Blog > Digital Marketing > The Best Practices for User-Generated Content Campaigns

How to Run an Effective UGC Campaign

April 4, 2024
·
9
min read

As social media becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, brands are finding new and more innovative ways to be more connected with their consumers than was ever possible before.

This evolution has also changed the way we market our products and services, making marketing campaigns more interactive and consumer-driven and, best of all, getting loyal customers in on the fun.

User-generated content (UGC) campaigns are a great way to use positive word-of-mouth to amplify your brand message and spread your customers' satisfaction to a wide audience in a more authentic and engaging way than your ads or social media posts ever could.

But if you’re going to run a user-generated content campaign, you’ve got to do it right!

Today’s blog aims to be your guide! We’re walking you through the best practices for your next user-generated content marketing campaign so you can harness your audience’s voice to create deeper connections, boost trust in your brand, and drive more consumer engagement!

What is a User Generated Content Campaign?

A user-generated content campaign is a marketing strategy where brands encourage their customers and fans to create and share content about their brand or products. 

This content can range from customer reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, guest blog posts, and social media posts.

The aim of your campaign is, of course, to boost brand engagement with UGC and leverage the authenticity and creativity of your ordinary users to help you generate organic and relatable content that promotes your brand in a more trustworthy way than traditional advertising is capable of doing, even on its best day.

Best Practices for Your Next User-Generated Content Campaign

A megaphone, for user-generated content being the voice of your audience.

If you’re using user-generated content for marketing, you want to check your UGC campaign strategies to make sure you’re doing so in the most effective way.

Below are some best practices to make sure your UGC campaign is positive, aligned with your goals, and effectively driving the engagement you’re looking for.

1. Have a Clear Call to Action

To kick off your UGC campaign, be sure that you have a clear call to action to invite your customers to start sharing their experiences using specific hashtags, tagging you on social media, or submitting their content directly to your campaign via upload, direct message, or email.

Consider using some of the following to get the user-generated party started.

  • Share Your Story — Encourage users to share their personal experiences with your product or brand on social media, being sure to use a specific hashtag so they can be easily found.
  • Photo/Video Challenge — Ask your followers to post photos or videos showing them using your product in creative ways, tagging your brand directly, and using your campaign-specific hashtags.
  • Leave a Review — Invite your customers to write reviews on your website or third-party platforms like Yelp or Google about their wonderful experience with your product or service.
  • Join the Conversation — Use questions or statements to prompt users to comment on your posts or share their opinions on a relevant topic using your campaign's hashtag.
  • Create and Tag — Ask your audience to create content (art, music, stories) inspired by your brand and then tag you in their posts.
  • Contest Entries — Everyone loves some friendly competition. Start a contest that aligns with your brand and invite your users to submit their entries through social media, using a branded hashtag, or by tagging your brand. Be sure to showcase and reward your winners!
  • Use Our Filter/Frame — If you've created a custom filter or frame for social media platforms, invite your audience to use it in their stories or posts and tag your brand.
  • Question of the Day/Week — Pose a question to your audience and ask for their responses to create an ongoing (and positive) dialogue around your brand.
  • Share a Tip — For products that have multiple uses or require some expertise, ask customers to share their best tips and tricks or their favorite features and how they use them.
  • Tell Us What You Think — Ask for feedback on things like new products, packaging, or features by asking your audience to share their thoughts and suggestions.

Whatever method you use, remember that a successful CTA should be clear, engaging, and geared specifically for the platform where your UGC campaign is running. 

2. Set Clear Guidelines

If you’re going to ask your audience to send in user-generated content, be sure that you do everything you can to make sure that you have plenty of usable, valuable content and that your audience doesn’t waste their time creating something that isn’t going to be used!

To do this, be sure to provide clear guidelines on the type of content you're looking for before implementing any of the strategies above.

Whether your guidelines include thematic direction, content do's and don'ts, or any technical requirements (like video length, image size, 9:16 format, etc.), establishing clear guidelines helps keep your user-generated content more relevant and higher quality.

It also helps to focus on specific themes or topics for things like challenges or contests. This can help guide the content creation process for your followers and make sure your content, whether it’s UGC video, images, photos, or anything else, aligns more closely with your current marketing goals or product focuses.

3. Get Permission

A big check mark. Get creator's permission before using UGC in a campaign.

Having users submit their content on social media is one thing, but if you’re going to use user-generated content for your marketing materials or in landing pages, email newsletters, or your website, be sure to get permission first.

Most users would be delighted for you to share their work, but it’s always a good idea to make sure. You can reach out through direct messages on social media, comment requests, or via a terms of service agreement during the submission process. 

Respecting creators' rights is not only the legal and ethical thing to do but builds trust in your brand and encourages more contributions.

4. Focus on Authenticity

The most valuable aspect of user-generated content is its authenticity.

So, if you find yourself wading through hundreds of submissions for a few to share or feature, it’s a good idea to go for the content that feels more genuine and relatable over polished and professional, nice as those might look. 

Having content that seems a bit on the amateur side is the whole point, after all. Raw and genuine user-generated content resonates better with your audience and shows your brand in a more relatable light.

5. Credit the Creators

You should always give credit where credit is due.

When sharing or repurposing user-generated content on your website, social media, email campaigns, landing pages, or wherever else it's being featured, be sure to credit the original UGC creators.

Tagging or mentioning them within an article or caption not only shows respect and appreciation but makes the content visible to their followers and potentially encourages them to engage with your brand.

6. Be in Legal Compliance

Copyright and privacy laws are still very much in effect even for content not originally created by your brand.

Before using any user-generated photos or user-generated video for marketing purposes, check them to make sure they don’t contain any copyrighted music or brand elements and that you have the consent of everyone depicted to use their likeness.

This will help you steer clear of any legal issues down the road and save you from the hassle and potentially awkward situation of having to pull content from your social media or website after it’s been posted.

7. Promote Positive and Inclusive Content

Promoting a positive and inclusive environment plays a big role in an effective UGC campaign and has the double benefit of being a strategic move and just the right thing to do.

By actively promoting content that celebrates diversity, positivity, and inclusivity, you’ll encourage participation from a wider audience, improve the variety of your content, and position your brand image to potential customers as one with a welcoming and supportive community.

In time, this will build a loyal community of followers around your brand, a community where everyone is included, represented, and respected.

Positive content is more likely to be shared and engaged with anyway!

8. Use Your UGC Across Multiple Channels

Don’t box your user-generated content in a corner!

Use all types of UGC content across multiple marketing channels — social media channels, email newsletters, website content, offline marketing, and whatever touchpoint your customers can expect to find you. 

This cross-channel approach will maximize the reach and impact of the content and bring your brand and your products to new eyes and more potential followers for a more effective UGC campaign!

9. Provide Content Creation 101

If you want awesome user-generated content, then don’t be afraid to teach your followers how to do it right!

Offer resources or workshops on how to create engaging content, covering basics like lighting, sound, storytelling, and simple editing for videos or quick Photoshop tips for images and photos.

Educating your audience not only improves the quality of their submissions but also gives them the skills they need to become more confident UGC creators and contributors.

It’s also a fun and unique thing for your audience to see from the brands they follow and something they’ll appreciate and enjoy engaging with!

Benefits of a User-Generated Content Campaign

Even though your customers are sending in content for you, it can still be a lot of work setting up a successful user-generated content campaign. 

But, if done right, all of that hard work will pay off in a big way.

User-generated content campaigns offer your brand a number of benefits, including:

  • Trust and Authenticity — UGC is overwhelmingly perceived by customers as more genuine and trustworthy than traditional advertising since it comes directly from other consumers.
  • Increased Engagement — Content created by users tends to be more engaging, which encourages more interaction from your followers.
  • Cost-Effectiveness — UGC campaigns can be more cost-effective than content produced in-house or through professional agencies.
  • Improved SEO — User-generated content can help improve search engine rankings as it generates fresh, relevant content for your website.
  • Valuable Insights — UGC is the voice of your audience. It provides direct insight into what your customers like or dislike, which is helpful for your product development and marketing strategies.
  • Greater Reach — Engaging UGC can seriously extend your reach, as your users share content with their own networks. Sometimes, you can even go viral!
  • Brand Loyalty — Inviting your customers to contribute content can make them feel more connected to your brand, which builds up consumer trust and brand loyalty.
  • Content Variety — Creating UGC campaigns results in a wide range of interesting and engaging content, offering different perspectives and something for everybody.
  • Social Proof — UGC is excellent for social proof, showing potential customers that existing customers are satisfied and happily engaged with your brand or your products.

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Looking for Some Guidance with Your Next User-Generated Content Campaign?

As mentioned before, even though your users are producing and contributing the content for you, running successful UGC campaign strategies is still a tough job!

And if you want some help with it, then you might already be in the right place.

Why not partner with Designity for a user-generated content campaign that crushes your goals and connects with your followers like never before?

Designity is made up of the top 3% of US-based creative talent, including social media experts to guide you through your campaign, talented video editors and graphic designers to tweak submissions, and the guidance and expertise of a designated Creative Director to manage your account, lead your creative team, and make sure that your campaign assets are delivered on time and of the highest quality.

If that sounds like a plan to you, then why not take a peek at our portfolio and our user-generated content video services page to see how Designity’s innovative Creative as a Service (CaaS) platform can make a difference for your followers and your brand?

When you’ve decided, go ahead and click here to book your demo call and get started with your two-week, no-obligation trial so you can see firsthand what Designity can do for you.

Are you ready to elevate your next user-generated content campaign?

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About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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