Affiliate marketing lives and dies on word-of-mouth. The more your customers share photos, videos, and blog posts about your product or service, the easier it is to a) find new affiliates; and b) help your affiliates convert traffic to sales. Let’s dive into how you can help encourage a slew of user generated content.
Create Your Own Content Examples
What type of content works best for your company? Is it photos? Video? A write up? It’s a good idea to create the type of content that you think puts your product or service in the best light first, to give your customers a sort of template for future user generated content.
Instagram is a great example of putting this idea to work. Your Instagram feed should portray your company the way you want others to portray it. Take Fitbit for example.
This Instagram feed shows someone working out, shots of the product; those are obvious. But it also tells you they do a lot of videos (4 out of the 9 posts), they do meme-ish posts, they seem to like pastels, and post creative interpretations of the product (seashells). This is a language for their followers. And if any followers want to get reposted or followed back or, say, become an affiliate, they know the language to use to represent the product and the company.
Provide Content to Use and Remix
Your users will take stills and video of your product in the wild, but it’s also a good idea to provide them with glamour shots of your logo, your products, and your products in use. It makes life easier for bloggers and reviewers to create content.
Apple is, of course, the master of this. They offer plenty of photos of their sexy products (as well as a laundry list of guidelines for how they’re to be used).
You don’t have to be as all-encompassing (or strict) as Apple is, but take cues from them and make it really easy for people to find the right images that look professional.
The NBA is another great example of this. They noticed that fans have been remixing their basketball footage for years and instead of clamping down on these fan edits (like Nintendo did in years past), they’ve embraced it. So much so that they’re launching a platform for just these fan videos. Letting your users have fun with your content will lead to higher engagement.
Will some haters use these images for nefarious purposes? Yes. But they’re going to do them anyway, and providing content to remix will lead to great user-generated content, as long as people are happy with your business.
Curate Your Own #Hashtag
Obvious, but easier said than done. Social media is a crowded place and it’s hard to “own” a hashtag. It has to be specific and general at the same time, not a common phrase people already use, and better if your business or product/service name is not in it (since you’ll already be using this hashtag).
But as you can imagine, the benefits of being associated with a popular hashtag is huge in associating user generated content to your business. So first, see what hashtags your customers are already using on social media. Pick the most popular ones that work for your brand and start including that hashtag in your posts as a way to put your “stamp of approval” on it. This way, it’ll inspire others to use that hashtag more often instead of other possibilities.
To go a step further, you can pick a particularly good post each day and comment with #[yourhashtag]postoftheday. This will tell your followers that you will be highlighting great posts which will inspire them to a) post more, and b) use that hashtag as well.
Start a Contest
Here is when you directly ask your customer base to create content, but do it in a fun way. From a caption contest to viral challenges to video responses, people want to get in on the fun; especially if there is a prize involved.
Send Free Samples to Your Top Affiliates
Giving out freebies isn’t the easiest thing to do. Besides the cost of the product or service, there are shipping costs to consider. You’re also walking a fine line of appearing to play favorites. This is why it’s a good idea to send free samples to affiliates you already have a relationship with.
When you give your top affiliates free samples, be sure to ask them to create content using their freebies. Be it an unboxing video, or product review, or just posting images on social media; this way you know you’ll get some user generated content from people who are already your fans (and already your clients).
Yes you can give out products to potential influencers, but they should be considered second tier after your actual affiliates since you never know if the influencers will actually use/post your samples. And this way, you can work with your affiliates to create great content that you are both satisfied with.