Have you ever posted a picture on Instagram to enter a contest, used a brand-specific hashtag on Twitter, or shared a brand’s post on Facebook?
If so, you’ve likely contributed to a user-generated content campaign! By posting a picture of your Starbucks cup or tweeting about #WorldNutellaDay, you’re doing the marketing for a brand without even knowing it.
User-generated content, also known as UGC, is any content that has been created by consumers rather than by the brand itself. With the growth in social media “sharing” in recent years, companies have been utilizing user-generated content strategies more than ever – and it’s working.
Consumers who interact with UGC are 78% more likely to make a purchase from a brand than consumers who do not, and similarly, revenue per visitor increases by 75% for brands due to UGC, according to Business Insider. These numbers are even higher for retailers, with a 97% conversion rate and a 106% increase in revenue per visitor when consumers interact with user-generated content.
Consumers no longer just want to absorb content – they want to create it. By sharing a picture of their most recent purchase on social media or by tweeting about their experience with a brand, consumers are becoming the voice of brands across social media.
That being said, some UGC campaigns are naturally more engaging than others. We’ve compiled four of the best UGC campaigns that have engaged consumers across the world – ones that you may have even contributed to without even realizing it.
1. Burberry’s “Art of the Trench” Campaign
One of the first widely successful UGC campaigns, Burberry’s Art of the Trench website was launched in 2009 as a way to revitalize their maturing brand. Customers were encouraged to post photos of themselves in their Burberry trench coats, and users were able to comment, like, and share the photos across Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign worked – the year after Burberry launched the campaign, the Art of the Trench website had over 7.5 million views from 150 countries and Burberry’s Facebook page grew to over one million likes. Not only did the campaign boost their social media presence, but Burberry’s e-commerce sales increased by 50% year-over-year as well. Seven years later, the Art of the Trench campaign is still going strong, with content still being posted to this day.
2. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign
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Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was first launched in Australia in 2011, and then again in over 80 countries including the United Kingdom and the United States. Launched to re-engage consumers in-stores and online following a trend of declining soft drink sales, the campaign featured personalized bottles and cans that replaced the traditional Coca-Cola logo with over 250 common names and words such as “Friend” and “Mate”.
Consumers began sharing pictures of their Coca-Cola bottles and cans across social media, with over 500,000 photos shared with the hashtag #ShareACoke in just a few months. As a result of the Share A Coke campaign, Coca-Cola saw an increase in sales for the first time in over ten years.
3. Starbucks' “White Cup” Campaign
User-generated content campaigns aren’t only used by brands in need of a sales boost. Starbucks launched its White Cup Contest campaign in 2014 as a response to the many creative cup artwork designs Starbucks digital team had seen on social media. The contest encouraged customers to personalize a Starbucks cup with custom artwork, take a photo of it, and post it on social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.
In just three weeks, nearly 4,000 customers had submitted their own personalized cup artwork, and the winner’s design was sold as a limited edition reusable plastic cup later that year. Though the contest is over, the campaign improved Starbucks already strong social media presence and has continued to inspire social media posts over two years later.
4. Walkers “Do Us a Flavour” Campaign
Which flavour will be crowned the nation's favourite? You decide! Vote quick - entries close tonight! pic.twitter.com/qvjbzprqYz— Walkers Crisps (@walkers_crisps) October 17, 2014
After the success of Walkers’ Do Us a Flavour campaign in 2008 and similar campaigns by Lay’s in 2012 and 2013, Walkers decided to re-launch the campaign in 2014 with a new focus on social media. The contest encouraged customers to submit flavour ideas online and share them across social media for the chance to win £1,000,000. Launched in January 2014, the contest had over 1.2 million entries by June of the same year. Six flavours were then selected as finalists, put into production, and sold throughout the UK.
To continue to engage consumers even after the finalists were selected, Walkers encouraged customers to vote on their favorite flavour and even turned three London bus stops into vending machines that accepted tweets as “payment” for a packet of crisps. By keeping their customers engaged throughout the nearly yearlong contest, Walkers was able to boost their social media presence while increasing their brand awareness and sales.
Do Any of These Campaigns Look Familiar?
Even if you didn’t participate in one of these campaigns, it’s likely that you saw or heard about them on social media. Companies are utilizing social media marketing more than ever, and user-generated content is a great way to not only engage current customers, but to reach new ones.