UGC: The next level

User-generated content has proven durable, but how do marketers make it a well-oiled machine?

BY Beth Gaston
Content Director

User-generated content is nothing new: It’s Wikipedia. It’s Reddit. Back in the day, it was America’s Funniest Home Videos. (Note: “Dad Getting Clobbered in the Crotch” will beat “Disgruntled Bulldog” 4 times out of 5.) But for marketers, UGC is more than an opportunity to bulk up content offerings—it’s a way to build credibility and engage audiences.

And it’s in demand more than ever: According to Stackla’s 2017 Consumer Content Report, 60 percent of consumers said UGC is the most authentic form of content; three times more authentic than content created by brands.

For many social-savvy companies in 2018, UGC plans are well-oiled machines. They determine objectives, identify the most effective distribution vehicles, consider both the would-be users and the target audiences and iron out the logistics. Check, check, check, check. But there are other prospects that many marketers may be missing.

The most effective campaigns aren’t done in a vacuum; they’re agile and responsive. “Just like any other content strategy, your (UGC) plan has to have specific goals and guidelines to work its best,” Growthetics founder Adi Suja told Ecommerce Platforms in 2018. “If you want (it) to work, you have to measure it. No matter what you choose for goals or how you plan your attack, you need to benchmark.”

By simply tapping into social listening tools and the analytics provided on most key channels, content marketers can accomplish a number of goals:

  • Flag inappropriate content, trolling or fake accounts.
  • Follow what is and isn’t engaging users via “likes” and up/down votes—and incorporate these trends into new and brand-sponsored content.
  • Promote hashtags and vanity URLs for a low-cost tracking tool.

UGC is already cheap and fast. To also achieve the “good” element of this paradigm, it needs to be measured, monitored and expanded upon.

Example: barking up the right tree

People love booze. People love their dogs. People even love #otherpeoplesdogs. So, tapping into the power of UGC, Tito’s Handmade Vodka set up @vodkafordogpeople across major social channels as a destination back in 2013 to share shots of furry best friends, raise money for The Humane Society and other rescue organizations, and ultimately promote the Texas-based spirits brand. Cheers to Bert “Tito” Beveridge for his successful (and “aww”-worthy) UGC idea. See examples of UGC from this campaign in our lead image above.

published: March 11, 2019

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