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Social Media Campaigns – 5 tips for using UGC

People often ask me about social media campaigns and ideas on what to do that can give real ROI (return on investment).

Well. Like with everything in life, there is no magic formula but one fairly safe bet is to turn to your community and use their content. Create social media campaigns that allow consumers to create content for your brand, and involve them in your story!

Social Media campaigns
CC image courtesy of toyourna on Flickr

I developed and managed such a campaign last year. It was a photo contest and it generated a phenomenal ROI - 18,500 photos were submitted in 3 months - around 1,500 of stunning quality, thus really high value for the brand!

We re-used the photos throughout the campaign period on social media channels, especially Facebook, to reactivate engagement and effectively make people and their photos part of the story.

Social media campaigns that are based on user-generated content can be a win / win for both brands and consumers. Here are my 5 top tips for a successful UGC campaign:

1) Keep it simple

I can't say that often enough. Think broad and target the mass over a complicated or too specific ask (no 'create a video' campaign!!). Also think about what you want to do with the content afterwards. Aim for content that has longevity and has evergreen value. You don't want to end up with content that is only relevant for the campaign and unusable thereafter.

2) Kickstart with small media buy

Don't think that your campaign will go viral. It won't. Instead, integrate a solid sharing mechanism (including appropriate Facebook mark-up etc.) and give it a good strategic push via paid media at the start. Think small paid ads campaign (Facebook / Google adwords / display network). Doing so will give your campaign an immediate platform and guaranteed eyeballs, resulting in greater opportunity for virality and sharing!

Oh, and don't forget to make good use of your other digital marketing channels to promote the campaign, such as your enewsletter and your website.

3) Repurpose content immediately

The great thing about UGC social media campaigns is that you get a fresh supply of cool content throughout the campaign period. Use it on your other marketing channels - on Facebook, as ezine header image, on Twitter, etc. (credit consumers at all times!)

4) Give consumers a platform (it's about them, not you!)

Related to above. People actually LIKE their content being used. It gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel good - hey, brand XYZ thinks my pic is so good that they're using it on their Facebook page! As long as you credit each user as you should, this is a fantastic opportunity for your fans to get exposure while you have free content to promote your brand.

5) Integrate data acquisition

This should be standard for all social media campaigns. Hey, we're not just here for 'engagement' - let's not forget we DO want you on our database too! Integrate data acquisition at various points and do it smartly - don't ask too many details on a form, and make it very easy and attractive for consumers to subscribe. Make it a value proposition, not an annoying or spammy data-grab exercise.

So much for my 5 top tips for a successful social campaign - what are yours?




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