By Ben Hollom

People like having their opinion heard and social media gives them a great opportunity to express it. This gives brands the chance to make user-generated content work to their advantage if they know how to use it.

Great content drives engagement and various studies have shown that users are willing to engage with content that comes from peers and other users, Econsultancy blog says. This holds true both for new and existing customers, so knowing how to make users become brand ambassadors is the key to success.

However, brands should make sure they present users with a simple but clear call for action. Just keeping quiet and hoping for users to do the job themselves would not work. Instead, users need to be motivated to get engaged. The call to action should do two things — clearly state the precise type of content the brand would like to see (pictures, tweets, videos) and provide an incentive for posting it.

The quality of the user-generated content could present a problem. The basic parameters of the content such as the tone should be clearly set very early in the campaign by providing sample images that could help users understand what exactly the brand is looking for.

The key for increasing engagement is to make content valuable to a broader audience and not just to people who take part. A clever way to ensure that more users are interested is to offer an incentive not just to users who contribute content but also to those who view content, Econsultancy noted.

Ben Hollom

June 26, 2013