User-generated content can create brand awareness, build trust, and help you engage with your audience – with less of the heavy lifting.

Family entertainment businesses have no shortage of opportunities for social media gold. But many marketers often feel at a loss for what to post and when.

Some of the beauty of this type of marketing is that it’s more accessible than ever before. While some content should be polished and professional, other posts can and should be organic and edgy.

Photo and video content often increases your reach and generates more engagement than other types. But before you groan that you’ll have to coerce one of your team members to be the “talking head” in your next video series, don’t forget about the untapped potential of user-generated content (UGC). Today, we’re sharing seven tips to help you encourage your guests to create and share pictures and videos.

No. 1: Keep an eye on design.

No one wants to take a picture or create a video that’s boring. So the first tip is to create a space that’s social media-worthy. When it comes to your overall facility design, Doug Wilkerson of Dynamic Designs advises you to start with a story and let your visual design illustrate it. He says, “Stories create interest. Interest creates engagement. Engagement creates experiences. Experiences create relationships, and relationships lead to loyalty. That’s what it’s all about.”

Things like immersive theming, compelling signage, exciting and unique menu items, and thoughtful packaging can help tell your facility’s story and provide opportunities for guests to see themselves in it so they want to tell their friends.

No. 2: Find out what’s already being generated.

When you want to get more UGC, you need to know what types of content are being shared so you can find ways to tap into that creatively. Look at your current social media content. What kinds of posts got the most engagement? What are guests already sharing organically?

From there, do your homework. Conduct a geographical and hashtag search on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to learn what’s being created at and around your facility to get ideas of what’s happening.

No. 3: Make a plan.

Marketing isn’t just throwing spaghetti at the wall (though it can feel like it is!) Start with brainstorming a plan. Consider:

  • Who: Who are we targeting? Who do we want to create content? Who is our audience?
  • Where: Where are they now? Where do we want to be to find and reach them?
  • What: What aspects of our experience do we want them talking about? What types of content are we looking for – videos, pictures, or something else? Which attractions? Menu items? Special offers? Events?
  • When: When are guests likely to create this content? When do we need to reach out to them in order to be timely in asking for it? E.g., the holidays, end of the school year, start of summer, etc.
  • How: How will we ask? How should they share their content? How will you reward them if they do?
  • Why: Why will the audience care or like this content? Why will they post for us?

No. 4: Tap into trends.

Relevancy is the key to getting people to engage with your brand. So, if you’re tapping into “For You” video trends on TikTok, for example, you’re more likely to display for users who watch trending videos. Those efforts build awareness over time and subtly suggests to viewers that you’re a cool place to get social.

Think response videos like “does pineapple go on pizza?” “what’s your toxic trait?” “what’s the key to the perfect hamburger?” and other fun or funny topics you can quickly jump in on.

No. 5: Ask questions.

If you want people to share user-generated content, ask fun questions they’ll want to engage with. Like with design, stories matter here, too. A hotel or airline, for example, asks their audience to share pictures of where they want to go. You could ask for “funniest VR session videos,” “most scared pic from a thrill ride,” or simply for guests to share their family fun day, favorite ride, attraction, or treat they tried and what they loved about it.

No. 6: Make it competitive.

A couple of years ago, during the holidays, Southwest Airlines conducted a social media contest where they held a daily social media photo contest and announced a winner for best photo each day.

A wedding venue I follow held a video contest where prospective brides created a video to try and win a free wedding. These types of contests can win you lots of engagement and fodder for your social growth.

No. 7: Reward submissions.

Just like when using positive reinforcement during training, think about rewarding behaviors that you want to see again. Besides contest prizes, you could offer bonuses, coupons, a free soft drink or dessert, or something else that incentivizes guests for posting on your behalf.

Rewards don’t necessarily have to be tangible, either. You could spotlight posts on your own social media – or even your website – with special content acknowledging the awesome posts.

These quick tips are just a starting point. The more creatively you begin to think about content, the easier it will be to come up with compelling ideas that drive engagement.

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