Content Marketing Strategy

6 Lessons in User-Generated Content Campaigns

By August 20, 2014 No Comments

Are you trying to breathe new life into your content marketing strategy? Don’t worry, someone else will do it for you.

Seriously. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the various advertising agencies and brands that rely on User-Generated Content to power their daily marketing campaigns, including giants like Coca Cola, Samsung, KFC and Starbucks.

User-Generated Content, or UGC, refers to any content created and posted online by non-media professionals, from a review on TripAdvisor to a photo on Facebook. Many brands try to harness this authentic and original content for their own benefit, but few can turn it into a successful campaign.

Digital marketing agency, Silverbean have shared some of their learnings after a World Cup-themed UGC campaign with ScS Sofas this summer. Here is the original blog post.


1)  Keep it simple

The most important factor of any UGC campaign is, of course, the user. Therefore, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to contribute. In fact, once you have your campaign idea, simplify it.



Our recent campaign with ScS was based on a simple idea. Take a photo or video of you and your friends celebrating a goal on the sofa during the World Cup and post it on social media with the hashtag #SofaCelebrations. However, it wasn’t until the end of the campaign that the best content started to appear, so keep your idea simple and give the audience time to ease into participating.


2)  Consider a budget

Although UGC may seem like a free way of generating content, that isn’t always the case. There are a number of costs that you can expect to incur during a campaign, including paying for monitoring tools, social media promotion, advertising, and incentives to get people to contribute.

As with any campaign, you need to set a budget and stick to it. Our campaign initially struggled to generate interest on social media as it was competing with bigger brands and similar campaigns from ITV and the BBC. But, after using some of our allocated budget for Facebook and Twitter advertising, the campaign took off and eventually reached more than 3 million users on Twitter alone.


3)  Make it worthwhile

The first question that you need to ask yourself is why will users get involved in the campaign? More often than not, their motive will be to win a prize or gain some sort of recognition. Therefore, it is important to give value in return for comments, likes and shares on social media or set up competitions and prize giveaways in return for content.



The main drive for our ScS campaign was the great prizes on offer, including a La-Z-Boy sofa and chair, a big screen TV and tickets for Alton Towers, all of which were chosen with the target user in mind. If you give your audience what they want, no matter how big or small, you will stand a much better chance of getting quality content in return.


4)  Repurpose and re-use

Followers, likes, shares, and comments are all nice metrics to have, but they are not particularly long-term. If you are investing a lot of time and money into your UGC campaign, it’s essential to focus on generating content that you can repurpose and get more use out of.

Photos, videos and customer reviews are all great examples of this as they can be used on your social media, blog and even website. After all, that is the main aim of a UGC campaign.


The photos and videos from our #SofaCelebrations campaign helped to generate a whole host of content for the client’s blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, email campaigns, and even printed marketing materials.


5)  Explore different channels

As Silverbean is a multi-service agency, we decided to make the most of all of our digital marketing channels for the ScS campaign, including Search (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Affiliate Marketing.

Our PPC strategy involved bidding on World Cup-related keywords captured relevant traffic from search engines, while we teamed up with a number of affiliates to promote the campaign to their relevant audiences, such as football fans, students and parents. These channels proved to be really effective in driving website traffic and encouraging engagement.


6)  Monitor and Engage

Monitoring and tracking performance is key to any marketing campaign as it allows you to determine overall success and results. But when it comes to UGC campaigns, monitoring is absolutely essential.

There is a danger in encouraging UGC as some of the content may not be complimentary, fair or even legal. It’s important to check contributions every day and keep active on social media to encourage a positive atmosphere and quickly deal with anything negative. This can also provide good opportunities to engage with users and urge them to contribute to your campaign.


We used a number of useful tools during our campaign, such as Sysomos and Google Analytics, but it was the campaign hashtag that proved to be the most important tool for monitoring and engagement, so consider creating one for your own campaign.

It’s important to remember these lessons and carefully consider your brand, audience and marketplace before launching a UGC campaign. You may not be able to make it ‘go viral’ or inspire users to get involved, but you will certainly stand a much better chance of making it an overall success.


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Thanks to Newcastle-based digital marketing agency Silverbean for contributing to the blog! If you enjoyed this post as much as I did, be sure to check out their blog – it’s packed-full of marketing insights and advice, and well-worth 5 minutes of your time!


Author Ryan

I help SaaS companies grow with content marketing. I also drink Scotch. Sometimes together. CMO & co-founder, Cobloom.

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