can be anything from a simple tweet to a video, or photo, or blog post, or anything in between. Ideally, this information is publicly accessible and can be readily used as a reference as well.
Since UGC (user-generated content) has a personal feel to it, it easily resonates with an audience. This is what makes it so powerful.
By including some thoughtfully curated UGC content in your blog posts, you can make it easier for your audience to relate themselves to it.
Here are some benefits of using UGC:
- Adds credibility to your blog post.
- Leads to a personal connection with your readers.
- Makes your content more authentic and relatable.
- Empowers all those users whose content you have selected, as it gives them an added voice.
- Saves your time while coming up with genuine content.
According to recent research, UGC has been found to be 50% more trustworthy, 35% more memorable, and 20% more influential to its audience.
Now that you know the various benefits of user-generated content, let’s proceed and learn how content marketers and bloggers can use it in their favor.
1. Start by identifying your audience.
It is a known fact that no matter how good your content is, if it can’t reach out to its target audience, then your efforts will be quite futile in the end. Therefore, before you start digging UGC from any major social media channel, take a step back and identify your audience.
If you run a blog, then you should know your niche and what kind of readers you wish to reach out to. Try to create a large and relevant group. Don’t confine yourself to a limited genre.
Though it is always recommended to know your niche, you should be open to new ideas while also discovering your audience.
Additionally, if you are confused, then you can always visit the “Insights” section of your Twitter account in order to know more about your audience. From the overall demographics to specific interests, you can gain in-depth information about them with this tool. This will help you come up with the kind of topics that will be appreciated by your audience.
2. Get to know about industry leaders and influencers.
After making a list of the domains that you wish to cover, get to know about the leading industry experts and influencers.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you track leading users on social media with respect to their domain. You can also consider their Klout score in order to prioritize them.
Here’s a snapshot of Klout score in the “books” category:
Some of the readily available tools that can help you identify influencers are:
- Little Bird
You can also take the assistance of a leading social media listening tool in order to track experts and industry leaders.
Make a comprehensive list of various influencers and track their activity on social media. You will be able to get plenty of content from these sources.
3. Track the ongoing trending topics.
If you want to come up with the kind of blog post that will go viral in no time, then you need to know what’s in and what’s out.
Most social media channels like Twitter and Facebook already provide a featured section for their “trending” topics.
You can easily get to know how people are reacting with a single click.
Always stay on top of the current trending topics. Utilize these trends and come up with an engaging blog post around them.
If you are able to tap into the current trending topics, then it will be easier for you to propagate the overall reach of your content (and bring in more visitors).
4. Focus on upcoming events.
Aside from trending topics, make an effort to be familiar with upcoming events as well. We all know how social media reacts to events like #NoShaveNovember and #BlackHistoryMonth.
You should always be a few steps ahead of others and gain more knowledge about an upcoming event that is related to your niche.
Twitter Analytics already provides extensive coverage regarding the same. With this tool, you can easily get to know about an upcoming event, its coverage, and the various kinds of related demographic data.
Furthermore, you can apply several filters as well to select the perfect event to blog about.
Simply visit the “Events” tab in your Analytics page to get a result like this:
Simply search what other users are talking about regarding the event that you are also interested in, and come up with an engaging blog post around that topic.
5. Perform social media listening.
This is one of the best ways to automate the process of gathering user-generated content.
Simply take the assistance of a comprehensive social media listening tool (like Socialert) and get real-time updates regarding your supplied keyword or hashtag.
Additionally, you can filter your results on the basis of different parameters, demographics, and even keywords. It will help you identify leading influencers and curate some of the most popular tweets regarding your topic.
This will certainly save you time and effort while providing foolproof results.
You can also perform sentiment analysis and set a limited time duration to filter out the irrelevant noise.
Here’s a snapshot of a report generated by Socialert:
6. Be more specific and relevant (filter your search).
Popular social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are quite diverse, and they can be a little overwhelming as well. If you wish to extract UGC using their native interfaces, then you’ve got to spend lots of time and resources figuring everything out.
Therefore, you should be as specific as possible in order to gain the right kind of information.
Try to be more relevant and come up with precise keywords to filter your search. For instance, if you are searching for a local event, then you can easily limit your search to a certain geographic location.
Furthermore, you can focus on a specific time duration, gender, age limit, etc. in order to curate more engaging user-generated content.
7. Maintain a neutral stand.
If you want to maintain authenticity in your blog posts, then you’ve got to take a neutral stand.
Whenever you try to find UGC on social media, try to approach that subject from a different perspective. While there is nothing wrong with providing a strong opinion on a subject every now and then, you should never let it compromise the overall authenticity of your content.
This will also display a wide range of user-generated content and provide a real outlook on a respective topic.
You can take the assistance of Twitter’s advanced search for finding user-generated content on the basis of sentiments.
8. Try to be more diverse.
As stated, there are different kinds of user-generated content that can be included in your blog posts.
Most of the time, content marketers simply dig through various tweets and include them with the rest of the content. While this is a fine approach, you should also try to push the envelope to attain a sense of freshness and diversity.
Besides tweets, you can always add photos, small videos, memes, GIFs, and other kinds of interesting content as well.
You can always find different categories of already-filtered content on Twitter for your convenience. Simply pick the type of content that would go well with your blog post.
Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with including a few Instagram posts or YouTube video links. This will surely make your posts more interesting and diverse.
9. Focus on building a community.
Whenever you dig out any UGC from a social media platform, never use it in the wrong way.
Always try to appreciate this content and don’t pass along a demeaning or condescending comment about it. Your aim should be to harness an engaging and healthy community.
Try not to put anyone down while using their content, and always appreciate them for their efforts.
Also, if you think the content is personal, then ask that user before sharing it on your blog. Even if the available content is marked as “public”, they might have an issue with you sharing it with your audience.
Every blogger needs an engaging community.
After all, this is what acts as a driving force and inspires you to come up with more interesting posts in the long run.
In short: Respect your readers and harness a healthy community.
Ways Of Utilizing User-Generated Content
I’m sure after getting to know so much about user-generated content, you will easily be able to utilize it as per your needs.
It’s this kind of content that can garner a lot of attention for you and your blog.
Follow the above-mentioned suggestions to take the assistance of UGC to come up with diverse, authentic, and engaging blog posts.
When you let your audience know that you have your finger on the pulse and can give them fresh, relevant, and engaging content, they’ll appreciate you for it, and you’ll soon become an authority.