While your passengers are traveling, there is a very good chance they’re sharing visuals from some part of their journey. Whether they’re posting Instagram stories of the snow-capped mountains they spotted from the plane window, photos of the extra leg room they were comped, or in-flight amenities, this is content that you just can’t get enough of for your own ads, social account, or website.
If user-generated content like this is already starring in your marketing playbook, or you’re thinking about it, then you’re ahead of the game! The big question is how do you get more guests posting photos of their journey with your airline?
Additionally, how do you get your guests to tag your airline when they post? If anything, they’ll likely just tag the destination they’re visiting, so you may have a hard time identifying social content that is being shared by your passengers.
Not to worry! There are several ways to encourage guests to post more content from their travels to help with your quest for more UGC.
Here are 5 ways you can foster more UGC for your airline, to help arm you with an even bigger selection of visuals to power your marketing.
1| Promote your hashtag on your social channels and website
Leading by example is the first, and most important, step here. For your guests who already follow you, encourage them to share their content by promoting your hashtag everywhere they see you online. Make sure that you use your hashtag:
1| Whenever you post on social media, create social ads, or comment on other people’s content.
2| In your social bios - Use this space to make sure that your audience not only knows what your hashtag is, but that they have a chance to be featured on your account if they use it.
3| On your website - If you share UGC on your homepage, make sure you tell site visitors how all of your awesome content is being discovered.
Remember, repetition is the key to stickiness!
2| Use your in-flight entertainment system to call for content
You’ve got guaranteed facetime with your guests for the duration of their flight, so use it to your advantage! The screens for your in-flight entertainment system are right in front of guests’ faces, so it’s prime real estate to remind them to post photos and tag you.
Hawaiian Airlines did this by putting a banner ad on their screens, encouraging guests who are returning home to tag their memories with #HawaiianAirlines when they post on social media.
To encourage travelers to post about their trip, promote your hashtag on the screen when it’s ‘dead’, during announcements, or have it live in the corner of your in-flight entertainment system. You could also put together a short ad clip to play before video content that features UGC from previous guests.
3| Run a photo contest
Social media photo contests are a fun way to engage with your audience and build a stronger online community around your brand.
By encouraging guests to share more visuals with your hashtag, hosting a photo contest helps generate a huge amount of UGC that can be used in your marketing. Throughout the contest, you’ll also extend your brand’s organic reach to include participants’ audience and followers.
What’s great about contests is that they can be run for a specific destination, holiday, or theme - a great best practice is to pick based on what kind of content you need the most. Additionally, the contest can be purely photo-based or, if you’re hoping to surface more video content, try launching a contest solely for UGC videos instead.
Read our actionable guide to running a social media contest for a step-by-step walkthrough, and tips from successful tourism brands.
4| Promote it in your in-flight magazine
Just like an in-flight entertainment screen, your airline’s magazine is another way to encourage guests to share their travel content with you when you have their attention captured during the flight.
Because you’re in full control of what goes into the magazine, put your social branding everywhere you can so that it sticks in readers’ minds. Place it in page corners and footers, in image credits...we seriously mean everywhere!
Another strategy is to feature UGC throughout the magazine, and make image credits into calls-to-action for readers to post for a chance to be featured in future issues of the magazine.
Tip: This is a great place to feature content from a photo contest!
5| Include more UGC in your own marketing materials!
The more your guests see other passengers’ photos being featured, the more they’ll be inclined to share and tag you in their photos and videos. In the long term, featuring them will help you build an emotional connection between guests and your brand. If they appear in your magazine, they’ll be really excited about the small moment of fame you’ve given them.
Read our Guide to UGC for Travel and Tourism Brands, an eBook created in partnership with Skift. It’s full of actionable ideas, tips on getting rights to photos, and examples from global museum, airline, resort, and destination brands.