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How to Increase Your Engagement with User Generated Content

Social media content that is created by users who do not receive paid compensation can be considered “user-generated content,” or UGC. It can be anything from a simple photo, video, answer to a specific question, or anything in between. Optimally, this content is publicly accessible and can be used as a citable reference. UGC campaign posts, when done right, have a personal feel to them, and easily resonate with audiences. They spark discussions in the comments section of posts as well as peer-to-peer sharing. By including some thoughtfully curated UGC posts, you allow your audience to relate themselves to it – to Army National Guard soldier life. According to research, UGC has been found to be 50% more trustworthy, 35% more memorable, and 20% more influential to its audience.


How to Get Started

Just ask

Soldiers take great pictures and if you see that someone has tagged you in a photo, or you see an image you like, sometimes it’s easiest to ask the person if you can use it. Comment on their post or send them a direct message. Tell them you will give them credit in the actual post and say that you’d like to feature their photo on your social media page.

Search hashtags

If your state has a specific hashtag such as “#iGuardOhio” or “#RecruitTheHomeTeam” search those hashtags to find interesting photos. Then ask if you can use them. Typically, if someone has tagged you in a photo you can use it without asking; just make sure to give them credit. If someone asks you to remove a photo of theirs, then do so.

Encourage user-generated content

Create posts to share that ask people to submit their photos and a quote about what the photo is. Users can comment on Facebook with their photo on quote, tag you on Instagram, and reply to a tweet you post. Gather this content in a Word document to pull from each month.

Start with who you know

It may be challenging to get submissions, so create your own user-generated content to encourage others. Go to a drill weekend or RSP and ask your soldiers if you can take a picture of them (preferably in action) and get a quote about their Guard experience. Share that as a post and ask followers to submit their photos and quotes.