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Developing a User-Generated-Content Strategy [Checklist]

The average consumer is exposed to around 5, 000 ads per day, so for many brands, cutting through the noise and gaining consumer trust is no easy feat. Cleverly utilising User-Generated-Content (UGC) is a key way for brands to create unobtrusive content that seamlessly integrates into their audience’s social feeds, therefore building trust and a sense of community with their audience.

Why UGC?

UGC is any type of content created by your audience about your brand that isn’t paid for—and that is the key to its success. 76% of individuals surveyed said they trusted content shared by “average” people more than by brands, therefore making UGC key to creating authentic relationships.

Developing a UGC Strategy

Campaign objectives

As with any strategy, the very first step is identifying your business objectives and what you want to get out of the campaign. Are you after increased brand awareness, or do you want to tap into a new audience sector? These objectives will determine how you measure the success of your campaign.

User Generated Travel Content

Know your audience

Once you’ve determined your business objectives, you need to identify your audience objectives and figure out where these two spheres overlap. Ask yourself: Is your audience likely to engage with a UGC campaign? What kind of content are they likely to generate? What do they want to get out of the campaign?

Use social analytic tools like Facebook and Instagram Insights to find out more about the demographics and behaviour of your audience. You can also determine the type of content that they engage with the most and integrate it into your campaign.

Channels

Knowing your business and audience objectives will help you identify the channels that are going to be most suitable for your campaign.

Take the example below:

  • Business objective: brand awareness
  • Audience: Millennials
  • Audience objective: discover engaging content
  • Channel: Snapchat
  • Why Snapchat? 53% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old. Brands can create filters that encourage the creation of UGC, or simply ask users to send them snaps to be featured on brand stories.

Mechanic

This is the ‘how—’ which tactics are suitable for generating UGC?

Competitions: Everyone loves a giveaway, so social media competitions are great ways to build hype and generate engagement. Consider asking your audience to tag three friends in order to increase their chance to win which will simultaneously increase the reach of your competition.

Hashtags: Developing hashtags like Chobani’s #ChobaniKids makes it easy to ensure your audience is spreading your brand messages. It’s also easy to track the use of the hashtags (and therefore the reach of your campaign) and collate UGC via a hashtag search.

Polls/questions: these can be used to increase engagement by asking your audience to share content. One of our favourite examples is National Geographic’s #wanderlust campaign.

User Generated Content Chobani Kids

Legalities

Before launching a UGC competition, it’s important to clearly set out the T&C’s for your audience. Consider the following:

  1. Ensure you’re not infringing your audience’s intellectual property. Explicitly state your intention to use their content for your marketing purposes.
  2. Ensure you’re not liable. If your audience submits a piece of work that they have actually taken from someone else, you need to make sure you aren’t considered liable for their offence. Ensure your T&C’s outline that this liability will fall on the person who took the content without permission and not on your brand.
  3. There are also user privacy considerations you may want to consider when crafting your UGC campaign. You need to be clear what information you’ll collect from submitters and who you intend to share it with.

Repurposing

With loads of videos and photographs are your disposal, what are some of the best ways to use these assets in your marketing?

Using it on your website: Sonos has mastered this tactic by embedding UGC as part of the buying process on their website. Images of product in people’s homes is featured alongside the specs on product pages.

Reshare: Is there a gaping hole in your content calendar? Reshare UGC images and videos to Facebook and Instagram, or add UGC as an ongoing content stream to your overall strategy.

Email marketing: Integrate UGC into your EDMs as a way of standing out in your audience’s inbox. This gives you the chance to show off your product or service in context. You can also develop a call to action that calls for audience submissions, therefore helping you to generate more content and engagement with your audience.

Read next: How to find an authentic influencer for your brand.

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