The power of user-generated content

The Holy Grail of any social media strategy is to gain organic, authentic, user-generated content to really deliver your message. So how do you create something that makes people get their phones out, something spectacular and share-worthy so that they record themselves and share with all their followers? Read on
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The power of user-generated content
Act like a human, not like a brand

In our recent Elevate your Exhibitions webinar, we had a great time chatting with James Brooks (social media expert, consultant and famous food creator) about the changing face of social media and how user-generated content has become a crucial part of marketing strategy for every event, B2B or B2C.

These days, James is in huge demand as a celebrity chef and demonstrator at exhibitions and activations. Why? Well, apart from the fact that his food is fab, he is also a highly respected influencer. Now, whatever you may think about the influencer trend, there is no denying that these content creators are masters of capturing and holding attention on social media, engaging people and keeping them there. And the Holy Grail of any social media strategy is to gain organic, authentic, user-generated content to really deliver your message.

X-ing your potential reach

Working with simplybetter and SharkNinja at a recent event, James was demonstrating his considerable cheffing skills to around 1500 attendees. The stand was spectacular, the food enticing and James entertaining. Now, imagine that a punter comes up to the stand and feels compelled to take a picture or video and say something about it on LinkedIn. You have immediately multiplied the potential reach of your exhibition – and that’s just one person on one platform. If 150 of those people shared pictures or videos with, say, 1000 followers each, that has suddenly elevated your reach from 1500 people to 150,000. What’s more, it’s genuine, user-generated content. It’s humans talking to other humans, not a brand broadcasting a sales message. This type of coverage is priceless.

In fact, it is such an important part of today’s marketing strategy that a lot of big global brands are now spending the majority of their creative budget on paid ads on user-generated content. They are not going into studios anymore, they are going to people who are authentic and engaging in front of camera, good on social media, and letting them create the content. And you can do this at your events!

Make it Instagrammable

So, how do you go about getting this type of attention? Don’t worry, it’s not essential to have a celebrity influencer on your stand. What you really want to do is create something that makes people get their phones out, something spectacular and share-worthy so that they record themselves and share with all their followers. There are two ways of doing this.

  1. The Golden Goose. Creating something that’s completely organic, something so spectacular that you are the best stand in the room. It’s so engaging that people just can’t help but get their phones out, record it and share it. When something is that cool, that’s what you do.
  2. The Fail Safe. Gamify it. Create an interactive experience with an element of competition or incentive. As well as this, make content sharing part of the competition!


Never underestimate the power of an incentive

Prime Hydration Drinks have a great example of this. This wasn’t an event, it was a pop up shop in London where they had created a special Golden Prime Bottle as a prize. All you had to do was go into the pop up, guess the code and whoever guessed correctly won the bottle. People were queueing round the block just to get in, filming themselves in the queue, then putting their code in, then the result. The buzz from something so simple was unprecedented. The hashtag #GoldPrime got 22.6 million views on TikTok alone and they also got a shedload of mainstream press coverage.

But we’re not Prime

I’m sure some of you are thinking, well, we’re not Prime. How can we do something like this? Honestly, the concept still applies whoever you are. You can still innovate, create and incentivise. We tend to get very bogged down with the company and the box we put ourselves in. We need to pop that bubble and think more holistically

Firstly, you need to ditch those silos. For this to work, it’s really important to have seamless collaboration between departments. You’ve got to be partnering up with your exhibition team, your marketing, PR and social media teams to make the most of every opportunity and extend the reach and longevity of your exhibition. Secondly, you need an awareness of popular culture. What’s going on at the moment? Where do people spend their time outside work? What are people interested in? What are they doing on their phones?

Be more human

Businesses tend to act like businesses. They think they are there to broadcast their sales message, using any platform. You need to cut through all that and stop behaving like a brand. Think about what’s current and important to people. How do people interact and relate to each other on a social level? Think how your business can do that. If, as a brand, you can authentically be part of real conversations and be more human about your interactions with people, you will win. It doesn’t have to be one huge, bold, Prime Golden Bottle. It can be baby steps. But it needs to grab people’s attention and be selfie-worthy.

Business cards don’t cut it

This is all about 21st Century connections. If you normally just meet people at your stand and exchange business cards, perhaps it’s time to think how you’re going to connect to these people digitally. Don’t just take their email address. On a social level, people out there aren’t emailing – they’re WhatsApping each other or chatting on Instagram DMs or Snapchat. Yes, by all means email them and follow them on LinkedIn but also join up with your SM team and make sure you are interacting with these folks socially, exchanging with them in a way that’s much more natural and conversational.

One quick win

What is the easiest way to connect with people and get them to talk about you on their socials? Gamify! Digital tech has come so far and is now accessible and affordable, and nobody can resist an incentive. The trick is to be one step ahead of the competition and innovate – and you will be the stand that everyone wants to video, follow and share. So, start thinking of an incentive from your business that everyone would want to get their hands on, and then a fun way to get people to compete to win it. If you need help or a bit of inspiration when it comes to incentives and gamification, just give us a shout. We are experts in creative ideas, innovation and exhibition tech.


experts in innovation

At simplybetter, we don’t just come along, design and build an amazing stand and then leave you to get on with it. We take an all-round, holistic approach. We know what it takes to elevate your exhibitions and give you the most value as possible. It’s our job to disrupt the old, traditional approaches and get creative, showing you new, innovative ways to create better engagement, to stand out from the crowd and to increase the value and longevity of each and every expo stand we deliver. Each one is unique, designed to inspire and to create significant, long term change.

Check out our knowledge hub for ideas, inspiration and expert advice on delivering ingenious events and unconventional conventions. If we’ve sparked your interest, get in touch for a chat about your next event – and check out our webinars for even more amazing inspiration.

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