5 Tips to Encourage More Video UGC from Your Customers You Need to Know

Companies are increasingly relying on user-generated content (UGC) to sell their products and services. In short, UGC is any content that is created directly by end users to highlight products. The oldest form of UGC is perhaps the product review.

Companies have used written feedback from customers to sell products for many years. Recently, companies have undertaken unique initiatives to encourage the generation of additional types of UGC, particularly photographs.

While photos are a great way to get attention from potential customers, video may be an even better choice. However, companies may struggle to get this type of content. After all, taking a video involves significantly more time than taking a photo or even writing a review.

Some tips for getting video UGC from customers include:

1. Reach out to top customers.

While making a video can be a big ask of customers, people who are dedicated to your brand may agree to create content. These individuals have already shown that they love your brand and likely have informally recommended the product or service to others. Many of these individuals will welcome the chance to share their love of your brand publicly.

It is important that you have a sense of what exactly you are asking for prior to approaching top customers. A vague ask will likely only confuse people and discourage them from participating. A poorly worded ask could also detract from the existing relationship.

However, when a brand says exactly why it wants a video and provides some context, people will be much more likely to agree. Furthermore, the content will be much more likely to align with the company’s expectations when asks are specific.

2. Provide an example video.

Some customers who would otherwise be happy to create a video for your brand may decide against it if your criteria are too vague. A great way to inspire video UGC is providing individuals with an example video to serve as inspiration for their content. Creating an example video also helps companies guarantee that they will get the type of content they expect.

When you are not specific about what you want, some great content may come in, but it could be inappropriate for use. Asking for content that you do not use could create ill will between the customer and your brand. An example video not only provides some context for the UGC being requested, but can also show people their options for recording.

For example, sending a video made solely with a smartphone and nothing else along with instructions on how to get the best video quality using such a device proves to individuals that they can successfully mimic the content. Do not worry that an example video will stunt people creatively — give parameters for the content you want.

3. Figure out what already exists.

A strategy that you should not overlook when it comes to UGC and video is taking a look at what already exists. Companies can easily research what customers are saying and posting via various social media platforms and other outlets.

Taking the time to do this will give you a sense of how people interact with your brand’s products and could inspire different approaches to UGC that were not previously considered. Various services exist that can help companies monitor what is being said online about them, such as HootSuite, Keyhole, Mention, and Agorapulse.

Taking this step has multiple benefits. On the one hand, brands could find UGC that is perfectly usable and ask for permission. Getting permission is a key step; without it your brand may find itself in hot water for infringing on someone else’s copyright. On the other hand, brands could come across customers with a clear passion and ask for their help in creating UGC. At the very least, brands will get a sense of the sentiment that already exists around a product, which can help inform next steps.

4. Offer an incentive for UGC.

At first, companies may hesitate to offer incentives for UGC, but it is perfectly acceptable to do so. Many brands have administered contests and promotions to generate video UGC, including top companies like GoPro. A wide variety of different types of incentives can be offered, from cash prizes to free products.

You should think about your brand’s identity and what kinds of deals would best align with its values. Running contests allows brands to set very specific parameters for the types of content they receive. Of course, companies can be less formal with their incentives.

For example, a brand may offer a discount on a product in exchange for a promotional video. Companies could also provide a product for free to a customer in order to get video UGC in return. Another approach is offering people equipment they could use in making video UGC, which removes some of the barriers to generating this sort of content.

5. License UGC from a Trusted Partner

There are so many UGC videos created every day, many of them have been curated and made available for licensing by companies like Jukin Media. While it can sometimes be difficult to ask fans to create UGC, and you can’t always rely on searching social platforms (because, let’s face it, the internet is a big place), licensing companies do the work of searching the web for you.

A searchable, sortable library can help you quickly find authentic user-generated video that’s already been vetted for brand safety and quality. Then for a small fee — as low as $49 from Jukin Media’s website depending on the usage — you can download a video clip and use it for your own social media post, YouTube series, or blog.

Jukin Media is one of the largest licensers of viral videos and represents more than 50,000 independent video creators.