5 Creative UGC Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Your Business
Running a UGC marketing campaign can be an incredible way to attract new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers!
User-generated content (UGC) is way more trustworthy than branded advertising, and it’s also a great strategy for filling your social feeds with beautiful content.
Whether you’re launching a new product or running a customer appreciation campaign, incorporating UGC into your campaigns can help you drive even more success.
In the following post, we look at 5 creative uses of UGC marketing to grow your business online!
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
In a nutshell, user-generated content is any type of content (photos, videos, GIFs, Tweets, etc.) that’s created by a brand’s followers, fans, or customers.
In its most organic form, UGC isn’t paid for by a brand, so it’s a genuine and honest recommendation being shared on the internet.
It can be as simple as someone Tweeting about your business or an influencer tagging a brand or product in their Instagram Stories:
It also has some seriously impressive benefits for businesses.
In a recent report, AdWeek found that 85% of Instagram users say visual UGC is more influential in their decision-making than brand-generated photos or videos.
Think of it as the digital equivalent of a word-of-mouth recommendation.
While UGC is commonly used for goals like building brand awareness and driving product sales, we’re now seeing the growing use of UGC in marketing and advertising campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and more!
Wondering how you can leverage UGC for your next marketing campaign on social? Here are 5 creative uses of UGC marketing to grow your business online!
UGC Marketing Campaign #1: Promote Your Next Product Launch
If you’re planning a new product launch on social media, incorporating UGC into your campaign could be a great way to drive more interest and sales!
51% of millennials say that UGC from strangers is more likely to influence their purchase decisions than recommendations from colleagues, friends, and even family!
So the more often you can integrate UGC into your product launches, the more likely you’ll be to convert your followers into customers.
Ethical clothing brand @everlane does this really well, often incorporating UGC into their product launches (and re-launches!) to drive interest in a more authentic and genuine way:
The same is true for @glossier! The digitally-native beauty brand incorporates UGC into almost all of its product launches!
What we love about Glossier’s strategy is that they share products with select customers beforehand to get their thoughts, and then share those posts on their Instagram feed as a way to build “pre-launch” hype around the release.
Check out how they did it with their Bubblewrap plumping cream:
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We sent Bubblewrap to @lizhew before it launched to get her thoughts. Here’s what she had to say: “It has the nicest feeling formula! It’s great to layer under makeup or on its own and keeps your delicate eye and lip area 💧hydrated💧 It contains hyaluronic acid and peptides along with blueberry extract (which is a great antioxidant!) and lastly it feels super lightweight and non-greasy as it’s fast absorbing, so say bye to any makeup pilling!”
Online skincare brand @summerfridays also features UGC from influential beauty bloggers and content creators to support their product launches — like with their new CC Me Serum where they reposted UGC to their Instagram Stories:
UGC Marketing Campaign #2: Highlight Your All-Star Customers
It’s important to keep the conversation going about your new product after the excitement of the initial launch has died down, and this is another place where UGC can come in handy!
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“Got acne randomly at 25 – BAD. It was mostly cystic, very often infected, and required A LOT of trips to the dermatologist for cortisone shots and prescription medications. But as I prep my body for a baby (eliminating harmful prescriptions) and have a full time job, taking those meds and even taking the time to go to the dermatologist isn’t an option. After 7 years of research, trial and error, I finally have it under control…But I have to say, my biggest catalyst for change was a topical morning and evening cream from @hersfirst. It required literally 10 minutes of Q&A on the site and a week later it was delivered to my door.” – @piabaroncini 😍 So thrilled you're having such amazing success, Pia! Your skin is glowing!
If your customers love tagging you in their Instagram Stories or regularly use your branded hashtag in posts, you can repurpose this content and post it to your own channels, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
Check out how @kylieskin does it:
Or modern kitchen company @greatjones:
Sharing your appreciation with UGC isn’t just a great way to give your customers a virtual shout-out, but it can also help you drive more interest in your products.
Take @curology for example. The skincare brand often runs customer appreciation campaigns on Instagram that act as “soft promotions” for their business and products:
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YES girl! @yesstxph when you tell people about Curology, you can tell them our secret: it's not magic, just science! When you get the right ingredients for YOUR skin, it can make a world of difference. 🦄 * Results may vary. - #glitterbomb #glittering #glittery #glowingskin #glowingskincare #healthyglowingskin #sparklingskincare #tweets #relatabletweets #productreviews #skincarereviews #skincarereview #skincareregime #skincareregimen #skinspiration
UGC Marketing Campaign #3: Retarget Interested Audiences with Ads
Looking to improve the ROI on your social ads? Then you may want to consider incorporating UGC into your next advertising campaign!
As we already discussed, UGC is perceived as more trusted and genuine than business-generated content.
If you’re promoting a product in your social ads, it makes sense to showcase it in real-life situations that your audience can relate to — and this is exactly what UGC is great for.
Take @mejuri — the direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand often features UGC-based images of people wearing their products in their social ads:
Womens’ lifestyle brand @aerie also uses photos and videos that were created by their customers, brand ambassadors, and even models, in their social ads.
You can also take this strategy a step further by placing a Facebook pixel on your product pages!
If you have a Facebook pixel on your website, when someone clicks on your Instagram ads, visits your website, and purchases one of your products, the pixel tells Facebook that a conversion occurred — so it’s great for tracking your advertising ROI.
But you can also use the Facebook pixel to build ads that retarget people who have visited your website or shown interest based on previous ads.
When building a remarketing campaign for Instagram or Facebook, it’s a really good idea to use UGC in your ad creative — it’s way more trustworthy and can help you create an authentic brand image that doesn’t come across as overly “salesy.”
This is how furniture brand @article does it — if you visit their mobile site and scroll through their product pages, when you return to Instagram there’s a very good chance that a UGC-based Instagram ad from Article will appear!
Check out our ultimate guide to Instagram advertising for a step-by-step guide on how to run your first ad campaign!
UGC Marketing Campaign #4: Run a Hashtag Campaign on Instagram
Sometimes the best UGC marketing campaigns are the simplest — like @disney’s #shareyourears campaign which they ran on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Instagram hashtag campaigns come in all shapes and sizes, but they generally involve people posting their own photos or videos and tagging them with a specific hashtag that your business has chosen.
Your goal can be as simple as inspiring and motivating new followers to live a healthier lifestyle (like Lululemon did with their #thesweatlife hashtag campaign) or it can be tied to a specific cause that you feel strongly about (like Airbnb‘s #weaccept campaign).
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"Acceptance is when someone knows I’m different, but treats me the same. I think it’s easy to find differences, flaws, and faults in other people. It’s harder to find the thread of divinity within each person, but recognizing that force is what inspires us to become the best version of ourselves." Acceptance starts with all of us. Please join us: airbnb.com/weaccept #weaccept
Once you nail down the topic, the next step is to create an engaging campaign hashtag and promote the campaign on your feed and Instagram Stories.
A great example of a UGC hashtag campaign comes from @calvinklein, which turned to Instagram to find images of real people wearing their products.
So far, fans have submitted more than 750k posts on Instagram using the #mycalvins hashtag.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to keep track of your UGC and ensure you’re always fully crediting the original creator, check out Later!!
With Later’s UGC tools and features, you can search for hashtags or posts that your community has created and add them to your Media Library, so you can share them to your feed whenever you’re ready!
UGC Marketing Campaign #5: Run a UGC Giveaway
Contests structured around UGC are all the rage, and with good reason: they’re fun, popular, and great for driving engagement and reaching new audiences.
It’s also common to tie UGC contests to a gift or reward — which gives users that extra bit of incentive to participate!
Here at Later, we recently created a campaign around collecting UGC from our audience.
In order to participate, all you had to do was post a photo to your stories, feed, or Twitter account and tag the post with our #LaterCon hashtag. Users who shared posts with the hashtag were then entered to win some sweet Later merch!
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Dripping in swag. 🤩⠀We've mentioned #LaterCon giveaways, but we're taking the plunge 💧 and sharing all the details —right here, right now! When you help to spread the word about our totally-free, completely-digital, and yet uniquely ~IRL~ Instagram conference, you'll be entered to win exclusive #LaterCon merch ( & we're not talking your average conference tees 💤). ⠀ ⠀ Post to your grid, your Instagram Stories or tweet about LaterCon, and you'll be entered to win! 🎉 Every week we will select 10 winners to get a VIP LaterCon package. Make sure to tag us and use the hashtag! ⭐️ Get a bonus entry when you tag your friends below! 👇⠀ ⠀ ⤴ Link in bio for your free ticket to LaterCon 🎟 ⤴ ⠀
Plus not all UGC-led competition prizes need to be $$$! A recent survey found that 60% of people are willing to share UGC because it allows them to get more likes or to have their content featured by a popular brand.
So if you don’t want to dish out a physical prize, you can also consider making your prize a feature on one of your social accounts!
Encouraging your social audiences to create and share UGC for your brand is a great way to build trust and create a sense of community — but it can also be super valuable for your marketing campaigns!
The next time you’re launching a new product, running a giveaway, or something else entirely, consider incorporating UGC into your strategy, you won’t be sorry!
Ready to start curating and sharing UGC to Instagram? Join Later to easily find, schedule and post user-generated content to your social feeds!