How to use user-generated content to spark social conversation

Let’s be honest. Every social media marketer dreams about the day when the video, picture, gif, or post will go “viral.”

NOTE: Viral is in quotes because it’s such a gross, ugly term for something so desired online. Going viral won’t make you sick. It won’t cause the stocks for Kimberly-Clark to soar through the roof. It’ll only make you get people talking.

Today’s online users are living in a world of content overload. There are blogs, articles, press releases, emails, and social media content.

Social media content is easier to digest, faster to scroll through, and sometimes filtered to their liking (read: Facebook algorithms keep going crazy).

Still, the overload of social media posts is enough to make people’s heads spin. Marketers struggle to stand out among it all.

Enter: GoPro

GoPro is a small camera that you can put through the wringer on mountain bike trails, dive missions and rock climbing adventures. It’s flown on drones and jumped out of planes. There’s not a lot that this little camera can’t do and users LOVE it.

The average user turns on his GoPro to capture funny moments, document adventure and even send the GoPro places that he’s too scared (or can’t) go.

Here’s a fun little collection of those videos to give you a taste of where the GoPro is going.

The Age of User-Generated Content

Content-creation is one of the hardest things to tackle on the to-do list for many entrepreneurs. That’s partly because it’s hard to “get to” in your daily grind. It’s also because it’s a task that’s never finished. Once one blog is created, you have to start coming up with ideas for the next exciting post you’re going to write.

More and more content marketers are reaching for user-generated content to fill the gaps and spark conversation. GoPro has led the way in championing user-generated content. See the examples above for proof. These videos were all shot by people who BOUGHT the product and took the time to CREATE a display of what it can capture.

Ever wonder how to get ROI from social media marketing? This is the secret sauce.

Sure, your product probably isn’t quite as easy to buy and use to capture adventure like a portable video camera, but there are a few ways you can use the user-generated content trend in your social media marketing.

Ask your customer to tell her story.

Give your customer a voice by telling her story about how her life became better after buying what you sold. Most people love having the chance to talk about themselves.

Send her a few quick questions to answer, ask for pictures, and there you have it! The best part about this is she will share her published story with her friends and spread the word for you.

Give a public high-five out of the blue.

Your customer won’t always tell you about their great accomplishment. It’s up to you to watch out for it on social media through mentions, and by following the people you work with. When you see her succeed at something great, promote it your social media.

You’ll put your customer in the spotlight and they’ll publicly thank you for it.

Hold a contest.

Okay this is a little ‘old-school’ but it’s something that still gets people’s mojo running. Everyone loves to win something. If you have a fun prize on the line, chances are your customers will respond.

Here’s an example of how this can work. It’s a Pinterest example because I love Pinterest! Ask your customers to pin to a board on Pinterest with items related to what you sell. For example, if you are a wedding gown dry cleaner, create a contest where your customer pins her favorite wedding trends to a Pinterest board. The only rule? She has to pin a picture of the wedding gown you dry cleaned for her too and tag you in the post.

Start a hashtag.

Be careful when doing this as hashtag campaigns can backfire. But if you’re smart about it, people will start creating content for you online using your hashtag.

One real-life example of this done very, very well is #100HappyDays. This was started by Dmitry Golubnichy after he quit his job and traveled the world. He found himself in a slump and sad so he created a daily post with the hashtag #100HappyDays to give himself something happy to share on social media every day. People loved it, they followed suit and now it’s a phenomenon online.

User-generated content is an easy and enormously effective way at getting people involved with your brand. Have you ever run a user-generated content campaign? Tell me about it!


About the author: Kimberly Crossland


Kimberly Crossland has an unnatural obsession with marketing and wordsmithing. She spends her days creating content that inspires people click, share, and buy. Get more copywriting and content marketing tips by signing up for her email list at

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