In Part 1 of this post we looked at the rise of user generated content as a facet of a good content marketing strategy. We also discussed the future role of user generated video and the barriers to this. Here we explore some starting points and guidelines to user generated content.
Redefine the meaning of ‘quality content’
Think of quality content as anything that fosters community around your brand, anything that is shared avidly by your fans, not just professionally produced video or photography. Authenticity and sentiment are more powerful than production value. Moving past this hang up is the main difficulty for a lot of organisations. First up take a look at this innovative campaign by Lexus using user generated photography to put together a film frame by frame. The photos were taken on various phones and users were asked to edit them however they wanted before uploading them, giving the final video a very cut and paste feel.
Give your audience context for creation
People want to create but you must lead them toward your objectives for the campaign. The more parameters you can set them, the more quality interaction is likely. Ask them something specific, set a time limit and make the call to action clear. Conveniently Vine already constrains us to 7 seconds of video and Instagram to 15. Incentive will almost always play a part in your brief; the more to be gained the more effort people will put in and the higher quality content. Of course the gain for some groups could be purely recognition or personal satisfaction, other groups might need something more tangible. A great example of how to set context and constraints is Nissan’s #VersaVid campaign. Users were asked to create a Vine video with a 3d paper cut out Nissan, which was downloaded and printed from a specific website. By giving the resources, the subject and the time constraint (along with a $1,000 Amazon voucher) Nissan ensured high engagement. Here one of the winners.
Empower the real over the professional
There’s nothing more convincing than an independent review or testimonial. In the swamp of marketing communications, consumers value real experience. Empower your fans to bring the ‘authentic’ to your brand. How do they live with and interact with you on a day to day basis? Find and highlight that point where their lives meet your brand. Rather than only pushing your idea of how you’d like them to see you. Some of the best examples of achieving this have been in retail fashion by GAP, Burberry and Urban Outfitters. GAP ran a campaign in 2013 where customers were encouraged to share what GAP’s signature blue denim meant to them and contribute to their What’s Blue To You campaign on Tumblr with gifs or pictures. Adding a different and genuine angle to the very much ‘in-studio’ look of their usual advertising. Here are some of the winners.
Consider how your objective will influence what you ask for
If you are hoping to get the broadest level of engagement possible from your audience, then a simple task or a huge incentive is necessary, as in Lynx’s Apollo Space Campaign or Queensland Australia’s best job in the world campaign (which now has its own Wikipedia page). Whereas if you’re aim is to acquire a small number of high quality submissions and use these to spearhead a campaign, you should think very clearly about who those people are and about how to incentivise them. Ironically the best creators may not always be your biggest fans, but of course this depends on the reach of your brand in the first place.
How can it be valuable for those not directly participating?
Make sure the content that’s being generated doesn’t end with you and the creators. Explore how it can be shared and exhibited online to reach those non-participants engaged with your brand. Think of content as pieces of a puzzle of bricks of a building that combined will be visible to wider audiences. As with the GAP Tumblr campaign mentioned above, where the Tumblr attracts not just creators but any fashion conscious users. Adam Vincenzini at Kamber.com states that in a successful campaign “all parties (host, entrant and participant) are part of a mutually beneficial experience.”