User-generated content (UGC) is all the rage these days. It seems like everywhere you turn you see a brand or influencer tapping into their audience to call for UGC. And why shouldn’t they? After all, user-generated content increases click rates and conversions. In fact 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchasing decision.
Is there a caveat with UGC campaigns?
One of the biggest problems with carrying out UGC campaigns is getting people motivated enough to take part and engage. Anything from customer reviews to Instagram photos or other social channels activity about your brand is of great value. There’s an entire art form to that and we can’t cover it all here, but it helps to have a strong community to begin with. Sometimes it is good to provide incentives to encourage users and influencers to participate. That doesn’t mean that you need to provide discounts. No need to provide monetary rewards in general, though – sometimes recognition alone is enough. Learn more from our post:
But we’re not here to teach you to suck eggs. You know your business better than anyone, and only you can decide how best to carry out a UGC campaign. We’re here with a different job. We want to share a few of the best user generated content examples that we’ve seen in recent years. We want to give you the inspiration you need to get started when building your own content marketing strategy. Let’s go.
8 Best Examples of User Generated Content Marketing
Love him or hate him, there’s no arguing against the influence of the world’s most subscribed to YouTuber. The interesting thing about Pewdiepie is that he knows that engaging with his audience has always been and will continue to be vital to his success. That’s why he’s recently been challenging his viewers to Photoshop him, to diss him in a rap track or to write Pewdiepie poems. Then he reacts to and shares the results in a weekly video.
Why has it worked for him?
You may wonder why PewDiePie has been so successful and why his social media presence is so popular. One early explanation has to do with online gaming. eSports is huge in the last 7-8 years with more and more people tuning in to watch live tournaments. Either on Twitch (acquired by Amazon), YouTube or other platforms, millennials are increasingly interested in video-gaming. PewDiePie is one of thoseYouTubers who initially rose to fame by playing and recording themselves failing in-game. It’s only logical that his audience would grow, and grow fast! Everything after that came as a natural step forward. His references to his personal life and his attempts to engage with his subscribers (proven by the existence of lots of UGC video out there) among other things, are constantly tips on icebergs!
When the global imaging brand wanted to launch their new LEGRIA mini-camera, they knew they needed to do something different. The LEGRIA mini was specifically targeted at bloggers. So Canon ran a YouTube campaign that asked people to submit their video ideas. Canon gave four lucky winners both the camera and the training they needed to make their videos a reality.
UGC YouTube = increased chances of success
Canon’s campaign is a great example of a UGC campaign. By targeting influencers Canon reached out to and grabbed the attention of a critical demographic. It was the demographic that the bloggers (influencers) were targeting. So generating enough engagement and noise made it easy for Canon to convince their ‘end-user’ to pay attention to their product. Using YouTube was also critical to the success of the campaign. Video content is proven to generate brand resonance and affinity. User generated content on YouTube has always been a natural fit and perhaps even its most natural habitat.
What’s the key takeaway? Always do your research when it comes to social media marketing. Generate demand for your product by reaching out to your ideal customer’s audience.
3. Gary Vaynerchuk
As a thought-leader and internet personality, Vaynerchuk is well aware of the importance of interacting with his audience. That’s why he invites them to send in questions that he can answer on his #AskGaryVee show. D Rock, his cameraman, initially got his job after contacting Vaynerchuk and offering to create content for him. For his 2009 release Crush It! he even hosted a cover design competition and picked his favourite submission as the actual cover.
Why is Gary such a big deal?
To be brutally honest there’s not a lesson to take from this one. Gary Vaynerchuk is a unique personality in the world of digital and social media marketing. Copying his technique, way of speaking, communication skills or even just his approach wont cut it. Only thing we can do is to respect and admire his work and ingenuity. He is honest and doesn’t really care what people think of him. His immediacy in the way he interacts with his audience is unmatched.
4. Fail Army
We could be here all day listing YouTube channels alone. Many popular series – such as Honest Trailers and Man At Arms – ask people to leave a comment to request a topic for the next video and then pick their favourites and create them. But perhaps one of the most obvious UGC examples on YouTube is Fail Army. This basically creates compilations of people’s ‘fail’ videos. It’s become so widespread that the people in the videos often shout ‘Fail Army’ when they fall down or fail at whatever they’re failing at.
There’s sometimes grace in failing
This is certainly one of the most entertaining user generated content examples. Making people laugh has always been the key to success in many aspects of human life. Not only in art, real life but in business as well. Who can forget some of the funniest advertisements in the history of marketing? Fail Army doesn’t stray away from that. It’s always feels a bit cathartic to laugh at someone else’s (not serious) misfortunes. However, this leads to one of the most important reasons of Fail Army’s success in our opinion. People identify themselves quite frequently due to accidents that had happened to them as well. This process of finding something hilarious and then wanting to submit your own fail video is what makes Fail Army such a big deal. Sharing similar experiences and ultimately being part of a community is what it is about. And that’s where UGC comes in.
5. The Swedish Tourist Board
This example definitely qualifies as both weird and wonderful. The Swedish Tourist Board wanted to encourage more people to visit their country. So they set up a scheme in which you can dial a number and be put through to a random Swedish person. This person has signed up to the programme. What’s so great about this? Well, it’s one of the few user generated content examples of an offline marketing campaign that takes advantage of user generated content. In this case, in the form of real people who are more than happy to extol the benefits of the country they live in.
‘Call a Swede’ – one of the most genius user generated content examples
The ingenuity of this UGC campaign is astonishing. It instantly won the Direct Lions Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival in 2016. Ingo Stockholm (part of WPP) were the creative minds behind the campaign. Probably the most interesting bit was that the random Swedes that were being called had received no training and no instructions of what to say. This is where its huge success lied. Its unfiltered, uncensored nature made the most out of user generated content in the form of authentic, honest Swede voices.
6. Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding has nailed down the art of using social networking and user-generated content to engage with her fans. All that while promoting her new music. She releases the song with an accompanying hashtag and asks her fans to submit their footage to go with it. Then it’s all cut together and released to the world.
Why #ellie took Instagram & YouTube by storm
Goulding is getting an amazing avant-garde UGC music video. Her millions of fans get to enjoy a powerful, meaningful reminder of just how much their love means her. It’s one of those user generated content examples that the ‘brand’ manages to truly engage with its audience. It comes to show that music is evolving. It’s not just the product of million-dollar campaigns, budgets, video clips and huge concerts. Those definitely help. But fans seek more connectivity nowadays, especially since it’s much easier to do so via social media. User generated content provides musicians and their fans with the ability to create an honest and meaningful communication channel.
Waze, Foodspotting, Foursquare and other apps are all great examples of companies that have made a business out of crowdsourcing and the data that it can generate. What’s clever about Waze is that it generates both automatic content in the form of the data gathered by the app and manual content in the form of the tips that its users share.
Why did Waze succeed?
It’s clear that Waze had a first-mover advantage when it comes to the power of community design. Waze has become the social network for drivers. Waze’s maps are entirely provided by the users themselves. Simply download the app (it’s free), turn GPS on and let it map your route while driving. You can also ‘beat’ other people on the ‘game’. So why has it been so successful that led Google to acquire the company for reportedly $1.03bn? As said best by Waze’s CEO “Maps are for mobile what search is for the Web”. This brilliant idea harnessed the power that mobile nowadays has, combined with user generated content.
Buzzfeed has a team of four called Buzzfeed Community. This team invites community members to produce and submit content to go on the site. They’ve even created a leaderboard and other gamification features that encourage people to take part. Citizen journalism is one thing, but this new approach from Buzzfeed is something else entirely. It could well signal the future of both publishing and user-generated content campaigns.
The BuzzFeed Community is a content-producing vertical of its very own. It features posts by community members and a leaderboard with the latest on who’s posts are getting the most traffic, likes, comments, and badges. It’s a competitive place, and anyone can join. This is where its huge success lies. People love being part of communities and love competing.
Conclusion – What you’ve learned from these UGC examples?
Running a UGC campaign doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does have to be strategic. Even when you’ve finished the difficult job of encouraging people to create and share user-generated content, there’s more. You need to find a way to share that content and to use it to drive results for your business.
There are plenty of ways to do this. Whether you follow in the footsteps of Gary Vaynerchuk and use UGC on your packaging or whether you use a tool like Miappi to aggregate and display the submissions that you receive.
Harnessing earned media in your content marketing is the future. The only remaining question is how you’re going to find the best stuff. How will you curate and then distribute that great content to the marketing channels where an audience can enjoy it. Good luck!
We may have an idea…
Why not show off your most valuable user-generated content using the Miappi content marketing platform. REQUEST A DEMO
Take a look at our new report about how consumers react to earned content vs owned content. We collected the stats through our own consumer research as well as via other industry sources. It makes for compelling reading for any marketer looking for an edge in their next marketing campaign.