• Marketing Strategy

5 Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content For Your Summer Marketing Campaign

  • Mike Bandar
  • 7 min read
5 Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content For Your Summer Marketing Campaign

Intro

Do you want to tap into user-generated content to build a content database for your summer marketing campaign? Or are you hoping to leverage user-generated content to influence ‌purchase decisions for your potential customers?

Whatever the answer is, user-generated content (UGC) helps you achieve it all. UGC turns your audience into brand advocates and helps you deliver uniquely branded content.

In this article, we'll uncover five different ways you can create user-generated content for summer marketing campaigns to capitalize on that summer rush.

Let's dive in.

What is user-generated content?

Ever stopped to consider the real power behind that candid product review you just read online? What about that Instagram post from a girl in your sorority showing off Glossier’s latest summer collection? These are all examples of user-generated content.

user-generated content

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User-generated content, often abbreviated as UGC, is any form of content — text, videos, images, reviews, etc. — created by a real person (read: customers) rather than the companies themselves. It's the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. And it's been shown to have a considerable impact on buying decisions.

Still not convinced of the importance of UGC? Consider this: a study by Adweek reported that 85% of consumers find visual UGC more influential than branded content. Now that's a statistic that's hard to ignore.

With social media around every corner, UGC is one of the best ways for brands to build trust, engage with their audience, and leverage authentic, relatable marketing campaigns.

So, are you ready to harness the power of user-generated content in your summer marketing strategy? Let's dive into the five ways you can do just that.

Imagine an eyewear brand that wants to launch its summer sunglasses collection. The brand wants to pique the curiosity of its target audience to spark a buying frenzy, so they run a giveaway.

They’ll be giving away their full summer collection (a $500 value) to the person who shares the quirkiest picture of themselves in a pair of glasses from one of their previous launches.

Giveaways and contests are a great opportunity to engage with your audience, generate interest in your products, and create a content engine.

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Look at how HEIR Raleigh, a jewelry brand, uses giveaways to encourage its customers to share their photos of the brand's jewelry via social media posts to win a prize.

instagram picture

(Image Source)

Why it works: Because the brand asks people to share the selfie with their jewelry on Instagram stories and tag the brand, it gives the brand UGC content in higher volumes.

By doing this, they'll get pictures of their customers who have purchased from the brand and styled its products.

How to implement: First, identify the goal of your giveaway. Do you want to build brand awareness or generate sales?

Next, decide on your giveaway guidelines.

  • If you want to build brand awareness, encourage participants to share a picture of them using your product.
  • If you want to influence sales, encourage participants to share their experience with your product and brand.

Now, jot down the tasks the participant needs to execute to enter the giveaway. Also, highlight the eligibility criteria and the participation deadline.

Finally, be transparent about the criteria for winning the giveaway. Tell the participants the parameters on which you'll assess the winner‌ — ‌based on the most accurate answer, quirkiest picture, or chosen randomly.

2. Collaborate with social media influencers

Influencer marketing is a valuable asset for brands when leveraging user-generated content. By collaborating with niche influencers, you'll tap into their loyal following that trusts them wholeheartedly.

Plus, doing this gives you content from influencers that you can use on your website, your product pages, or even targeting and retargeting ad campaigns.

Here’s how this beauty and lifestyle influencer reviews Estee Lauder’s serum on her Instagram profile.

instagram picture

(Image Source)

Why it works: Because the beauty influencer shares her experience of using the serum on her Instagram profile, her followers are likely to read the review. Since she is already using the product, her followers trust her recommendations.

This way, the brand not only gets user-generated content in collaboration with the influencer, but their product also builds credibility among the influencer’s audience.

How to implement: Find the influencers in your niche. If you are a men's apparel brand, you’ll target male fashion influencers. Send them your summer collection and ask them to try out the clothes and share feedback with their audience. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Using the barter method
  2. Paying the influencers

Discuss the content format they’ll use to create content: image or video. Before they publish the content, make sure they tag you as the collaborator in the post (on Instagram). This will also allow the sponsored post to appear on your Instagram feed. Utilizing social media virtual assistants facilitate influencer outreach and efficiently manage various tasks.

3. Use customer reviews and testimonials

No doubt, customer reviews are a fantastic way to build trust among your audience and get new customers.

But customer reviews also help you build a UGC engine where your existing customers share their reviews and transformations after using your products and services.

Repurpose these testimonials in your social media feed or Instagram stories. You can even save them as Instagram highlights for new visitors, as the popular brand Hims does it with customer reviews about their over the counter ED pills.

instagram profile

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Why it works: Customers can send reviews in the form of videos and texts, which gives your brand ample opportunity to use multiple content firms.

Plus, when you embed customer reviews on your website, it’ll help push visitors further down the sales funnel. The same goes for posting these testimonials on social media. It’s an excellent way to catch the attention of visitors who have just landed on your profile.

How to implement: First, focus on getting customer reviews from your existing and past customers. Ask the customers if they’d like to send you the testimonial. If they agree, you can send them a short questionnaire (maximum 3–4 questions) you’d like them to address in the testimonial. Also, give them different formats to choose from: text or video.

Once you receive testimonials from them, use tools like Senja and Testimonial.io to embed these customer reviews on your website or embed them in blog posts. Your conversion rates will improve tenfold.

testimonial.to

(Image Source)

If you’re feeling creative, turn them into custom graphics using a photo editor like Hims does in the example above. The small details matter. And your customers will notice your efforts.

4. Create creative hashtags

Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to increase social media reach. What’s even better: they can help you find UGC content.

When a customer buys products from you or shares a review of your product, they can use your branded hashtags for this purpose. It’s a simple (and cheap) way for brands to land UGC content that they can use on their social media feeds.

Adding these hashtags allows you to access to retweet, repost, and share on your own marketing channels. Sounds idyllic, right?

Side note: This strategy works even better when you organize giveaways, contests, and challenges and want to find all the submitted entries in one place.

For example, you can run a summer campaign with #summerpets to get users to share pictures of their pets enjoying summer. You'll see users sharing pictures of all types of dog breeds like Catahoula bulldogs, poodles, German Shepherds, golden retrievers, etc.

#summerpets

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Why it works: Using the #summerpets makes it easy to find and keep all the images and videos in one place. It's like a database — all you have to do is type in the hashtag to find pictures.

How to implement: First, identify the theme of your summer campaign. The theme will be aligned with your business. For example, if you run a pet food business, the theme will focus on fresh pet food for the summer months.

You can also create sub-themes like pet health and pet toys. Now, come up with a few words that resonate with the campaign. Like, for a summer cat campaign theme, the hashtag could be #coolcats or #hotcatsummer.

Side note: Before you finalize the hashtag, check social media platforms to see if these hashtags are already being used. You must only use unique hashtags when leveraging user-generated content.

Also, it’s important to determine the best time to post on Instagram. Otherwise, it could feel like you are throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping for something that sticks.

The goal is to post at the optimal time when your target audience is most active and, therefore, more likely to see and engage with your content.

5. Include UGC requests within your website

Use your branded app or website to pull in requests from users and customers to share content. This way, you can make specific requests and get the specific content you want from these customers.

For example, Alpenglow, a sunset and sunrise forecast app, embeds the UGC component within their app. Here, users can submit a field report, photo, and score that lets the brand know whether the forecast was right.

mobile phones

(Image Source)

Similarly, they could run a summer campaign where they could ask users to submit pictures of sunrise and sunset forecasts during the summer.

Why it works: Because Alpenglow is asking their customers to share sunrise and sunset pictures during the summer months and ask them to rate forecasting results, it helps the brand hit two goals:

  1. Get visual content from users, which fuels their content engine.
  2. Get a score for the forecasts which boosts the brand’s credibility.

How to implement: First, identify the type of UGC content you intend to create to meet your business goals. Do you want more social engagement? Or do you want to increase website conversions?

Once the goal is defined, identify how you want to communicate about this UGC summer campaign to your existing users and customers. You could either send them a notification after they achieved a milestone with your product or send them a questionnaire form like Alpenglow did.

To create the feedback form, you can simply use tools like Typeform to create the questionnaire. You can then embed it in the customer’s in-app or website experience.

User-generated content isn't just for social

Let's debunk this myth that user-generated content is only for social media once and for all.

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You can use it as social media content but also via other marketing channels such as your website, app, and within your email marketing campaigns.

All you have to do is use the above five methods we shared with you to leverage user-generated content. A free social media scheduler can queue all your user-generated content across all your social media accounts for a successful summer campaign. And remember, you can repurpose these customer experiences into different types of content.

If you still feel unsure of which way to go forward, start by collecting customer reviews and then maximizing them with other strategies later.

Here’s to your success!

Mike Bandar

Mike Bandar

Entrepreneur

Mike Bandar is an award-winning UK-based entrepreneur. A Founding Partner of Turn Partners, the startup studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround, or creation of digital businesses. Through Turn Partners, Mike co-founded Hopper HQ the Instagram planning and scheduling tool, working with thousands of influencers, brands and agencies around the world.

Link: HopperHQ.com

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