So, you've decided to make the investment in User-Generated Content (UGC) to promote your theme park and attract new visitors. You know that visual and social proof from visitors are your most powerful marketing asset.
One of the main benefits of using UGC in your marketing campaigns and assets is that you get access to fresh content so that you aren't using the same visuals over and over.
"Instead of having two or three or four key marketing images that we've agreed to and people see over and over, it allows us to pull real images of real people to show what otherwise would have looked staged." - Pete Owens, Vice president of Marketing and Public Relations, The Dollywood Company
Your visitors are naturally posting about their experiences in your park on their Instagram stories and feeds, which is what fuels a great library of UGC. But sometimes, that doesn't seem to be enough! Maybe you want a bigger selection of photos and subjects, or visuals from a specific event or season at your park.
Whatever your use-case, you're in luck! There are several ways to encourage visitors to post more content from your theme park to help with your quest for more content.
Here are 5 ways you can foster more UGC at your amusement park, to get your visitors posting about their experience more, and arm you with an even bigger selection of UGC.
1| Actively Promote your Hashtag
First thing's first, you need to establish your park's hashtag and make sure that everyone knows what it is. Asking visitors to use your hashtag helps you build an online presence and community. Not to mention that you need to find all of the photos posted in your park, and having them all searchable by one hashtag will make your life much easier.
Make sure your hashtag is everywhere; Repetition is key to brand awareness!
- Print it on all of your brochures, park maps, and in-park assets.
- Feature the hashtag, and share some photos tagged with it, on the homepage of your website.When potential visitors come to your website and UGC is front and centre, it will show off how connected you are with your online community. This is especially helpful in attracting millennials to your park.
- If you have designated photo opps (which we will explore later in this blog), feature your hashtag in big bold letters at that spot. If you're asking visitors to post a photo, you'll want to make sure that you can find it later!
- Make sure you lead by example and use your hashtag yourself. Put it in your social bios and photo captions, and use it when you're commenting on a visitor's photo or reposting it to your own feed (with their permission, of course).
2| Run a Photo Contest
Running a photo contest is a great way to engage your audience. It encourages them to post about you on their social accounts, and gets them excited about sharing the photos that they took during their visit to your park.
If you run a contest that is really well promoted, and has an appealing prize, then you will see a TONNE of UGC being produced. Your prize could be VIP passes, free admission for a sister park, or something in collaboration with a local partner - dinner or a hotel stay, perhaps.
Photo contests are helpful if you're seeking photos that are specific to a season, event, or topic: your all pumpkin patch, kids playing at the park, or beautiful scenic photos of the park. For example, being proactive and running a photo contest in December will fill your photo library with holiday content. That way, next year when it's time to start running holiday promotions, you'll have a whole stash of UGC ready.
Read our actionable guide to running a social media contest for a step-by-step walkthrough, and tips from successful tourism brands who have run a contest.
3| Create a designated photo opp or selfie spot
What better way to incentivize guests to take photos than to create special photo spots? Find the best views, statues, signs, or characters for guests to pose and take photos with. By creating irresistible photo opps, you'll find that more guests will post photos. To make sure you still get a variety of content, create as many of these spots as you can in your park that will appeal to your diverse audience.
Let guests know where to stand to get the best selfie, or create a fun, thematic setting for them to stand in and snap a picture. Don't forget to have a sign promoting your hashtag so you can track, engage with, and potentially get the right to, those photos.
4| Host Instameets
It's no secret that influencer marketing isn't slowing down; it grew almost 40% last year. Amusement parks can benefit greatly from influencer marketing, as these Instagram 'experts' produce amazing content that you can repurpose.
Hosting Instameets in your park is a great way to incentivize active Instagrammers to post about you. Whether you invite influencers, or start small and invite local Instagram enthusiasts, having people who love to take photos can be an asset in UGC creation.
Design your meetup to have plenty of photo stops, and feature really exclusive content that attendees won't be able to resist taking photos and videos of. After they're busy posting all day, you can go and collect the photos to later repurpose in your own marketing.
5| Put up Digital Display Boards with Real-Time Photo Updates
Digital photo screens are growing more and more popular at attractions and amusement parks. Placing them in lineups and high traffic area help to distract visitors from long wait times they may be experiencing. If you feature visitor pictures on the screen, those looking at the screen may also be inclined to post while at the park for the chance to be featured.
On the display screen, make sure you give the guests a call to action: tell them that their photos could be features on the gallery or slideshow if they post a photo with your park's hashtag. This will be even more effective if your galleries auto update or refresh so that guests actually see their picture on the big screen, as that could incentivize them to continue to post (creating more UGC).
Foster More UGC at your Amusement Park!
However you're deciding to use UGC - on your social media, website, ads, or in-park assets - use these tips to collect the biggest and best variety. The more visuals you have to choose from, the better you'll be able to show off the diversity of experiences your park offers.
For more advice and inspiration on using UGC to promote your amusement park or theme park, download our complete guide.