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UGC Can Strengthen the Relationship Between Your Social Media and Content Marketing

by Jake Athey  |  
January 27, 2015
  |  1,400 views

For marketers, there is no hope for social media without superb content, and there is no better medium for distributing content than on social media.

We're stuck with this "arranged marriage," which is why it's time to do some relationship counseling.

Currently, the dynamic is too one-sided: Content marketers make stuff, the social marketers have to distribute it, and the audience is supposed to consume and share it with other people. The audience has minimal influence on the content, and social marketers seem aloof.

The dynamic creates a lecture, not a conversation.  

If you want a healthy, loving, and fruitful relationship between social media and content marketing, you have to make the conversation two-sided by adding user-generated content (UGC) to the mix. The people who believe in your brand (i.e., your customers) will get to define what you are to the wider world. Your new task is to collect UGC from social media, deliver it to the content marketers, and then re-distribute it in a curated, awesome form.


Instead of waxing on about how wonderful UGC is, let's talk through a proven model for collecting UGC and using it.

Creating a Mission

To collect UGC, you have to put people on a mission where the intrinsic value of participating is just as compelling as the reward. The act of sharing this content is secondary to the journey of creating it.


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Jake Athey is VP of marketing at at digital asset management (DAM) software provider Widen Enterprises, where he has worked with CRM, campaign management, DAM, email, blogging, and social media management platforms.

Twitter: @JakeAthey

LinkedIn: Jake Athey

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  • by Mary Thu Jan 29, 2015 via web

    Any advice for collecting/using UGC that's NOT video? For some companies, video is a high barrier to entry for their audience or customers that are consuming their content. Just curious if you had any ideas that you've seen that are successful.

  • by Jake Athey Fri Jan 30, 2015 via web

    Hi Mary, great question! I have seen some brands big and small (and our own) find creative ways to inspire, collect and use UGC that's not video. Holding contests or "challenges" through promotions and events is a great way to inspire the capturing of authentic UGC experiences. We've seen MINI, Schwinn and Travel Wisconsin do a nice job with this.

    Get customers to share their photos on Instagram and encourage the use of your #hashtag by offering an incentive during the life of the promotion. You can automate the capture of this content for your own marketing use with the help of IFTTT and Dropbox.

    That way, you can use the high quality content on your other social networks and branded content platforms. With proper engagement, this cycle can produce some really strong imagery for any size marketer.

    Learn more about this automation blueprint on my blog at goo.gl/o3iyPt or @jakeathey. I'd be happy to share more sample recipes to help automate the collection of UGC.

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