User generated content (UCG) is considered gold in terms of influence, impact and marketing bang for your buck. User generated content is content generated about your business by your diners that they feel compelled to share on their social media channels.

With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can start leveraging what your customers are already saying about your venue, and what they would like to say about you if you encouraged them a little.

According to this research that was done on sharing and engaging with online content in Australia, the US and UK, 86% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands, they like and support, and 60% of consumers say user-generated content is the most authentic form of content.

Here’s how to encourage your customers to generate content about your venue and how you can leverage it to grow your following online.

1. Make your venue worth taking photos of

Your customers are looking for something interesting to post on their Instagram account – so give them a backdrop that they will want to take snaps of and share.

Create an iPad photo booth where people can take happy snaps. Change the theme of booth depending on seasons or events in town. Or create a colourful flower wall whose colours change with the seasons. You don’t need fresh flowers to create sensational looking backdrop.

2. Use existing customer photos

There is most likely content already out there so the first and easiest step is to find it.  People may or may not tag your venue, so you will need to use a couple of methods to find content about your business. Use both geographical locations as well as relevant hashtags on both Instagram and Facebook to locate content about your business.

When you do, you can comment and give thanks, and share on your own page. We all love being acknowledged for a shout out.

3. Identify your customers’ preferences and trends

Understand your demographic before encouraging user generated content. Find out what motivates your customers to want to share your content and do some general detective work. For example, what sort of content do they like to share? If they are female and 45+, it is probably great food shots. If they are 20-25, it is probably selfies in front of the flower garden.

Are you noticing more posts on a Thursday night? Perhaps run an event to maximise exposure online.

4. Add social media signage at your venue with your hashtags

Have multiple signs throughout your venue to tell people what social sites you are using and remember to add your hashtag. This may be your venue name as well as a hashtag that is your tagline.

5. Create a competition

Give your customers an incentive to take a photo, tag and share it with their online buddies. Generate a competition for your pub or restaurant, here are some ideas to work with:

  • Ask people to take a photo of a new dish and come up with a name
  • The best photo of a particular signature dish wins a place on your website in your blog plus a free meal
  • The best couple selfie inside your restaurant gets a free glass of wine on their next visit

It’s not always about the prize, but about having some fun with your customer community and the content they share.

User generated content is trusted

Making decisions online about the restaurants and venues we choose is largely influenced by what other people are saying. User generated content is trusted, it’s free and you can start leveraging it straightaway. As with any marketing idea, you’ll get better at it with practise.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business 

H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.

Call us at 1800 778 340, email or fill in the form below to discuss your venue’s needs.