Modern audiences resonate with something more authentic than traditional marketing content. People tend to like having a sense of relatability with the media they consume. Social media brings the ability to foster personal connections to a user’s fingertips. Brands can extend their reach by meaningfully engaging users and their content.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: UGC (user generated content) helps build trust. Check out our UGC basics blog from June here. In the digital age, UGC can be viewed as “modern day word-of-mouth,” an organic way to spread awareness on social media and other channels.
UGC for Tourism Marketing
Let’s get specific here about our marketing niche and how UGC can be especially strong for promoting tourism to destinations. Hearing directly from real people about their stories and experiences often encourages individuals to act. “DIY” storytelling, an emerging trend amongst tourists, promotes personal testimonials about destinations to potential visitors. Users are 8.5 percent more likely to engage when presented with UGC, and 70 percent expressed considering user reviews before making purchasing decisions.
Here are a few more appeals of UGC:
- More memorable than generic or branded media.
- Acts as social proof that your destination is enjoyable.
- Establishes a sense of trust and credibility.
- Builds an online community of engaged users.
- Fosters emotional connections and strong relationships.
Bonus benefit of UGC for tourism marketers: You cut way back on the logistical difficulties of shooting video in a destination that may not be where you are located. At Verdin Marketing, for instance, we work with destinations all over California, and although we visit all of our communities often, creating frequent social media content becomes easier when we recruit others spending time in those areas.
Encouraging & Utilizing UCG
Using UGC in social media marketing is unquestionably effective. Consistently finding new material created by users and properly implementing it into an effective marketing strategy, however, can sometimes prove challenging. Users feel most compelled to post about experiences that have a lasting impact, and they tend to feel most encouraged to click through something that emotionally resonates.
Below are a few best practices to optimize UGC:
- Choose the Right Platform, and Lean in to Video
Engagement may vary depending on the channel you choose. Different social media platforms have different strengths and cultures. Facebook is ideal for longer forms of content like stories and multi-photo galleries. Instagram can be a strong platform for scenic photography, while both Instagram and TikTok are heaping with short-form videos known for virality. More and more across all platforms, video is becoming king, so keep that in mind when hunting for content to share. Recognize which channels your audience engage with most as well as where your brand has the most followers to ensure optimal participation. Creating a thoughtful network and environment on social media will promote more meaningful engagement.
- Adopt a Hashtag
Associating a specific hashtag with content relating to your destination is a clear way to encourage users to get involved with your brand’s social media. People can feel like their posts are more discoverable, and marketers can easily look through relevant posts. The more unique and memorable a hashtag is, the more effective it will likely be.
Visit Santa Ynez Valley, a destination in central California, primarily features UGC on Instagram. The organization’s biography on the platform reads, “Use #SYVibes for a chance to be featured,” showing users how they can get involved as soon as visiting the profile. The hashtag hosts more than 14,000 posts, and is gaining more daily. Adopting a hashtag is a great way to encourage the sharing of UGC, and it also just makes it easier to find.
- Just Ask
A majority of consumers appreciate when a brand communicates what content they want to see users create for eventual resharing. Explaining details about what content your brand is looking for provides explicit directions to individuals interested in participating. Try creating a social media contest that asks consumers to submit something specific.
One example is Yeti and Traeger Grills’ Instagram collaboration asking people to post photos of their barbecue setup and tag the brands’ social media accounts. Beyond extending reach and increasing engagement, this tactic will also generate specific UGC content that the brands can use in future campaigns.
Putting It into Practice
When seeking to work UGC into your feed, there are a few steps. First, finding content. Searching hashtags and location geotags on social media is a common method to find user-created photos and videos. Third-party software CrowdRiff is also a helpful tool in collecting destination UGC.
Once you’ve found some content, reach out to the creators asking for permission to use what they’ve produced for your own brand. Our agency’s content strategist describes UGC as a “compelling approach,” because it takes a bit of time to compile and gain permissions, but the end result gives brands’ profiles an authentic look that really draws people’s interest.
Subscribe to the Verdin Headlines e-newsletter and follow us on social media! To learn more using UGC for social media tourism marketing, email Mary at [email protected].