How-Tu Tuesday: Curating User-Generated Content

Picture for Rene Looper Rene Looper

March 9th 2016

Feeling a wee bit tired of having to churn out endless streams of content to satisfy your customers? Well here’s another option for you to consider – user-generated content (UGC). There are many definitions for UGC and here’s one we think explains it best.

Short for user-generated content, UGC is the term used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media created by consumers or end-users of an online system, service or product and is publically available to other consumers.

There is nothing hotter in the world of marketing right now than user-generated content campaigns. Advertising agencies and brands worldwide are trying to tap into the immense power of their fan/customer base and use their authentic and original content to power their marketing campaigns.

One brand in particular which has greatly benefited from involving the public in their marketing efforts is Calvin Klein. The company initially launched the #mycalvins campaign two years ago with celebrities and other influencers in the fashion industry being the main target. However, Calvin Klein quickly saw the attention their campaign was getting and decided to include their followers by encouraging them to upload their own photos to Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Once the followers had submitted their post, the brand directly asked if they could use the image on a dedicated, shoppable Calvin Klein portal (image above). Two years later this campaign is still going strong, and in the last 4 months alone, there has been over 100,000 posts uploaded to Instagram mentioning #mycalvins. The company has refreshed the popular hashtag, and for their Spring 2016 campaign they are encouraging customers to fill in the blank: “I ___ in #mycalvins”.

This continues to be one of the biggest success stories of UGC, which may be due to Calvin Klein not only having made it their goal to drive sales, but more importantly, to be relevant and to create a conversation that people want to be part of. The benefits of UGC are clear, but not all brands are as successful in curating content from their customers. Below are a number of techniques which may help boost your volume of UGC…

Develop An Influencer Marketing Strategy

Whether you have a specific new product or service to launch, or you simply want to increase your visibility through UGC, a good place to start is to capitalise on the influencers who fit with your brand. With #mycalvins, it was celebrities who initially supported the campaign which generated buzz and ignited a desire within customers to get involved.

Launch A Social Media Campaign

The problem that most brands run into when implementing a UGC strategy is encouraging their followers to post content that can be shared. Creating a specific social media campaign or competition can be a good way to engage with the audience and motivate them to post their own images and videos via the relevant social channels. Brands should also be careful in ensuring that they state in their T&Cs that any content submitted can be reposted.

Encourage Reviews

UGC does not only refer to photos and video content. It can also include reviews, which are often much easier to obtain and a good place for brands to start. They will provide you with authentic content from your customers that can be shared to verify your services/products. Customers can be encouraged to leave reviews via the brand’s own website or mobile app, specific review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, on social media sites like Facebook, which allows users to leave reviews on company pages, and also through email marketing where a follow-up email to a recent purchase can be sent.

Create Designated Hashtags

The success of the Calvin Klein campaign was derived mainly from the now very well-known #mycalvins hashtag. Using a hashtag will not only encourage consumers to post content but will increase engagement and help spread awareness of the campaign, as anyone can search the hashtag and interact with the posts. This has been very effective with well-known popular brands as people have instantly recognised the hashtag and want to be involved, hence the crazy buzz surrounding #mycalvins.

Further Reading:  See Out of Blog Ideas? Try User-Generated Content by Valerie Levin

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