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Unlocking the Power of User Generated Content

As brands continue to flex their social and content marketing muscles, we’ve started to see user generated content become a big part of the game, and with good reason.
User generated content campaigns have been shown to regularly see higher ROIs, 300% higher click-through rates and 50% lower costs-per-click and acquisition. That’s because our brains are hard-wired to listen to word-of-mouth marketing, so a recommendation from a friend means that potential consumers are much more likely to listen at the very competitive top of the funnel.
With so many advantages to running a campaign based on this type of content, just how should you go about creating it?

Do it right

Like with any other kind of marketing, user generated content can come in all shapes and sizes. Some heavy-hitting companies have focussed on altogether different themes by finding the one that was most compatible with their brand.
Take Lululemon’s #thesweatlife or Go Pro’s Photo of the Day, for example. Though these brands have a product focus on sportswear and cameras, respectively, their campaigns focussed on the lifestyle that those products enabled. Lululemon encouraged users wearing their gear at the gym to post photos of themselves working out, while Go Pro spotlights an adventurous customer photo every day.
This serves a double purpose: not only does it create a regular content stream for those brands to share on their social media platforms, it also helps in making a living online catalogue of the products and the experiences they can bring.
Of course, not every brand focuses on lifestyle. Some user-generated content campaigns are aspirational, like Nat Geo’s #wanderlust and Tourism Queensland’s Best Job in the World. These campaigns asked users to submit contest entries for a travel-based prize through photo and video submissions.
This generated a huge influx of highly shareable content, as well as raising awareness for both brands. We’re only human, after all. Everyone wants to win the big prize.
But where big prizes can inspire a high volume of submissions, so can campaigns based on love. It doesn’t even have to be love of your product, as Purina, a pet care brand proved with its #dogthanking campaign.
To take part in it, all users had to do was submit a cute photo of their dog with a short message about why they’re thankful to have it be a part of their lives. As an added bonus, Purina donated $1 to a canine charity foundation for every submission.
This obviously drew in quite a lot of content, but brands with more ‘loveable’ products can also focus on themselves, like Pizza Hut’s Proposal campaign or Chobani’s Yoghurt Love Stories.
High-profile brands have also focussed on personalisation, like Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke, live interaction, like Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, and user art, like Starbucks’s White Cup Campaign.

How to Leverage UGC for Results

Now you know the types of user generated content campaigns out there, it’s time to apply them for your business.
This almost goes without saying, but UGC is the perfect type of content for social media, especially when it comes to photo and video content. For the most part, people prefer their social platform feeds to feel ‘ad-free’. This means that ideally, branded ads for social should blend in with their regular newsfeed content, and user-generated content can certainly achieve this.
Another immense benefit is that a single image from a user shared on a platform like Instagram can be repurposed across all others, adding to its initial value. Where appropriate, UGC can even be added to primary marketing materials across other media platforms like TV or print.
UGC campaigns can also make people feel like a valued part of your audience- like they are contributing. It’s a fun way for them to identify as brand ambassadors.
In the end, user generated content campaigns have plenty of potential benefits for your business and with so many possibilities, the sky really is the limit. It is important to keep any UGC campaigns in line with the tone and personality you expect for your brand.
Because when you do find that perfect UGC campaign idea, your business will reap the benefits.

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