No matter how you slice it, people love social media. They love keeping up with people in their lives and staying up-to-date with the latest information. And more importantly, 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 (UGC) and you’re going to want to keep an eye out for it.
UGC can be way more useful in terms of exposure for a business compared to the business’ own professional photography. This is because users’ photos are considered ‘real’ and are believed to give a true impression of the hotel. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get your hands on some fresh, original content.
For every social media channel, there is a way to find UGC.
The most common place to check for UGC on Facebook is under “Check-ins”. To view who has checked into your hotel, click ‘Notifications’ at the top of your Facebook profile. Next, click Activity and then Check-ins.
You can also try to search for untagged photos of your hotel using hashtags and the name of the hotel. This can be a little more difficult, especially when searching for the name. If you wish to gather UGC by hashtag in the future, encourage users to use a specific hashtag dedicated to your hotel.
Instagram is one of the easiest and best places to find UGC. From your Instagram profile, click the tagged photo button, as shown below. This area will show you all of the photos that users have tagged your hotel in.
You can also slide your finger from right to left while clicking on your photos.
A second place to find photos from your hotel is to search Places under the Explore section. Simply type in the name of your hotel, click Places, and you will be shown all of the photos taken at your hotel.
Twitter can be a little tricky because not everyone will necessarily tag the business. On Twitter you’ll want to first check your Mentions section to see if there are any tagged photos. After that, you can do a search for keywords that contain your business’ name. For example, if you are E-marketing Associates, you’ll want to first type that in. You’ll also want to try variations of it, such as Emarketing associates.
Type your hotel name in the search bar. From here, you can search All Pins, People, or Boards. This function will search pins that list the keyword you typed (your hotel) as well as very close variations. You can also enter a hashtag and search through those pins as well, though this would probably only be useful if you have a strong hashtag associated with your hotel.
You can also 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.
Using User Generated Content
Once you get your hands on some UGC, it can be used in:
- Social media posts
- Gallery on your website
- Email blasts
- Landing pages
Make sure you have proper permissions when using photos, especially if you plan to use them in a commercial way.
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. 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. Otherwise, err on the side of caution and get written permission to avoid copyright infringement or any other issues.
While not all UGC will be available to you due to privacy settings, these tips are a good start to building your UGC content.