When it comes to social media and promoting your brand, you can see great results from non-professional photos captured on smartphones (your own photos or photos from your followers). Not everything needs to be well-produced to be effective.

Read on to learn more about why non-professional photos are so important. You’ll also find some tips on how to get more user-generated content.

Benefits of Non-Professional Photos

When you’re gathering photos to post on your social media feeds, you may initially gravitate toward those that are heavily posed and edited. They look more professional and they paint you and your team in the best light, right? Not necessarily.

Including some non-professional photos in the mix can improve your image and boost your brand. Here are some of the top reasons why you ought to incorporate non-professional photos into your marketing strategy:

Add Authenticity and Personality

Posed and edited photos look nice. However, they don’t really say much about how you are or who’s behind your business.

When you include some candid shots in your social media feeds, it’s easier for people to get a sense of who’s running the show and what they’re about. This can make you appear more authentic and endearing to members of your audience.

Share Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Incorporating more candid, non-professional photos into your social media marketing strategy also makes it easier for you to share behind-the-scenes footage and be more transparent with your audience.

When you make an effort to be transparent and honest with your target customers, they’re going to be more interested in working with you, learning about your brand, and buying what you’re selling.

Connect to Your Audience in a New Way

Using non-professional photos on social media can make it easier for you to connect with your audience, too. People might not have a lot to say about a heavily posed and edited professional shot, so they may choose not to “like” or comment on the post at all.

When it comes to fun, non-professional shots, they tend to invite more conversation and engagement. This helps to boost your social media presence overall and could potentially result in more leads and conversions.

Benefits of User-Generated Content

When it comes to adding authenticity to your brand and making it more appealing to others, user-generated content can play an important role.

The term “user-generated content” or USG refers to images or videos created by your followers featuring your products or your brand in some way. This content isn’t made by your business directly, and it usually isn’t “professional quality,” but it still promotes your brand and helps to spread the word about what you have to offer.

The following are some of the greatest benefits that USG has to offer:

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Often, consumers are more inclined to purchase certain products or services if a friend or family member tells them about it than if they see an ad on their own.

User-generated content is a digital form of word-of-mouth marketing. After all, if someone is willing to take a picture of themselves using a product and post it online, it must be pretty good, right?

Grow Your Audience

When your followers create content featuring your brand and tag you in it, they spread the word about your products or services farther than you would be able to on your own.

As your online reach expands, so does the size of your audience. This, in turn, creates more opportunities for you to build your business, generate new leads, and potentially convert new customers.

Get Free Content

User-generated content also provides you with free content for your social media profiles. These non-professional, candid photos and videos can be repurposed on your stories or even on your feed.

Most people love to have their content shared by the brands they love, especially if they’re tagged in the posts. It helps them build their own audiences and helps them to feel appreciated (which can lead to more customer loyalty).

How to Get More User-Generated Content

Now that you know more about the benefits of user-generated content, are you interested in getting more for your social media feeds? If so, here are some tips that can help:

Search for Existing Fan Content

Start by searching for content your audience members may have already created. Search for hashtags related to your business, as well as the hashtags you use most frequently in your posts. This can help you to find recent content that you can reshare on your social media feeds.

Use Strong Calls to Action

In your social media profiles, make sure you include strong calls to action that invite people to create content for your brand. Invite them to photograph themselves with your products, for example, or encourage them to use your brand’s hashtag.

You can also include these calls to action in other places, such as in the captions of your posts or on your social media stories.

Host a Contest

Nothing gets people fired up and eager to create user-generated content quite like a contest. If you want to get some exciting new user-generated content and build your audience, host a contest and offer a special prize to a few people who post a photo of themselves with your products.

Be sure to include a rule that says they have to tag your business’s profile and use a specific hashtag, too. This will help you expand your reach and maximize your brand’s benefits from the contest.

Regularly Shout Out Creators

Finally, don’t forget to shout out the creators who have taken time to take photos and tag your band. If they say they love a product or are excited about the service they just received, thank them for their business and let them know you can’t wait to work with them again.

Remember, if your followers see that you’ve shouted out others, they’ll be more interested in creating content of their own in the hopes that you’ll shout them out as well.

Start Using More Non-Professional Photos Today

Clearly, non-professional photos have a distinct place within your brand’s social media marketing strategy.

If you want to get more non-professional photos from your followers (in the form of user-generated content), be sure to follow the steps listed above. They’ll help you to see the best results.

Image source: Unsplash