Behind each visual posted online is the creative mindset of a digital content creator. In any case, this does not mean the content creator is a brand marketer or CEO. They are often bloggers, influencers, and average frequent purchasers of your brand that want to share their experiences with others through reviews.
Content creators are discovered when they post user-generated content (“UGC”) on social media channels, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. What's the catch? They likely get dozens of requests each day from brands wanting to acquire the rights to repurpose their content.
It’s relatively simple to reach out one time and get permission to post UGC, but what happens after is more important: making that connection.
We provide some tactics to help your brand build meaningful connections with digital content creators and ensure your library of visual assets translate into sale!
The Pareto principle applies in the world of UGC, in which 80% of your content will come from 20% of your creators. How do you encourage 20% of your creators to keep sharing content? You value the talent behind their work.
After you have found UGC that matches your brand requirements, make an effort to get to know the creator personally. For instance, if you're in the tourism industry, investigate the story behind the visual. At what age did they start traveling? What country is next on their list? What inspired them to visit your destination?
Repurpose these answers into direct quotes or short stories by placing them in the caption of your social media posts. Visual and written components that come from your creators will increase the validity of your content and show you value their authenticity, creativity, and expressiveness.
Instead of spending money on a survey, use what is already at your fingertips: your creators' thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
Suppose your hospitality brand is trying to gather feedback on a new boutique hotel that has just launched. You find a user-generated photo on Instagram that shows off the cozy yet well-maintained interior of the room. Where do you go from there?
· Identify the creator
· Thank them for sharing a photo of your hotel
· Request the rights to the content
· Ask them for feedback on how their experience could be improved
Although asking a selection of your creators isn’t enough to tell whether a new product or service will be a success, you can still gain some valuable insights and make your creators feel heard. Remember, no one knows your target market better than your existing customers (even if you think you do yourself!).
The #1 rule for brand success is the ability to retain customers. The cost to nurture your existing customer base and turn them into repeat purchasers is more cost-effective than trying to dish out the time and money to acquire new leads.
One way to turn your digital content creators into repeat purchasers is to make them feel like an “insider." Are you about to launch a spring sale with 15% off? Give your creators access to the discount code a week early as VIP members. Are you a restaurant coming out with a limited-time menu? Show behind-the-scenes content of what the dishes will look like that the public won’t see until release day.
In the cases above, you don’t have to spend a dime to make your creators feel high status. Give them an offering that they find desirable, and, in turn, you will build brand affinity. In other words, your creators will have more of a reason to choose your brand based on the first-class offerings they receive.
Beyond creating upstanding content is building, nurturing, and maintaining connections with digital content creators. When both sides of a partnership are satisfied, they better focus on their respective strengths. Content creators excel at sharing their brand experiences through UGC, and brands succeed when they focus on what is behind that content—the creator.