Where and How to Source Authentic User-Generated Content?

Remember the “Shot on iPhone” campaign by Apple? It transformed how we perceive user-generated content (UGC). Apple showcased photos and videos taken by everyday iPhone users, turning these personal moments into powerful testimonials about the quality of their cameras. This wasn’t just advertising; it was authentic content from real users, making a persuasive case for the product without a traditional sales pitch.

This approach to UGC has opened up a world of possibilities for brands looking to connect with their audience on a deeper level. Companies can showcase real-life applications of their products or services by using content made by their customers. 

From encouraging your community to share their experiences online to partnering with a UGC agency to connect with creators, there are numerous ways to harness the power of authentic user-generated content. 

The Value of Authentic UGC

Authentic UGC is created organically by real customers based on their genuine experiences and opinions. This type of content is more relatable, transparent and trustworthy than content created solely by brands. 

There are several key benefits to sourcing and using authentic user-generated content:

  • Building trust and credibility. According to a Stackla report, 90% of customers report that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. UGC helps showcase real, unbiased customer viewpoints, establishing credibility and trust.
  • Enhancing engagement and community. When brands feature UGC created by their customers and fans, audiences feel recognized, valued and more connected to the brand community. This drives greater engagement across social media and branded platforms.
  • Boosting SEO and online visibility. UGC naturally incorporates longtail keywords that real customers use when they search online. User-generated content case studies show that many search results for top brands include links to content created by users. By incorporating this type of content, brands can increase their visibility and improve their search rankings.

Strategies for Encouraging UGC Creation

The first step in leveraging UGC is motivating your audience to create it. Here are some effective strategies to inspire users to generate branded content and maximize participation:

  • Hosting Contests, Challenges and Giveaways

Contests, sweepstakes and challenge campaigns present fun opportunities for audiences to create and share branded content for incentives like special perks or prizes.

For example, GoPro, the action camera company, masterfully implemented this strategy with their #MillionDollarShot campaign. This global challenge invited participants to submit their most captivating and extreme videos captured on GoPro cameras.

The key here is offering attractive prizes that capture attention and encourage widespread participation among brand enthusiasts. However, it also requires smart distribution of the contest and showcasing the top entries across UGC platforms for maximum visibility.

  • Creating Hashtag Campaigns

Hashtag campaigns are a powerful tool for encouraging UGC by providing a branded rallying point for users to share relevant content. One prominent example is the #ShareACoke campaign launched by Coca-Cola in 2011.

Instead of the usual product-focused approach, this campaign used personalized bottle labels featuring common names. It encouraged consumers to share photos of themselves with their personalized bottles, using the #ShareACoke hashtag. This simple yet effective strategy resonated with audiences, generating a massive wave of UGC across social media platforms.

People shared photos with friends and family, posted creative uses of the bottles and even started collecting them. The campaign went viral, with millions of people taking part and generating billions of impressions for Coca-Cola, while showcasing the brand’s connection with its audience and creating a sense of community.

  • Featuring User Content on Your Platforms

One of the most powerful ways to motivate ongoing user-generated content is to actively feature contributor photos, videos and reviews across your own platforms.

For instance, an athletic apparel brand can showcase user images modeling their gear across website banners, email newsletters and even product packaging. Outdoor Voices continually spotlights #DoingThings shots from their community across social channels and in their stores.

When UGC creators see their own content prominently displayed by brands they love, it fulfills our human desire to feel recognized. This makes them more likely to continue participating as brand evangelists over the long-term. 

  • Social Media Monitoring

Social listening tools from companies like YouScan and Sprout Social enable brands to monitor what customers say about them across platforms like Twitter and Instagram. 

From there, they can identify positive UGC like 5-star reviews or joyful unboxing photos that could be re-shared with their broader audiences. The key is to use this content only with contributor permission and to ensure credit is given. 

When done authentically, it turns happy customers into mass brand ambassadors by repurposing what they organically share while alleviating creativity blocks for brands themselves.

  • Collaborations with Influencers

Working with creators gives brands access to their highly active followers, perfect for UGC campaigns with their own distribution channel. For example, a travel brand might partner with influencers to start challenges that ask for UGC, like happy vacation pictures or video reviews. 

In return for getting featured and paid by the brand, these influencers would promote the campaign and encourage their followers to join in, highlighting the best entries to keep the submissions coming and boost the brand’s presence.

The main thing for brands is to make sure people know their contributions are welcome and that joining in can bring them real benefits, such as exposure, recognition or rewards. This way of strengthening the connection between the brand and its community helps keep the flow of UGC going strong.

Use UGC to Transform Your Brand Marketing

Creating content is just the start. Make sure to interact with your UGC community by answering comments and featuring their content. This builds loyalty and encourages more participation, helping to enrich your brand’s story with authentic connections.

Remember, UGC is a living community. By looking after it, you tap into a valuable resource for increasing engagement, gaining trust and driving growth.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.