May 09, 2016 | Shares:

8 Inspiring User-Generated Content Examples & Trends Analyzed
5 min.

UGC examples

Everyone needs a boost of inspiration once in awhile, so we’ve compiled 12 user-generated content campaigns done wildly right, along with tips to replicate the success yourself.

You probably already know the benefits of user-generated content marketing. Not only does it increase customer loyalty, but it also gets you plenty of organic word-of-mouth marketing.

But how do you gently nudge your customers towards creating that content?

And once it’s created, how do you broadcast that content to other potential customers?

These awesome examples can give you ideas for user-generated content campaigns so you can improve your own efforts.

1. Crowdsource Product Ideas like Lay’s

Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” campaign invited customers to invent their own flavors and then allowed fans to vote on their favorites.

lays user generated content campaign

This is an example of a campaign that powered its UGC strategy with a super enticing prize.

Lay’s offered an extremely incentivizing prize of one million dollars for the winning flavor idea. Not surprisingly, there was a massive amount of participation (3.8 million submissions, to be exact).

Lay’s even took the customer involvement a step further by having customers vote on Facebook and Twitter for the winner after it had been narrowed down to three options.

It was a huge campaign undertaking with a hefty incentive, but for brands of any size, here are some basic content advertising tips to learn from this example.

Takeaways:

  • Give your customers the freedom to be creative and the room to have fun with their content.
  • Drive your engagement through the roof and spread the word by making it interesting– people like to share what they are excited about.
  • Ask for customer participation at multiple points throughout the campaign to keep customers involved for a longer period of time, boosting interest in the brand. Lay’s asked for customers to contribute content, vote, and share. Multiple participation points led to more chances that customers will interact.

2. Align Campaigns with Brand Lifestyle like Lululemon 

Yoga and activewear brand Lululemon has a large and loyal following of devoted customers, and they made sure to use that to their advantage in their #thesweatlife campaign.

lululemon campaign

Using their Instagram page as a jumping off point, they asked customers to Tweet or Instagram pictures of themselves active or exercising in Lululemon and to include the hashtag #thesweatlife with their submission.

The reason the campaign was so successful was because it built off the brand lifestyle – being active – in order to get their customers to submit Instagram photos that captured their product but also the emotional connection to the brand.

By using user generated photos to advertise on Instagram, Lululemon created one of the most successful social campaigns yet.

There are many examples of brands that focus on lifestyle – and for good reason, it’s super effective.

Lululemon created a subsection of their website specifically for displaying these images, allowing potential customers to click through.

Furthermore, the gallery also acts as a visual user review of the gear, showing what products look like in action.

If you click on the photo itself, the website uses hashtags to direct you to product pages where you can purchase specific products, streamlining the shopping process.

Takeaways:

  • Run campaigns that involve your product but also relate to the greater lifestyle your brand represents to tap into emotional connection.
  • Encourage the customers who love your brand to post images, and reward them for participating by using those images publicly.
  • Pair campaigns with a catchy hashtag that relates to your brand lifestyle.
  • Make it easy for customers to buy products directly from customer content.
Are you missing out on sales?
Are you missing out on sales? Drive sales with user-generated content. Get my free download

3. Get Content That’s Fun AND Useful like Lowe’s

Lowe’s shows off customers ‘s creativity in only six seconds. Lowe’s launched Fix in Six, a hugely successful social media campaign utilizing Vine. AdWeek considered that it may be one of the best uses of Vine by a marketer, and for good reason.

Vine has proven itself to be incredibly trendy, which has helped Lowe’s to refresh their brand and reach out to a younger generation of customers.

Their “Fix in Six” campaign consists of six-second stop motion videos chronicling DIY home improvement tricks and tips.

The videos are equal parts informative and creative and helpful and silly, and allow customers to see an old brand in a new light.

When it comes to examples of user-generated content campaigns on social media, it’s extremely important for brands to create a campaign tailored to the specific social platform, which Lowe’s did brilliantly.

Takeaways:

  • Try new forms of social media to reach new audiences.
  • Use creative thinking to reposition your brand and keep people interested.
  • If you’re trying to reach a new fan base, go to the channels they’re using, don’t try to bring them to you.
  • Useful doesn’t have to mean boring. Think up ways to create campaigns with fun and valuable content.

4. Increase Engagement with Real-time Marketing like Old Spice

Old Spice created a user generated campaign that kept on giving when they introduced Isaiah Mustafa, otherwise known as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”

Provocative description aside, the campaign gained traction with a series of quirky commercials, and followed up on that interest but developing a user-generated campaign that was based solely around Mustafa.

This response campaign featured videos of Mustafa responding to tweets and Facebook comments from fans in real time.

Old Spice made sure to keep the turnaround time for these responses timely, which resulted in massive social media growth over a short period of time.

Takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid to branch away from your original plan. If something in your customer engagement strategy is gaining traction or generating interest, run with it.
  • Create ways for users to delve deeper into the parts of your brand they find compelling, and keep the connection alive by keeping responses quick and personalized.
  • Use real-time social media responses to show that you’re really creating a conversation around the campaign, not just waiting for responses to roll in.
Learn how UGC can boost your sales
Learn how UGC can boost your sales Drive sales with user-generated content. Download my free guide

5. Integrate Personalization like Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is another classic example of a brand that has been around forever and utilizes a UGC campaign not to show the world that they exist, but to revitalize and solidify their customer connection and engagement.

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign created personalized Coke bottles emblazoned with customers’ names and nicknames and encouraged customers to share a coke with someone (each bottle included the hashtag #shareacoke).

coca cola campaign UGC

The campaign resulted in tons of users putting personal messages on the bottles, such as birthday wishes or even wedding proposals.

This campaign promoted positivity and reminded consumers what they love about Coca-Cola as a brand.

It allowed them to get involved in a virtual way, and included many options for social media sharing, but also gave them a tangible product as a result of their online involvement.

Takeaways:

  • Simple campaigns with a positive message can carry immense power.
  • Campaigns that involve participation by multiple people spread the word organically.
  • Create a platform for your products to be utilized in a way that will make someone smile or laugh and connect with those around them.
  • You don’t always have to give back to the customer with coupons or by sharing their photos on your website. Think of ways to turn your product into a gift.

6. Make it fun & seasonal like T-Mobile

One of our favorite campaigns has got to be T-Mobile’s break up letter. Why is it so awesome?

They made it super easy for customers of their competitors to “break up” with their cell phone providers. T-Mobile incentivized the UGC campaign by offering to pay termination fees for customers who submitted a letter and broke up with their providers in exchange for T-mobile.

t mobile break up letter campaign

The result of the campaign? 80,000 people posted break up letters!

Not only was it a catchy and creative way to get customers involved, but T-Mobile was also able to gain valuable insight into what their customers really want.

Takeaways:

Consider how you can tie your UGC campaign in with brand storytelling and get more than just content from your customers. UGC campaigns are one of the best ways to better understand your customers’ needs, straight from their lips.

7. Cavendish Hotels #ValentineVine

Cavendish Hotels’ #ValentineVine contest asked participants to send in a romantic Vine, and the winner got a free stay at the hotel.

This is another example of the power of visual commerce on social, but in this campaign, the real success was giving a prize that was so closely related to the UGC ask.

Cavendish Hotels also got ahead because they were one of the first adopters in their industry to use Vine for brand promotion. Mashable even covered their contest as an example of a brand leading the trend of creating contests on Vine.

cavendish hotel campaign

Takeaways:

Cavendish shows that the early bird gets the worm. They hopped on to a new social platform to find an innovative way to run a campaign.

What can you learn?

Don’t just copy what every other brand is doing, think of ways you can hop on user-generated content trends, like using a new platform, to run your campaigns.

When coming up with user-generated content ideas, it’s important to look at the latest trends in marketing and think of how you can apply these to a UGC campaign.

8. Pizza Hut Commits to Greatness

Another great Valentine’s Day campaign was #CommitToGreatness by Pizza Hut. They asked customers to propose to Pizza Hut on Instagram or Vine – and they even created an OKCupid profile to add to the game.

pizza hut campaign

By relating to customers in a funny, personal way, Pizza Hut leveraged the holiday spirit in order to get organic buzz about their brand by customers who loved them.

Visuals are a great way to communicate a campaign quickly and simply. By asking for visual UGC on social, Pizza Hut was able to get lots of participation.

Takeaways:

Visual content is a UGC trend that isn’t going away.

Integrating visual marketing UGC, like pictures and videos, takes your campaign off the page and into customers’ hearts.

How to Put Your UGC to Good Use

Now that you’ve ran an awesome UGC marketing campaign – how can you use that consumer generated media to get the biggest bang for your buck?

The smartest content marketers know it’s not about making more content, but being talented at using the content you already have in a variety of ways.

Here are examples of brands who have repurposed UGC in a great way.

This strategy allows you to get more content marketing bang for your buck, allowing you to save resources and increase ROI.

Additionally, it increases loyalty and engagement among your users, and often comes with free social marketing as they show off their UGC among their networks.

These examples show you how to repurpose UGC in marketing and advertising so you can keep on seeing its benefits.

Spread UGC on social

Social media and UGC go together like peanut butter and jelly. So start spreading (forgive me for the corny joke).

But in all seriousness, social media is the obvious place to start because user-generated content is immensely powerful for building social proof.

UGC is one of the key ways you can build up trust on social media in order to sell more effectively and drive more targeted traffic.

Look at how teen retailer Wet Seal uses the hashtag #WSonMe to collect content across social media platforms.

user generated content

A post on Instagram is also displayed on Twitter, getting them double the Instagram benefits for the same user-generated photo.

user generated content

Your UGC should already be distributed across your social media channels, but it doesn’t need to end there.

Create collections of your UGC around different themes, products, or sales and pull them out to use to advertise relevant seasons, specials, or holidays.

Use user-generated content as advertising fuel

Integrating UGC in ads isn’t just smart branding, it’s profitable as well.

The ROI on ads with UGC is higher than on brand-only content ads, and nowhere is this more apparent than on social.

Facebook ads with UGC perform much better than your average ad.

  • 300% higher click-through rate (CTR)
  • 50% lower cost per click (CPC)
  • 50% lower cost per acquisition (CPA)

facebook ads user generated content

One reason for UGC ads’ success is that on social media, people aren’t in the mood for brand-sponsored advertisements. They tend to block out ads – whether with ad blockers or simply by becoming accustomed to overlooking them.

In order for your ad to stand out, it’s not about being flashy, it’s about blending in. Creating Facebook ads with real customer testimonials aligns the ad message with the social experience, making it more seamless and inviting.

Add UGC to marketing materials, like newsletters and blog posts

Everyone likes to get their 15 minutes of internet fame. Showing off great UGC in newsletters, blog posts, and other marketing materials gives you free marketing content, and it also engages your customers who get a chance in the spotlight.

Additionally, people who are featured in your marketing materials are likely to share it on social with their friends.

Marc by Marc Jacobs knew the power of this when they ran their Instagram campaign asking customers to submit photos of themselves for the chance to be Marc by Marc Jacobs models.

marc jacobs trends

Fans not only submitted, but shared their submissions on social media, generating tons of free attention for the brand.

Tap into people’s desire to be seen and recognized by showcasing your best UGC across your brand’s public marketing materials.

Use UGC to build digital, interactive product catalogs

Online visual merchandising with UGC is one of the smartest ways to repurpose customer content. Not only does it show off brand fans, but it shows how customers really wear and use your products.

By using photos taken by your customers (or reviews written by them) to build a customer-created catalog, brands promote authenticity and build trust in potential customers.

IKEA did this with an Instagram campaign that asked customers to take photos of their favorite products.

In the end, Ikea’s digital catalogue built social buzz while also providing an authentic product catalogue that shows how customers use their products.

ikea campaign

A little UGC can (and should) go a long way. Repurposing UGC allows you to get the most bang for your buck while also delighting customers with your innovative ideas for how their content can become part of your marketing.

User-generated content (UGC) campaigns embrace the power of person-to-brand relationships.

Conclusion

We went over a lot of different strategies taken from a variety of campaigns, so, to sum it up, here are the top things to remember about what makes a UGC campaign successful:

Give your customers the power: While it’s important to monitor campaigns so that they are cohesive with your brand image and help you achieve your campaign goals, it’s also necessary to allow customers to have fun and feel free to express themselves. Also, you need to continue to encourage customers to participate at multiple touchpoints. Don’t just give them one option to submit.

Look for marketing trends for user-generated content ideas: Look at the latest trends in marketing and on social to come up with inspiration for your campaigns. This can help you find new platforms or strategies that will set your campaign apart.

Don’t be too promotional: Your campaigns should involve your product, but they should mostly be centered around enforcing the lifestyle of your brand.

How does your Instagram knowledge measure up?

Take our quiz and find out!


See more detailed answers.

Learn how UGC can grow your sales Our ultimate guide teaches secret strategies to turn UGC into salesGet your free copy

Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Blog Manager at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

  • Tikklr

    It’s a really interesting article. What I find quite interesting is that how little things have changed. I started out in publicity and PR years ago and the idea of promotions and testimonial led content was always first on the drawing board. The ideas and creativity haven’t really changed that much what has changed are the channels. Whereas before you had TV, radio, newspapers and magazines now it makes much more sense to start your ideas of in terms of the social media channels that are available

    • Aimee

      You’re totally right – using your customers is a timeless way for brands to enhance their messaging, no matter the medium. Thanks for reading!

  • Hila

    Hey there! You brought up some powerful examples of brands that really used user generated content campaigns to their advantage. By focusing on campaigns that matched their brand lifestyle or by offering incentives, all these brands were able to gain tons of UGC submissions. There’s a new app called FAPL that works similarly to the perks of these campaigns. But, FAPL takes UGC to the next level because for the first time, people can shop directly from user-uploaded or brand-uploaded photos, straight from within the app. In each photo that a user uploads, he or she links exact items from the brands they’re wearing. Then, the brand has all the control by being able to choose which pictures they want to endorse. In the same way that these successful brands offered incentives, FAPL offers points to users every time his or her brand-approved look is “liked” or shopped. It’s a win-win for both the brand and the user! FAPL’s linking and shopping technology does a really good job of closing the gap that even the best UGC campaigns still have. There’s a waitlist for the closed beta of the app, but you can sign up for it here: http://www.fapl.co and click on ‘Get the App.’

  • Really i enjoyed very much. And this may helpful for lot of peoples.
    So you are provided such a nice and great article within this.

No account? Sign Up

Interested in Yotpo?

Schedule a demo with one of our marketing consultants to learn how Yotpo generates reviews and turns them into sales.

It's completely FREE
Thank you.
We'll be in touch ASAP.
In the meantime, enjoy these: