by Megan Crowder, Marshall Communications Account Coordinator

As you know, in today’s marketplace social media should be one of your top priorities when it comes to building relationships with current and prospective customers. Digital marketing and communicating your brand and business messages to target audiences is efficient and effective using social media. For some, taking the plunge and adding social media to the marketing mix can seem overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve chosen the right platforms, determined your unique brand personality and developed a voice that stands out from competitors, it’s time to start warming up to social techniques that will increase reach and engagement, but won’t take up too much of your time. One time-saving technique is to utilize user-generated content to your brand’s advantage.

Chart showing a 1 2 3 listOnce you’ve developed a solid fan base, these fans can actually be your strongest brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are a lot like a parent whose child plays sports. They show up at every game and are the loudest fans in the stands when it comes to supporting their child. Let your fans be your brand ambassadors! They will be actively liking, sharing and commenting on your pages and will always be the first to tell their friends about what your company is or isn’t doing. Foster these ambassadors with these three easy steps:

  • Encourage
    Start by acknowledging that you have fans, express your gratitude to them, and write posts that lead them to start sharing content related to your brand. Everyone loves to see pictures they post shared by their favorite company. In each social media biography section, add a hashtag you’ve created (always test your hashtag to see what other “types” of posts are using it), along with a small disclaimer—Tag your photos #yourbrandhashtag to give us permission to repost—so that when a fan uses the hashtag they give your business the rights to use that photo. Once fans see your biography and that others are tagging their photos with your hashtag, then they will, too. Make sure to keep an eye out for anyone using your tag or tagging similar topics, then draw their attention to you by either liking or commenting on their photos.
  • User-Generated Campaign
    As more and more of your fans start tagging their pictures with your hashtag, create a user-generated campaign to get more fans involved. Cross-promote or advertise your hashtag on all your social accounts and say what fans will receive in return for using your tag. When starting a user-generated campaign, share photos that fans are submitting with your designated hashtag. Once there is a following with your hashtag, then it’s time to start offering prizes or giveaways for tagging.
  • Stay Active
    Staying on top of all user-generated content that’s being shared can seem overwhelming. But, actively liking, commenting, sharing and engaging is the number one task to leverage user-generated content. Much of the time there are fans out there that aren’t tagging their photos correctly, so look for these silent brand ambassadors. Keeping up to date on all key words about your brand, tags and the conversation will help you connect with these unnoticed fans.