People love social media. They love to take photos of their adventures and upload them on various social channels to share their experiences with their friends and family. This is especially true of those on vacation, which leaves a great opportunity for hotels! This type of content is known as User Generated Content (USG). USG can be way more helpful in terms of exposure for a business For every social media channel, there is a way to find USG. Here is how to get your hands on these photos from all of the major social media channels:
The most common place to check for USG on Facebook is under “Check ins”. To view who has checked into your hotel, click ‘Notifications’ at the top of your Facebook profile. On the left-hand side click 'Activity' then click on 'Check-ins". Here, you will be able to view all public check-ins. While not all photos will have user generated content attached, the majority of the time user's usually upload a photo and then check-in, giving you access to their content. You also want to check your profile for any USG. Guests can post their own photos to your posts or they can leave them as comments. If your hotel has a brand specific hashtag, you can also explore the feed.
The first place to check for USG is on the search page. Type in the name of your hotel and then click on 'Places.' This will give you all of the photos that people have posted who have checked in to your hotel on Instagram. The top area is reserved for the most popular, but once you scroll past the first black the photos will be shown from latest to oldest. If you have a brand specific hashtags you can also search that hashtag feed.
On Twitter, you will want to closely monitor your mentions. Many times when people are sharing their photos, they will tag the actual location. Keep an eye out for any useful USG. You are also able to search for users talking about your hotel by entering hotel name as a keyword in the search box. Make sure to look at both 'Top Tweets' and 'Latest' to see what's out there about your hotel. Finally, if you have a brand specific hashtag be sure to also search that feed.
Pinterest no longer has Place Pins, so finding USG on this channel is a little more difficult. Instead, you have to search by keywords. If you hotel has an uncommon name, it will be easier for you to search just using the name of your hotel. If you hotel has a generic name or one that could possibly be associated with something else, it might take you a little more time. You can also search your brand specific hashtag.
If you don't already, you can encourage users to share their photos and videos with you either directly on a post or by using a brand specific hashtag. When choosing a hashtag, make sure that it is not currently being used by another brand to avoid confusion.
Asking for permission
It’s always a good idea to ask for permission when your company plans to use a guest’s photo on your social media channels. You can do this by reaching out to the guest either by direct message or even simply by commenting on their photo and asking. The exception would be when guests submit their photos directly to a post or with a hashtag where you have asked them to share their photos. In addition, you don't need to ask for permission if you are retweeting a tweet on Twitter, regramming a photo on Instagram, or sharing a post on Facebook.
How to Use User Generated Content
When it comes to USG, the best way to use these photos is by sharing them on your social media channels. Always give the photographer a shoutout and you can even tag them if you have their username. USG posts give potential guests an inside look at your hotel and what the experience is like from an actual guest. A happy bonus is that USG posts tend to receive higher engagement! Keep in mind that you want to be careful about using these photos on ads or directly on your website, as this begins to move into commercial use territory. You may need explicit written permission for this.
While not all USG will be available to you due to privacy settings, these tips are a good place to get started.