User Generated Content: But Isn’t That Cheating?


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With the imagination bank running low, it can be hard for brands to come up with enough material to keep their social channels alive with fresh and interesting ideas. However, user-generated content is the trick we keep up our sleeves.

While brands shouldn’t be reliant on user-generated content, it can have extraordinary benefits and is great to whip out from time to time. Research has even shown that UGC can encourage trust between consumer and business thanks to the authenticity of the content and it’s ability to be more memorable in the long-term. Furthermore, with your audience becoming directly engaged with your brand, and literally creating the content for you, it can result in a great deal of content, quickly and easily.


However, you don’t want to get swept up in UGC right away without knowing the risks and legal implications. It can be easy to forget that the online universe is still subject to common law. Make sure to check with a legal advisor if ever in doubt.

So how can you create the perfect UGC campaign?

Well…the first thing to consider is your audience. What kind of content would your market be able to easily and quickly produce? Furthermore, what kind of content would your audience be interested in participating in?

When encouraging UGC you’ve got to make your audience want to join in and get involved. You need to make the premise fun and cool and you could even offer a reward or prize as a further incentive.

Let’s take a look at how CocaCola used UGC in 2011 to fill up their social channels. By handing out bottles with names on, people were encouraged to post photos of the labelled beverages across social media. Appealing to everyone’s sense of ego, the named bottles were all over Twitter and beyond for weeks on end. Coke even attributes a 2% increase in US sales to this campaign. Bravo, Coke, bravo.

However, it wasn’t just the fun personalisation aspect of Coke’s campaign that fuelled the craze, but also the simplicity of the idea. It was really quick and easy for the audience to post pictures of their Coke bottles and share over social media, resulting in a large amount of entrants over a very small period of time.

One particularly great Valentine’s Day campaign was Pizza Hut’s #CommitToGreatness. The campaign encouraged the audience to propose to Pizza Hut over Vine or Instagram and they eventually even created an OKCupid account to further amp up the popularity…romantic right? The selling point of this campaign was almost certainly in it’s originality and hilarity.

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When it comes to UGC, it’s also great to keep in mind how your content could be used in the future for other marketing purposes, i.e. encourage your audience to create content that is evergreen and can easily be used again in the future for your brand’s marketing purposes.

Because we all want to be able to kill two birds with one stone (not literally)

Ikea, the sly fox, regularly uses UGC from their consumers showing their products being used in an everyday setting. In asking their audience for pictures of their favourite products from their range, they were eventually able to create a digital catalogue of their products in real-life scenarios thus adding a level of authenticity to their brand. Furthermore, Ikea can now use this UGC content over and over again.

When it comes to UGC, its benefits for businesses are undeniable. Facebook ads with UGC have actually been seen to perform better than the average advert with up to 300% higher click through rates. If that’s not enough to get you out of your content creator thinking box, then I don’t know what is. So the next time you’re brushing your teeth and a half decent idea for a campaign pops into your head…maybe think about how you could get your audience more involved, and drum up some UGC in the process.

How do you feel about brands using UGC? Genius or lazy? We want to know, so tweet us your thoughts at @ContentCal_io

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