How to Use User-Generated Content to Grow Your Show

Creative and design software powerhouse Adobe has mastered incorporating user-generated content into their marketing and social media strategy.

Each month, Adobe gives their loyal Instagram community a theme around which to share visually-stunning content. With each month’s changing focus, the community regularly contributes, engagement and conversation flows, and Adobe has a never-ending supply of fresh content to keep audiences coming back.

For event organizers, the sheer number of marketing channels where potential attendees can discover, research or even advocate about an event has made their jobs that much more challenging. It’s virtually impossible to produce enough content to keep all attendee touchpoints fresh and relevant.

But like Adobe, event organizers can benefit from user-generated content (UGC) to boost event promotion effectiveness and show growth.

UGC is any form of content that isn’t paid for that is created by users about a brand or product, and the authenticity is inherently appealing. Seventy-six percent of individuals surveyed said they trust content shared by “average” people more than by brands, and nearly 100 percent of consumers trust recommendations from others – powerful logic supporting brands and organizers’ decisions to incorporate UGC into marketing and social media strategies.

Here are four ideas about how event organizers can capture and use UGC:

Solicit Insights for Planning

Wondering about the hot-button topics of interest to attendees? Having a difficult time narrowing down keynote speakers? Or just want to know what attendees like most about the event? One easy form of gathering and using user-generated content is to directly solicit event attendees’ feedback and insights.

Collecting this feedback demonstrates an organizer cares about the attendee experience while also providing valuable information to guide future planning.

Collecting information can be as simple as informal conversations with attendees to formal surveys distributed during and post-event.

Collect Testimonials

Nothing is more credible or relevant than an attendee testimonial. A written – or even better – video testimonial from attendees — or even influential speakers —adds social proof to event promotions.

For the best results, capture these during the event when the experience is fresh in guests’ minds. Another option on the rise? Gathering testimonials from chatbot conversations.

Once testimonials are collected, add them to the event website, social media channels and other event promotions.

Crowdsource Event Photos and Videos

Invite event attendees to submit photos and videos sharing their firsthand perspective of the event experience. Encourage participation by providing an event-specific hashtag. Take it a step further through a formal social media contest with a valuable incentive to pump up participation.

Ways to use crowd-sourced photos and videos:

Create a Social Referral Programs

From evangelists who attend year after year to first-time attendees, attendee referrals are one of the most powerful and popular forms of user-generated content.

Studies have shown again and again that peer-to-peer referrals and recommendations have a high-level of trust and authenticity.  Make it easy for attendee “brand ambassadors” to spread the word to their networks by integrating social and email referrals right into the registration process. Add registration and referral incentives to further boost attendance.

A few last tips about creating and using UGC:

Word of mouth marketing is effective. Are you using user-generated content to market your event? Contact us for a demo to learn more about using social referral marketing to drive attendee registration.


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