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A brand advocacy program is an essential piece of a marketing strategy. Brands like Taco Bell and DoorDash have successfully leveraged brand advocates. There are so many benefits to encouraging your already loyal customers into an ambassador program, not only to help you promote your brand more but also to give them the option to connect with the brand they love on a deeper level with exclusive news or special perks.

One aspect of a brand advocate program that can be highly beneficial to a brand is user-generated content (UGC.) UGC is content that the customer creates, whether social media posts, photography, video or written content. With permission, brands can repost this content or use it in their marketing efforts — at a much lower cost than other ads.

How to encourage brand advocates to create user-generated content

Ask them to share their experiences on social media

An easy way to encourage customers and advocates to share their UGC is simply asking them to do it. Seems too simple, right? It’s not. Many customers would love to connect with their favorite brands online. Imagine a brand that you love resharing your content. It feels great! 

You can encourage people to share on social media in many ways. Start by asking them to use a branded hashtag or tagging the brand. You can then reshare their content in your stories or your profile (with permission). If a piece of content is high quality, you can even ask the customer if you could use that on your website or in a branding piece coming out soon. 

Gamify their experience

Getting people to interact with your brand is even easier if you make it fun. Gamifying UGC through challenges, giveaways, puzzles and contests can be incredibly motivating. For example, the mattress brand Casper made a fun puzzle for millions of commuters to figure out on their way home from work. On a chaotic train, commuters solved a puzzle and interacted with the brand. Plus, many people shared that with their social media followers or friends, creating even more brand awareness through a simple game on a train.

Reward UGC 

You can also inspire customers to create content to win a contest or some sort of perk. You can create a points system in which customers earn points or rewards by interacting with a brand on social media, following them, playing games on the brand’s app, sharing photos, watchin brand content about products, and more. Then provide them with discounts or perks on your products. This is a low-cost, high-reward tactic for the brand and a fun way to interact with your customers. 

You can also ask for UGC by offering free products, compensation or discounts. This is more common with influencer partnerships versus advocacy programs, but it can still be an inexpensive way to get new UGC from your ambassadors. 

How to repurpose user-generated content

Once you’ve gotten high-quality UGC from your advocates, you’ll want to repurpose it in the best way for your brand. Repurposing UGC can be done in multiple ways, including:

  • Resharing content on social media
  • Using content in ads, with usage rights
  • Sharing photos or sentiment in your marketing campaigns, including email, print, social media or on your website
  • Including videos on your social media or website

UGC is an integral part of an authentic marketing campaign, but you’ll want to be sure you’re asking for permission to share or setting up guidelines for how you’ll be sharing people’s content. Some influencers may ask for payment, while other advocates may just ask to be credited or referenced.