So you’re scrolling through Instagram and in between all the selfies and memes, there’s probably the occasional coffee and foodie posts, right? Or maybe someone just bought a new car, watch, or purse? As a brand, having your name out there from your customers along with how much they love your product isn’t just a warm feeling in your heart; it’s free advertisement!
User-Generated Content (UGC) can help build your brand if you approach it the proper way. UGC can come in different forms: photos, videos, reviews, blogs, etc. It’s this type of social proof that people notice and use as an indicator of brand quality and trustworthiness.
Here are some examples of brands that incorporate UGC into the look and feel of their Instagram accounts.
Their Let’s Go! campaign was introduced with a fun and adventurous video of sunny summer days at the beach and hikes with breath-taking views. It definitely makes you feel excited and motivated to go out on your own adventure. They feature #heyletsgo for their campaign and an Instagram feed of the hashtag on their website. Their Instagram account showcases UGC for the majority of all their posts aside from the official product posts. UGC definitely works in their favor to portray that life is better lived outside.
On Instagram, their campaign hashtag is #ryourogue. This campaign is powerful because it’s not just promoting a product, it’s promoting a lifestyle; a healthy one at that. People are posting videos of their successes, failures, and home set-ups. No matter what kind of post it is, it’s definitely motivating and it makes you want to join the movement. They feature some of their UGC on their own Instagram feed as well as on their website. The fitness community is a supportive one in itself, so to have UGC shared around is somewhat of a standard.
Active Ride Shop:
This one is interesting because although Active does have Active-branded products, they also carry over 50 other brands. Despite this, they still managed to have loyal customers that participate in their campaign. Active’s campaign is called #theactivearmy and is basically just an archive of the skating community’s camera roll. From progress videos to Best Trick contests, Active definitely utilizes UGC for their own Instagram as well.
GoPro’s campaign is probably one of the biggest and also my favorite. Their campaign is simple: #gopro. It encourages creativity and an active lifestyle. Under their hashtag alone, there are over 43 million beautiful posts from the consumers themselves. This is the brand to follow if you have only a few products focused around the same initiative.
Now that you’ve seen a few examples, let’s get you started with your own campaign. Here are a few things to think about while forming your campaign.
Are you going to incorporate UGC into your brand’s Instagram page? If so, make sure what your campaign will ask for can tie into your current theme or can transition well into a new theme. If your account mainly posts products, try switching it up to showcase a UGC post every other time. The end goal is to showcase your brand’s authenticity between what you present versus what your customer’s actually experience.
Picking A Hashtag
Be careful when selecting a hashtag for your campaign. Keep in mind that some people hashtag certain phrases for fun without purpose, so keeping it very specific to your brand is key. You can always use the brand name by itself like GoPro, but remember that you cannot control what people can post and tag to your campaign.
Launching Your Campaign
You definitely want to make sure people know about your campaign! Maybe have a countdown a couple of days before launch to cover your bases with your whole audience so that they’re aware to look out for something. Add a section to your website that specifies instructions and any disclaimers regarding your campaign, and of course a live feed of the hashtag to feature all the posts for everyone to see.
Delegate campaign management to someone that can answer direct messages, comments, and most importantly facilitate the UGC flowing through the feed. Having a human connection between the consumer and the brand will give voice, credibility and most importantly trust for current and potential customers that are still in the market. Having eyes on the campaign can also play a crucial part in case the campaign goes south (look up #McDStories, yikes). Make sure to have an exit plan for emergencies!
Overall, UGC is a cost-efficient way to get consumers really involved and trusting in your brand more than traditional marketing. Instagram isn’t going away for a very long time, so might as well milk the free marketing while you can!