The images and videos people share of your event are a rich source of free marketing material, but what do you need to know before you share someone else’s experience with your followers?

User-generated content (UGC) is attracting a lot of attention in marketing circles around the world. And it’s not surprising when you consider its many advantages. We know people trust other people, which is why peer-to-peer review sites like TripAdvisor and Foursquare have flourished in recent years. The same is true of social media. In fact, a recent study shows 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than brand-created content.

Another advantage is in the name: user-generated. This means your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds could be packed with potentially free promotional material, which can be used alongside the content you create internally.

Here’s an essential round-up of the dos and don’ts you need to be aware of when it comes to posting UGC content to promote your event.

DO ask permission when reposting other people’s Instagram content

Instagram’s terms of service state that you’re responsible for the content you post. So while the person who posted the content originally owns the copyright, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have permission to use it on your profile. Secure permission by:

1. Commenting on the post – for example, “Great snap, mind if we share with our followers?”
2. Sending a direct message along with the post you are referring to. Go to the post you want to share, click on the icon that looks like a paper airplane and type in the name of their account to DM them.

DON’T forget to credit the Instagram account you are sharing content from

Reposting from Instagram requires a third-party app, and there are plenty out there – like Regram, Repost and InstaRepost – so pick one to add to your event marketing social media toolkit. Many will automatically credit the original Instagrammer by adding a watermark to the image or including their account name (for example @EventbriteUK) in the post caption.

DO introduce a hashtag campaign to generate shareable content

It’s always best to ask for consent before sharing UGC, but there are times when followers expect to be reposted or featured on your event’s social channels. And that’s when they have tagged their post with a unique branded hashtag that you have created.

It’s all about creating a conversation your followers can contribute to. Invite them to use your event’s hashtag and, not only are they in with a chance of being featured on your channels, you get an easy way to search for imagery from your event.

DO make friends with everyone

Remember that there are different types of creators and their content can be used in different ways. Retweeting an influencer who is talking about your event can earn you substantial kudos, but your followers also privilege comments from ‘real-world’ people. Make sure you share content that represents a mix of sources each with their own interests and unique take.

DON’T just stick to reposting

We’ve said it before, but we will say it again. It’s about starting a conversation. Talk to the people who consistently share good stuff on social – could you invite them to run a takeover of your accounts, do they have more images they could send you?

Start curating UGC so that you have a library to call on in quiet times between campaigns. As always, reach out and ask to repost an image, video or comment – whether it’s on your site or your social accounts – and always check how the person would like to be credited and, if appropriate, offer to include a link to their website or portfolio.

Armed with a phone and a social account, everyone becomes a storyteller. Rather than being an observer, start playing a part in shaping and sharing those stories by tapping into the UGC that’s already out there. Drop by EventTribe – our online community for event organisers –  with any more UGC related questions you may have.

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