soona   we create the best content for commerce   soona   we create the best content for commerce

How to Create a Successful UGC Campaign: Tips, Tricks, and more

Discover the keys to UGC campaign success in 2024! Our guide covers strategy, personalized content, and social media tactics. Get started with Trend by soona today.

 Claire Oswald
Claire Oswald
product marketing manager
Claire Oswald
product marketing manager
December 20, 2023
-
1
min

Crowdsourcing is nothing new. Today, companies regularly crowdsource ideas, or names, for new products. People regularly crowdsource their vacation rentals and commutes. So it was only natural when businesses began to crowdsource content on social media.

User-generated content (UGC), such media – typically photos and videos – is an invaluable addition to any company’s marketing plan with many benefits. Not only is it low-cost, but it’s also faster to initiate a user-generated content campaign than to plan, create, and curate your own short-form video content.

So how exactly do you go about launching a successful UGC campaign? Here are our top tips for doing it right.

Understanding What a UGC Campaign Is

User-generated Content, i.e. UGC, encompasses content crafted by consumers or users of a product or service, spanning from social media posts to insightful reviews and heartfelt testimonials. 

The surge of social media and the growing emphasis on authenticity in marketing has elevated user-generated content to be a pivotal tool for businesses, enabling them to forge meaningful connections with their audience and establish robust brand awareness.

As the popularity of user-generated content continues to soar, a myriad of UGC apps has emerged, designed to empower creators in producing top-notch content. From mainstream social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to specialized UGC hubs such as Trend.io, these applications have proven instrumental. Empowered by these apps, macro-influencers and social media content creators have seamlessly crafted compelling content that not only resonates with their followers but also serves as a cornerstone in building their personal brand.

For businesses aiming to integrate user-generated content into their marketing strategy, a nuanced understanding of the diverse UGC types and effective creation strategies is paramount. By strategically incorporating UGC in advertising initiatives and fostering brand awareness through social media channels, businesses can harness the formidable potential of authentic content. This approach enables them to not only resonate with their audience but also establish a genuine and impactful connection. Want to learn more about all things UGC? Stay up-to-date with our UGC Guide.

{{trend-ad="/external-components"}}

Creating an Intentional UGC Campaign Strategy

No matter what platform you use to collect content, it’s critical you first think through what you’re trying to do before you launch. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What will you promote?
  • Where do you want to promote it?
  • What kind of content do you need?
  • What actions do you want readers/viewers/followers to take?

The people who create content for you won’t know how to proceed in a way that aligns with your campaigns if you don’t tell them, so don’t be shy. They will appreciate guidance, and you will appreciate how much more successful your campaign is if you think through these questions upfront.

Lay Out Your Style Guide

Just as UGC creators can’t know what kind of content you need without you telling them, they can’t know what posts and videos should look like without a heads up.

That’s where your style guide comes in. Most companies already have one, dictating the font styles and sizes, primary and secondary colors, and image and editing styles that align with your brand. If you haven’t set it all out in a single document yet, this is a good excuse to do so.

Once you’ve created it, it’s the work of a moment to share it with your users. Make it as easy as possible for them by including hex codes with colors, linking to fonts if they need to download them, and providing any B-roll or imagery you find acceptable.

Use Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are worth their weight in gold. Sure, it’s a little lame to see those personalized hashtags that have only a post or three under them.

However, a popular branded hashtag can give your users somewhere to aggregate their content and feel like they’re part of a community, while it also makes it easier for social media managers to find the right content for a quick repost if you don’t want to pull it from your UGC platform. Enough users will also act as influencers, posting the content on their pages in hopes of a repost, to make this worthwhile.

If you’re your only social media manager, this is an even better strategy, because time is of the essence. Make sure that every UGC campaign has a short, punchy tagline that includes your company name in some form as well as the point of your campaign.

Personalize Wherever Possible

In addition to personalizing a hashtag, it’s always fun to personalize products as well! This transforms your campaign from something bright, bold, and beautiful to something branded in every image. Think notebooks with names embossed on the front, monogrammed towels, candies with personalized mottos, and so forth.

For instance, we love how Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign had users post pictures and videos of Coke bottles with their names on them. Not only is it a fun way to encourage users to create content, but such content looks adorable collected together under applicable hashtags.

Choose Your Platforms Selectively

While you can certainly find users on every platform who are willing to showcase your product, and that may generate some traffic, that doesn’t get you the best bang for your buck.

Remember that a user-generated content campaign is subtly different from an influencer campaign. Therefore, your goal isn’t simply to get your product out there; it’s to collect photo or video content in return.

As such, you want that content to fit with the marketing goals you’re following on your own feeds. Therefore, if you use TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, these are the best platforms to source your images from. If you rely heavily on X and YouTube, then find your UGC creators there.

By doing so, you won’t have to do a bunch of cropping, resizing, and reworking of your UGC. It will already exist in the formats appropriate for those platforms, so you can just grab and go.

Take an Influencer Inventory

Who makes a great UGC content creator, you're wondering? 

The best way to determine what kind of platform and person will prove to be a good fit with your product is to use social monitoring. Essentially, you “listen” to what’s already out there. Who is using and promoting products like yours successfully? Who takes the best photos and makes the best videos (both individuals and groups)? Where can you find people like that?

The good news is, your influencers are an excellent starting point for UGC. Next, we’ll discuss others who also present a good opportunity.

Solicit Reviews & Contributors

As discussed, your past influencers or even brand ambassadors are a great place to look for user-generated content. They’ve already proven enthusiastic about your products, and you can easily scroll through their posts to see who has created the nicest imagery and videos. (Psst, this is much easier if you’ve used a branded hashtag for all your campaigns!)

Other good places to look include employees and repeat customers. Both have a vested interest in seeing your product shine, both are excited about what you’ll come up with next, and there’s a lower barrier to entry in terms of convincing both to help you out.

If that’s not enough, you can consider posting an open call for user-generated content. This is just a quick message on your social media feeds along the lines of:

Hey, we’re looking for dedicated content creators to showcase our products and create authentic videos! You don’t need to have a large account or a degree in marketing, but you do need to be passionate about promoting [your product] and willing to let us use and repost your content. Benefits include [monetary incentives, free products, posting on your pages, etc.]. Apply today!

Host a Contest

Another way to find new people who’d like to participate is to host a contest. You offer a prize to the person who creates the best photo(s) or video(s) featuring your product. This motivates people to do something (create content) for free, with the promise that you’ll consider them for the prize.

You can choose one person to receive a truly awesome prize, like a big basket of product or a sizable gift card. Alternatively, you can choose multiple people to receive smaller prizes or reward everyone who participates with a coupon code or other smaller reward that incentivizes them to shop with you. A combination of the above options also works, and it’s a great way to get UGC without having to give out any product for free.

Pro tip: Make sure to include somewhere in your language that you have the right to use whatever content they create with your product. That way, you can harvest and use it for years to come.

As always, remember if you’re having people post on social media to use a branded hashtag that includes the word contest somewhere in it. Not only does this help you promote your contest while it’s ongoing, you can then look back through it later to choose media for use on your own platforms and pages.

Educate Your UGC Creators

Not all UGC creators understand what the role entails. Again, it’s easy to mistake UGC for influencer marketing, but with UGC, there is no expectation that the person will post on their own channels – though they often do, having gone to all that work.

Let them know what the tradeoff actually is: they create content in exchange for cash, incentives, rewards, or product. They can post or not post, but the main crux of the deal is that you now own their content. Your contract can stipulate that you co-own it with them, but make sure to use language that allows you to use and edit the content you receive in perpetuity.

Collect Your Content Somewhere

As we have discussed, it is critical to create a functioning library for your UGC. You don’t want to be forever hunting for the right photo or video to use in a particular campaign.

The best way to manage your collateral as it flows in is to add it to a product information management system that allows you to tag, label, and organize your content. That way, you can set current versions, append text copy and headlines to certain pieces of content, and search for them in a database.

Such systems come in many forms, including UGC-specific and campaign-agnostic types. If you have questions about how this might work, the team at soona is always happy to answer them!

Speaking of soona …

Kick Off Your Campaign with Trend by soona

Ready to create the best UGC content for your brand, but not sure how to get users to help you out? Let an expert take over.

Here at soona, we have cultivated a wide network of dedicated, capable social media users who know how to capture beautiful images and videos using products just like yours. Back in June of 2023, we acquired the top UGC platform, Trend.io. So, if you want to forego the hassle of crafting your own campaign and waiting for results, get started with a Trend campaign!

Don’t wait any longer to create that stunning video and image library of which you’ve been dreaming … let Trend by soona help instead!

Crowdsourcing is nothing new. Today, companies regularly crowdsource ideas, or names, for new products. People regularly crowdsource their vacation rentals and commutes. So it was only natural when businesses began to crowdsource content on social media.

User-generated content (UGC), such media – typically photos and videos – is an invaluable addition to any company’s marketing plan with many benefits. Not only is it low-cost, but it’s also faster to initiate a user-generated content campaign than to plan, create, and curate your own short-form video content.

So how exactly do you go about launching a successful UGC campaign? Here are our top tips for doing it right.

Understanding What a UGC Campaign Is

User-generated Content, i.e. UGC, encompasses content crafted by consumers or users of a product or service, spanning from social media posts to insightful reviews and heartfelt testimonials. 

The surge of social media and the growing emphasis on authenticity in marketing has elevated user-generated content to be a pivotal tool for businesses, enabling them to forge meaningful connections with their audience and establish robust brand awareness.

As the popularity of user-generated content continues to soar, a myriad of UGC apps has emerged, designed to empower creators in producing top-notch content. From mainstream social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to specialized UGC hubs such as Trend.io, these applications have proven instrumental. Empowered by these apps, macro-influencers and social media content creators have seamlessly crafted compelling content that not only resonates with their followers but also serves as a cornerstone in building their personal brand.

For businesses aiming to integrate user-generated content into their marketing strategy, a nuanced understanding of the diverse UGC types and effective creation strategies is paramount. By strategically incorporating UGC in advertising initiatives and fostering brand awareness through social media channels, businesses can harness the formidable potential of authentic content. This approach enables them to not only resonate with their audience but also establish a genuine and impactful connection. Want to learn more about all things UGC? Stay up-to-date with our UGC Guide.

{{trend-ad="/external-components"}}

Creating an Intentional UGC Campaign Strategy

No matter what platform you use to collect content, it’s critical you first think through what you’re trying to do before you launch. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What will you promote?
  • Where do you want to promote it?
  • What kind of content do you need?
  • What actions do you want readers/viewers/followers to take?

The people who create content for you won’t know how to proceed in a way that aligns with your campaigns if you don’t tell them, so don’t be shy. They will appreciate guidance, and you will appreciate how much more successful your campaign is if you think through these questions upfront.

Lay Out Your Style Guide

Just as UGC creators can’t know what kind of content you need without you telling them, they can’t know what posts and videos should look like without a heads up.

That’s where your style guide comes in. Most companies already have one, dictating the font styles and sizes, primary and secondary colors, and image and editing styles that align with your brand. If you haven’t set it all out in a single document yet, this is a good excuse to do so.

Once you’ve created it, it’s the work of a moment to share it with your users. Make it as easy as possible for them by including hex codes with colors, linking to fonts if they need to download them, and providing any B-roll or imagery you find acceptable.

Use Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are worth their weight in gold. Sure, it’s a little lame to see those personalized hashtags that have only a post or three under them.

However, a popular branded hashtag can give your users somewhere to aggregate their content and feel like they’re part of a community, while it also makes it easier for social media managers to find the right content for a quick repost if you don’t want to pull it from your UGC platform. Enough users will also act as influencers, posting the content on their pages in hopes of a repost, to make this worthwhile.

If you’re your only social media manager, this is an even better strategy, because time is of the essence. Make sure that every UGC campaign has a short, punchy tagline that includes your company name in some form as well as the point of your campaign.

Personalize Wherever Possible

In addition to personalizing a hashtag, it’s always fun to personalize products as well! This transforms your campaign from something bright, bold, and beautiful to something branded in every image. Think notebooks with names embossed on the front, monogrammed towels, candies with personalized mottos, and so forth.

For instance, we love how Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign had users post pictures and videos of Coke bottles with their names on them. Not only is it a fun way to encourage users to create content, but such content looks adorable collected together under applicable hashtags.

Choose Your Platforms Selectively

While you can certainly find users on every platform who are willing to showcase your product, and that may generate some traffic, that doesn’t get you the best bang for your buck.

Remember that a user-generated content campaign is subtly different from an influencer campaign. Therefore, your goal isn’t simply to get your product out there; it’s to collect photo or video content in return.

As such, you want that content to fit with the marketing goals you’re following on your own feeds. Therefore, if you use TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, these are the best platforms to source your images from. If you rely heavily on X and YouTube, then find your UGC creators there.

By doing so, you won’t have to do a bunch of cropping, resizing, and reworking of your UGC. It will already exist in the formats appropriate for those platforms, so you can just grab and go.

Take an Influencer Inventory

Who makes a great UGC content creator, you're wondering? 

The best way to determine what kind of platform and person will prove to be a good fit with your product is to use social monitoring. Essentially, you “listen” to what’s already out there. Who is using and promoting products like yours successfully? Who takes the best photos and makes the best videos (both individuals and groups)? Where can you find people like that?

The good news is, your influencers are an excellent starting point for UGC. Next, we’ll discuss others who also present a good opportunity.

Solicit Reviews & Contributors

As discussed, your past influencers or even brand ambassadors are a great place to look for user-generated content. They’ve already proven enthusiastic about your products, and you can easily scroll through their posts to see who has created the nicest imagery and videos. (Psst, this is much easier if you’ve used a branded hashtag for all your campaigns!)

Other good places to look include employees and repeat customers. Both have a vested interest in seeing your product shine, both are excited about what you’ll come up with next, and there’s a lower barrier to entry in terms of convincing both to help you out.

If that’s not enough, you can consider posting an open call for user-generated content. This is just a quick message on your social media feeds along the lines of:

Hey, we’re looking for dedicated content creators to showcase our products and create authentic videos! You don’t need to have a large account or a degree in marketing, but you do need to be passionate about promoting [your product] and willing to let us use and repost your content. Benefits include [monetary incentives, free products, posting on your pages, etc.]. Apply today!

Host a Contest

Another way to find new people who’d like to participate is to host a contest. You offer a prize to the person who creates the best photo(s) or video(s) featuring your product. This motivates people to do something (create content) for free, with the promise that you’ll consider them for the prize.

You can choose one person to receive a truly awesome prize, like a big basket of product or a sizable gift card. Alternatively, you can choose multiple people to receive smaller prizes or reward everyone who participates with a coupon code or other smaller reward that incentivizes them to shop with you. A combination of the above options also works, and it’s a great way to get UGC without having to give out any product for free.

Pro tip: Make sure to include somewhere in your language that you have the right to use whatever content they create with your product. That way, you can harvest and use it for years to come.

As always, remember if you’re having people post on social media to use a branded hashtag that includes the word contest somewhere in it. Not only does this help you promote your contest while it’s ongoing, you can then look back through it later to choose media for use on your own platforms and pages.

Educate Your UGC Creators

Not all UGC creators understand what the role entails. Again, it’s easy to mistake UGC for influencer marketing, but with UGC, there is no expectation that the person will post on their own channels – though they often do, having gone to all that work.

Let them know what the tradeoff actually is: they create content in exchange for cash, incentives, rewards, or product. They can post or not post, but the main crux of the deal is that you now own their content. Your contract can stipulate that you co-own it with them, but make sure to use language that allows you to use and edit the content you receive in perpetuity.

Collect Your Content Somewhere

As we have discussed, it is critical to create a functioning library for your UGC. You don’t want to be forever hunting for the right photo or video to use in a particular campaign.

The best way to manage your collateral as it flows in is to add it to a product information management system that allows you to tag, label, and organize your content. That way, you can set current versions, append text copy and headlines to certain pieces of content, and search for them in a database.

Such systems come in many forms, including UGC-specific and campaign-agnostic types. If you have questions about how this might work, the team at soona is always happy to answer them!

Speaking of soona …

Kick Off Your Campaign with Trend by soona

Ready to create the best UGC content for your brand, but not sure how to get users to help you out? Let an expert take over.

Here at soona, we have cultivated a wide network of dedicated, capable social media users who know how to capture beautiful images and videos using products just like yours. Back in June of 2023, we acquired the top UGC platform, Trend.io. So, if you want to forego the hassle of crafting your own campaign and waiting for results, get started with a Trend campaign!

Don’t wait any longer to create that stunning video and image library of which you’ve been dreaming … let Trend by soona help instead!

related articles

your go-to guide for ecommerce content and strategy
browse all

"it takes time and effort to craft an email. this one lands with lots of value."
- Renee W.

🎉 join more than 30K subscribers