Consumer-generated marketing is your ticket to better fan engagement.

I know you came here to learn about consumer generated marketing and fan loyalty for your sports team, but let’s talk about coffee for a minute. Why? Because when it comes to fan allegiance, we can learn a lot from the marketing efforts of a major coffee company: Starbucks.

Person- How to Boost Fan Loyalty with Consumer Generated MarketingStarbucks has over 15,000 stores in the U.S., with global net revenues of $7.6 billion. Even though they are a national brand, with substantial advertising dollars, they have always relied on word-of-mouth and consumer generated marketing for a large portion of their advertising. This hasn’t changed even as the company has grown from 1,000 stores in 1996 to its current status as a global brand.

What has changed is the way they use and disseminate that marketing. For instance, their Instagram page is full of Regrams from fans posting about and tagging Starbucks. Their Twitter feed has even more consumer generated marketing posts, and not just from big names. One Retweet came from an account with only 76 followers. And Starbucks didn’t just retweet them, they continued to interact with the account, replying to several comments.

So how does this help you? After all, Starbucks is an international brand with a big market. Oh, and it’s coffee, not a sports team. Let’s take a look.

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What is consumer generated marketing?

Consumer-generated marketing is largely a product of social media. Fans post pictures of themselves at games, tag their favorite player in posts, and share videos on social media platforms at an astounding rate. You can think of it as the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. And it works.

According to ADWEEK, “revenue increased 106 percent on retail sites when users see CGC [consumer generated content] prior to purchase.”

That includes a variety of content, such as reviews, which are a passive approach to marketing like this. But take an active approach, and you could be looking at a social media goldmine for your marketing team.

How do I use consumer-generated marketing to fuel fan loyalty?

Tweet- How to Boost Fan Loyalty with Consumer Generated Marketing

Before you begin, however, you do need to have one thing in place: top-notch customer service. That means in-person, on the phone, online, and everywhere else. That alone will give you a significant boost in all of your marketing. Reply to emails promptly. Respond when fans tag you on social media posts. Go out of your way to be friendly at games and events. You’ll win a lot of new fans when all your Twitter mentions are about how wonderful your staff is.

Next it’s time to find your consumer generated marketing content. Where do you find it? Search for it online.

Where to find consumer generated marketing examples?

Plug your team name into the search bar on Instagram or Twitter and see what comes up. As an example, if you are the Chicago Cubs, and you search for #chicagocubs, you get this gem that’s perfect for a retweet and comment.

Where else can you find consumer generated content? Have you tried asking? Plenty of brands do this by asking fans to tag them or use a specific hashtag. #justdoit is perhaps the most well-known, but the Boston Red Sox use the #redsox hashtag to great effect.

Image- How to Boost Fan Loyalty with Consumer Generated MarketingThe #redsox are well known for their enthusiastic fan base, so it’s no surprise that their hashtag is very active. The team uses the hashtag on their Twitter feed, but fans post art, commentary, and pictures, spreading the excitement and energy. While much of that is passive, you can guide fans and ask for specific photos, such as pre-game rituals or fan perspective pictures.

Of course, you won’t want to Retweet or Regram every single picture or post that comes through. Select carefully. The images don’t need to be professional level shots, but they do need to be clear, and they should capture the spirit of the moment. Think smiling fans on their way to a game wearing their team gear, or a video from the stands when cheers erupt after the team scores a game-winning point.

And always, always, always tag the original poster. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also is a cool way to interact with your fan base, and the more you do that, the more people will post about you, and the more content you have to choose from. It can be a very symbiotic relationship.

Really want to impress your fans? Post their Instagram photos throughout the stadium on your digital signage. Find out more and start your social media wall today.