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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:

ugc marketing

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:

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: 

how to use UGC on Instagram content

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!

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:

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!

ugc marketing

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: 

ugc marketing

Womens’ lifestyle brand @aerie also uses photos and videos that were created by their customers, brand ambassadors, and even models, in their social ads.

ugc marketing

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! 

ugc marketing

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).

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.

ugc marketing

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!

Miss out on all the LaterCon action? Don’t stress! You can watch all 11 speakers from Later’s first digital event right here!

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! 

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.