1.Improved brand image
Obviously, if the initiative is a success, it can be very beneficial to the brand image. A number of advantages can stem from this, for example increased engagement, greater levels of trust, stronger customer loyalty, and even new customer acquisition.
2. Better digital performance
When people are saying positive things about you, not only does it benefit the brand image, but also your overall digital performance, particularly through:
3. The creation of sustainable digital assets
This type of initiative offers numerous long-term benefits that can also boost the profitability of your campaign. For examples, it’s a good occasion to collect new, qualified opt-ins for your database. It’s also and opportunity to build (or strengthen) an engaged community and natural, loyal ambassadors to advocate for the brand, and with whom you can build long-term relationships. The unique, authentic user-submitted content can be reuse in future initiatives (this option obviously have to be disclosed from the beginning in the terms), or share on your different channels and social platforms. The campaign need not be an isolated thing, but rather can be integrated into a global ecosystem.
4. Low cost R&D
A UGC campaign should be seen as a little goldmine of new learning. Depending on the concept, the advertiser could for example decide to gauge how the audience feels about a new message, concept, idea or offer. You could also directly ask users for help with the development of a new product, the design of a packaging update, or even with testing a new app or functionality. All this, often at very low cost.
5. Gains in terms of time and money
UGC campaigns are normally much less costly in terms of both time and money. Of course, you still need to factor in budget for the preliminary analysis, strategy and monitoring, but after that the user takes care of the ideas for content and production. Which can result in a very positive ROI!
In my opinion, there’s nothing magical about a UGC campaign. Of course there are unexpected successes and campaigns that exceed expectations, but companies shouldn’t bet on that happening. Why? Because users don’t wake up in the morning with an uncontrollable urge to put their time and ideas to use for a company. Users first need to feel engaged, inspired, and above all, they should never feel used. They also need to believe in the company’s offer, and like it enough to want to put their names beside it. There are a number of elements to take into consideration, because this type of campaign is still risky; it could end up having the opposite effect of what you’d counted on.
1. Proceed with a systematic preliminary analysis and ask the right questions
Before anything else, it’s important to undertake an audit of any natural UGC that exists for your brand, to find out if there are already reviews or conversations happening online, whether they’re positive or negative, and whether there’s a way to leverage this organic content. Then, if you’re still ready to move forward with a UGC campaign, I’d recommend asking yourself a few more questions, particularly:
It’s essential to take the time to do this analysis in order to find THE most suitable strategy. You obviously want this to be a positive, profitable experience that resonates with your target audience, and not a controversial or negative campaign. Unfortunately, not every company benefits from the same amount of public goodwill, which means they can’t freely express themselves on every topic.
2. Inspire creativity and freedom of expression while providing the user with direction
Once the preliminary analysis is done, it’s important to take the time to think about the angle, the tone, and the concept of the initiative to make sure you’re setting the user up for a unique experience. Why not appeal to their creativity, their freedom of expression, their own personality and flare? How can you help bring their moment of glory to life, and help make it shine? How can you make them feel useful, make them laugh, or feel moved? That being said, statistics show that users still appreciate a little direction in terms of what’s expected of them, which makes it extra important to provide clear instructions.
3. Decide on delivery approach and understand the advantages/disadvantages
There are two ways to manage these types of initiatives. On the one hand, it’s possible that the advertiser might want to keep a certain amount of control over their campaign, especially if there’s the slightest risk of degeneration. For example, they might require that content generated by users be hosted on a platform that they have full control over, like Woobox or Kontest. In that case, a monitor should be the one to receive and filter content, and only afterwards would a select few be distributed on the chosen platforms.
On the other hand, it’s also conceivable that an advertiser might be confident enough to simply give users free reign to publish first on their own social platforms using a hashtag – and then repurpose a selection of the publications on their own networks. This way of organizing a campaign is far less controlled, offers more freedom, and feels a bit more natural than the previous approach. However, in the event that a campaign takes a wrong turn for whatever reason, it’s nearly impossible to put out the fire. In both cases, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and to think about your delivery strategy.
4. Be sincere in your intentions and aim for a win-win relationship
Users are not fools and won’t consent to doing free advertising unless there’s something in it for them. At the worst, they could feel like they’ve been cheated, even going so far as to comment negatively online – and writings remain (even more true on the web!). Essentially, the user absolutely needs to understand the advertiser’s intentions, as well as their involvement, and what they stand to gain through the initiative. The relationship needs to be win-win.
The contest was a chance for consumers to show off their videos, rather than a chance for the brand to promote their products and push sales. Designing a user generated content campaign that is purely and unashamedly promotional in nature will, more often than not, backfire. The public won’t be agreeable to something they feel is just trying to part them with their money, and a user generated platform gives them the perfect opportunity to strike back and express that frustration. – Inbound Marketing Agents
5. Reward your participants and ambassadors
Finally, to really stack the odds in your favour for a fruitful campaign, it’s recommended that you think of an incentive (like a prize) proportional to the amount of effort you’re requesting. The bigger the prize, the more you can ask for in terms of effort expended or personal information collected, and vice-versa. It would also be very much to the advertiser’s benefit to offer a prize that’s linked to their products or services, so you can be sure you’re generating qualified leads, i.e. that participants are actual brand ambassadors.
When it’s well thought out and executed, UGC campaigns can be an extraordinary chance to shine, to inspire, and to stand out, and all at a very low cost. Have you had any successes or failures with UGC campaigns? Share it in the comments!
Thank you to Marie-Pierre Paradis Claes and Matthieu Casanova for their collaboration on this article.