Customer photos are the purest form of earned media. When real customers endorse your brand by posting photos of your products online, they are recommending your brand to their peers. It’s simple, customers prefer and trust visual content that comes from real people over other forms of advertisements. It’s a no-brainer to use customer photos to scale content creation and build more authentic marketing.

But there are a couple of pitfalls to avoid when implementing user-generated content into your marketing strategy. Here, we address 3 user generated content mistakes to stay away from.

1. Don’t Forget to Permission Content

There has been a lot of dialogue around if hashtags are an implicit indicator of consent for brands to collect customer photos; Particularly, if photos are culled around a social campaign hashtag that’s promoted by the brand itself. Play it safe and protect your brand experience by receiving explicit permission to use customer content. More likely than not, customers will be excited to hear from you and would love to be featured by your brand.

2. Don’t Feature Only a Subset of your Customers

User generated content provides a reference point for potential customers that helps them to assess look, feel, and size online. If you display photos of only a subset of your customers, you’re limiting the very power of the asset. User-generated content drives sales because it helps browsers to better relate to your brand and your products. Stay on-brand, but showcase a motley assortment of customers.

3. Don’t Close Off Conversations

The process of marketing with user-generated content creates the opportunity to open a dialogue between your brand and your customers. Be sure to ‘like,’ ‘comment,’ and share the photos customers post about your brand on social media. When customers see a brand genuinely engaging with customer content on social, it helps to humanize and validate the brand’s online presence.

There are numerous benefits for incorporating user-generated content into your marketing strategy. If you promote customer photos efficiently, those benefits are tenfold. Stay away from the above user-generated content pitfalls and your brand is bound to see results.