User Generated Content: How to Make your Customers the Star of the Show

Matt Lederman
June 9, 2023

A high quality photo software, combined with effective marketing to encourage photo sharing, can help Tour and Attraction companies spread word of mouth at low cost using the concept of User Generated Content.

At RocketRez, we are big movie fans.   

The 1990s were arguably the peak decade for cultural impact of blockbuster theatrical releases. Big movie stars commanded 20 million dollar paydays, endorsements, and late night talk show segments. Several of the biggest stars transcended acting to gain worldwide celebrity status.

Here are a few high-performing 90s theatrical releases by tickets sold:

These movie stars had enormous celebrity influence and could command large endorsement deals as a spokesperson for a brand.

Expanding Reach 

Flash forward to the year 2021, and we are seeing a major shift in popular media.

Though it may be tough to admit, the biggest stars in the world are growing their following on social media channels – interacting directly with their fans. The reliance on big studio production and expensive distribution of content is slowly eroding. The next Will Smith may not be an action movie star in the traditional sense, but rather a popular creator on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.

The reach these social channels provide a popular star is stunning. For example, sixteen-year-old TikTok star Charli D’Amelio has 115.7 million followers on TikTok. To put that in context, just shy of 100 million people watched the 2020 Superbowl, one of the most watched in history.

Social Savvy  

Understanding the nuances of social channels is very important for modern performers – and can be very profitable.  

In this New York Times profile, we learn that Drake’s 'Hotline Bling' music video was created with the goal of giving fans a good “blank canvas” to make their own memes. Using lots of sparse background and silly dance moves, anyone with a basic photo or video editing understanding could let their imagination run wild.  

This was an effective strategy. The video has over 1.5 billion views on YouTube, enough to join the top 100 most viewed clips in the site’s history.  

Tours and Attractions - photo software opportunities

As these examples show, modern artists are able to gain a larger following, faster than ever before, by adapting to the style of the emerging social media platforms. Tour and Attraction operators should be aware that this is where your target market is living. People love to share their activities and interests with their friends and get to be the star of the show. 

How can you as a business tap into this trend?  Does it require putting together a big budget for paid ad placements? Does it require an expensive contract with an social media influencer?

We believe the best opportunity is to let your customers expand your social media presence.

Tours and Attractions are highly visual experiences that lend themselves to great photos. Much like Drake – they are a great “blank canvas” to showcase your customers’ creativity. If customers feel that they are a part of the process, they are more likely to share their creation with their social networks. This is a tremendous opportunity for free marketing exposure.   

A modern photo software at your attraction can equip you with the tools you need to turn your own customers into content creators.  

User Generated Content 

The idea we’re talking about today is known as user generated content, which has been defined as:

Any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. Brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels. 

Consumers today have a high bar for authenticity - which is reflected in the following statistics:

  • Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.  
  • A full 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 70 percent trust online consumer opinions.  
  • Nearly 80 percent of people say UGC has a high impact on their purchasing decisions.  

How to Increase Engagement and Revenue from UGC 

Make it look great  

In the age of iPhone, the expectations for photo quality are very high. It’s imperative your photos are displayed in high-resolution. If you are going to include branding, like a logo or watermark - you want to make sure it is minimal. Special effects like a green screen or superimposed graphic can also add to the appeal of the photo. 

Make it easy  

First, it must be easy to access, store and purchase the photo. A frustrating checkout experience can turn away even the most enthusiastic customers.  Second, you must include a downloadable digital version of the photo that is easy to upload to a social media site. Removing all friction to uploading helps to encourage more sharing.

Create a hashtag 

There are countless examples of fun business hashtags that caught on with a large audience. While this is more art than science, it is worth the effort of experimentation in several ways. First, a hashtag batches photos under one heading in your social media dashboard, so you can see and connect with the customers who have used it. Second, it drives people to your page who are curious what the hashtag is about, which can lead to increased conversions.

Include an offer

Finally, a foolproof way to drive engagement is to include an offer. Offering a free photo is a big incentive to drive more photo sharing on social. A prize entry or giveaway can also drive additional business to your attraction.

The trend of user generated content is a large opportunity for Tours and Attractions, but requires a shift in industry thinking from traditional ways to monetize photos. Taking cues from today's media superstars can help illustrate the surprising outcomes that may happen if you let your customers become the stars of the show.

Interested to know more about how RocketRez customers are increasing revenue and reducing management time spent with RocketPhoto? Click here to learn more!

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Matt Lederman
Marketing Manager