Hey, the Internet…May the fourth be with you…LOL. D’ya hear that yet today? A million times? Oh…cool. Well, one more time won’t hurt, I guess. (Please like me.)

For reals, happy Star Wars Day, everybody. Or as I call it, May 4th. Or as I also call it, one of the many days I’m reminded how much power (err…force?) consumers can have on a brand. I mean, think about how many people are going to tweet, post, share, or meme that today. It’s gotta rack up around 80 quatrillion impressions…or something. (Right, media team? No? Ok.)

So, not to compare your company to the biggest movie franchise of all time…but have you thought about adding any user-generated content into your social media mix yet? If not, maybe you should. (Intern, fetch me my soap box.)

See, attention spans on social media sites are down to about a nanosecond, especially when it comes to brand content. People can detect an ad from a mile away. (They’re on to us, guys!) That means more and more of your content has to be relevant and feel human, authentic, and more like an experience (less like an ad) to the consumer. That’s where user-generated content comes in—and has come through for a lot of brands.

For example, did you look for your name on a Coke can? Course you did. Everyone did. (Even you, Malachi.) And when you finally found it (sorry, no dice, Malachi), you shared it. Or maybe you took part in Starbucks White Cup Contest a few years ago. If so, you probably feel like the company values your input and you will never step foot in a Dunkin’ Donuts again even if someone gives you a billion Dunkin’ Bucks*. Or maybe you submitted your photos to National Geographic’s #wanderlust contest. Or shared your review of the Amazon Echo on Amazon? If so, you, a consumer, just created content for them.

Every one of these ideas came from a simple (but not-always-so-simple) rule: put the customer first. Whether you’re offering them a prize, making them feel valued, or letting them know you’re listening to their feedback, they have to be the focus. And after you come up with that brilliant engaging idea, you can just sit back in your Millennium Falcon-shaped mansion and let the 80 quatrillion impressions come rolling in. Isn’t that right, George Lucas?

Have a Skywalkin’ weekend, everybody.

-Your advertising Jedis in Cleveland.

*Not a real thing.

…attention spans on social media sites are down to about a nanosecond, especially when it comes to brand content.

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