Launching a user generated content campaign can be one of the most effective ways to build your brand, as demonstrated by the companies listed above. While each of their campaigns were slightly different, there were some commonalities between them:
Each brand promoted its campaign over its own website and social profiles to gain traction.
Each brand offered consumers a prize to encourage participation.
Each brand rewarded customers for presenting its products or services in a positive light.
So how can you take advantage of these powerful benefits by creating your own user generated content campaign? Consider any of the following tips as you plan your promotion:
Match your promotion type to your audience.
Several of the different promotions described above involve requests made to users to submit video clips sharing their experiences with a particular brand or product. But it’s worth keeping in mind that creating and submitting video clips requires a certain level of technical expertise that your average customer may or may not have. If, for example, your brand targets elderly customers, this type of user generated campaign may not be the right fit.
Request entries that you can use in your marketing campaigns.
Remember, you aren’t running your user generated content promotion out of a sense of altruism — you want to end up with something tangible that can be repackaged and used in your future marketing materials. So as you design your promotion, consider the types of “entries” that you’ll accept. Pictures, videos, or testimonials are all powerful content types that can be easily converted for advertising purposes.
Make the effort required commensurate with the reward being offered.
If you’re giving away thousands of dollars in value as part of your user generated content campaign, you’ll probably want users to demonstrate a more substantial level of buy-in than if you were offering simple coupons or discounts. If the prize you’re offering is big, making participants deliver something of value in return guarantees you’ll wind up with content you can use in your future marketing campaigns.
Eliminate the red tape.
No matter how much effort you decide to require from your participants, don’t make them jump through unnecessary hoops in order to participate. At a minimum, your entry instructions should be clear, your submission website should be easy to navigate, and your forms require only the fields needed to process an entry and comply with any legal restrictions your giveaway is subject to.
Straighten out any legal issues.
Before launching your user generated content campaign, you’d be wise to consult legal counsel on two important issues: the rights you’ll hold over any content submitted to your promotion, and any restrictions that govern giveaways. First, you need to inform participants about what will happen to the content they create following submission in clear, easy-to-understand language. But also, if your state or municipality (or the mediums through which you run the contest) control how, when, and under what circumstances giveaways can occur, you’ll want to be sure your promotion is in compliance before running afoul of the law.
Given the breadth of the different industries highlighted above, it’s clear that any brand can follow a similar model to promote customer engagement and generate favorable publicity.
Have you ever run a user generated content campaign before? Feel free to share your insights in the comments below!