Five ways to grow support with user-generated content

Every charity needs good content to help it stand out from the crowd. It gives you creative licence to persuade people to donate, buy or connect.

But, digital marketing teams no longer need to scramble for news to push out. Not if they have a decent advocacy plan in place which encourages supporters to do the storytelling for them.

User-generated content (UGC) is now the key to growing support and unlocking long-term loyalty. If this is new to you, here’s how you can start to unpick the lock:

Prince's Trust Uncut

1. Start with your colleagues

Are they active on social media? Are they following you? Are they shouting about how great the organisation is on their own channels? If you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, perhaps they just need to be reminded.

Use your internal comms to start the conversation (particularly using colleagues who work on the front line and see lots of exciting things that you don’t) or revisit your social media policies to see how people can get involved.

2. Ask your audiences what they think

People like to be asked their opinion. So why not involve supporters by asking questions or setting them challenges to share quotes, memories, images and videos that will raise your profile?

Social media polls on Twitter and Facebook are also good tools to generate extra news hooks to give your content a twist.

3. Be our guest (blogger)

Your website is a powerful resource, but it relies on a steady flow of topical, relevant and evergreen content to keep people coming back.

Don’t put that pressure on yourself; open up your news section to involve third party ‘views’ from supporters, partners and industry experts.

This doesn’t have to involve putting pen to paper either. Experiment with podcast, video diaries and infographics.

4. Don’t post and run

In a wildly busy team, it’s tempting to post your tweet or Instagram and then walk away.

But, the job isn’t finished when you tap publish. Make sure you invest in new followers, as well as those who like, share and comment.

Remember, you own a brand that they want to know more about – which means you’ve got the power to make someone’s day by replying.

5. Give UGC an identity

From developing a hashtag to creating a unique brand concept for your UGC, you’ll remind people that it’s something you welcome and celebrate – and you’ll start to receive more in return.

It’s an approach The Prince’s Trust has recently embraced with its new ‘Uncut’ series. We’ve introduced a video and image stamp to show when a member of our community has created something really special.

Prince's Trust Uncut

We realised that although our team is epic at creating award-winning content, more frequently we were seeing great videos from our community which get to the heart of our values.

They were raw, authentic and inspiring stories told in a completely different way. So, rather than say ‘that’s not how we do things around here’, we decided to secure more of them.

Followers are great for our ego, but advocates have a far better impact.

Advocates care. They’re modern-day champions who are more willing to read emails, sign up to events and pledge donations when you really need them to take action.

So what are you waiting for? Grow your advocacy army today.

This article first appeared on JustGiving – the place where inspiring stories, insights, tips and tools are shared to help charities reach more people, inspire more action and raise more money.

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