Thursday, December 22, 2016
Should Your Brand Be Using User-Generated Content?

Any type of content created by unpaid contributors falls into the category of user-generated content (UGC). UGC can include tweets, blog posts, testimonials, snapchat stories or Instagram posts. According to Business Insider, shoppers interacting with UGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not. That’s a pretty good reason to incorporate UGC into your communications strategy.

UGC works in the same way as word-of-mouth referrals and for this reason, is a credible form of referral. Aaron Orendorff explains, “A brand is not necessarily its own best salesperson. Nobody within your business is as good at selling as your customers.”

With 86% of millennials saying that UGC content is a good indictor of the quality of a brand and 68% of 18-24-year-old social media users taking this type of content into account when making a purchase decision, UGC has grown beyond the buzzword phase. (It even has its own acronym!)

Back in 2009, Burberry’s successful Art of Trench campaign asked fans and customers to upload pictures of themselves in the brand’s iconic trench coat, the best of which were curated and shared on their Facebook page as well as on a campaign microsite.

Looking to up your brand’s UGC game?

Share user generated content

GoPro does UGC better than anyone. GoPro’s fans publish videos of their own experiences and tag the brand (#GoPro), but to provide added incentive GoPro often buys the rights to those videos, polishes them and then uses this content across their channels. The GoPro Instagram page frequently showcases user- generated images and videos, with the Photo of the Day feature ensuring a daily dose of UGC. 


GoPro even celebrates and rewards the best user-generated content, with the GoPro awards. 


Credit your content creators

Recognizing fans for their creative work is a great way to build relationships with customers, show that their work is appreciated and it also encourages others to share too. 


Work with influencers

The successful #MyCalvins campaign from Calvin Klein leveraged celebrity influencers to encourage UGC.  Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, The Blonde Salad’s Ciara Ferragni, and even music stars such as Fergie and Trey Songz all posted images of themselves in their Calvin Klein attire. Tapping into these respective fan bases is a smart move for marketers, particularly those looking to engage millennials.

The hashtag associated with the campaign encouraged fans and customers to share their own content on social media, with the very best submissions shared on a shoppable dedicated microsite.


Custom snapchat filters

In February of this year, Snapchat launched on-demand geofilters. If you are in a certain location, such as Times Square or the London Eye, there are certain geo-filters available for you to use.

During this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, CTV’s entertainment show, ETalk, took full advantage of the app’s function and snapped up a storm with their custom “CTV ETalk” filter. Festival-goers were also able to use this filter in downtown Toronto and were encouraged to send their own snaps using this filter.


Host a contest

Decorating the white cups, and the Holiday red cups, has been a hobby of Starbucks fans for years. Last December Starbucks invited customers to take part in a contest, sharing their best cup designs on Instagram. The contest received over 1,200 individual submissions with thirteen designs chosen as the overall winners. These Holiday cups are now being served in over 25,000 Starbucks stores in 75 countries.


The #CastMeMarc campaign asked users to post their own images for the chance to model for fashion brand, Marc Jacobs. With over 100,000 Instagram submissions alone, the wildly successful campaign ran in 2014 and again in 2015.

Like any other marketing tactic, UGC needs to be carefully monitored and managed to ensure the content being shared by users reflects the brand’s ethos and positively showcases products and services.

Amy-Louise Tracey, Communications Manager. CNW    

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