Marketing June 22, 2020 Last updated June 22nd, 2020 1,329 Reads share

How To Use Online Contests To Collect User-Generated Content

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If you want to collect user-generated content from your audience, have you considered running a contest?

User-generated content includes anything made by consumers and posted on social media, such as images, videos, graphics, and more. It can do wonders for your business by improving brand visibility and increasing conversions.

Nearly 60 percent of marketers consider social media a significant platform for executing their marketing strategy. As most online contests happen through social channels, it’s guaranteed to drive conversions for your business.

But getting UGC isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You need active, willing participants who are happy to use social media to enter an online contest and create content of their own.

The Importance of User-Generated Content

User-generated content comes with plenty of benefits for businesses.

Cultivates Brand Awareness

Since people post UGC on social media, it’s easier to build awareness for your brand that didn’t exist before. Once your contest is running, users will be able to see your audience’s posts and feel the urge to check out your business.

Provides Unique Content

Marketers are constantly looking for ways to spice up their content and grab users’ attention. With UGC, you get a different perspective coming from your audience that’s sure to spark interest in others. You can use the unique content you receive and repurpose it for future campaigns.

Builds Stronger Relationships

Around 31 percent of B2B marketers say that social media helped them build deeper relationships with customers. User-generated content makes it easier to interact with your audience and cultivate stronger bonds.

Drives Conversions

Did you know that 43 percent of people use social media to research products and services before buying? If they search your brand and see all the activity it receives from users, it’ll push them to engage and invest.

So, if you want to collect UGC, here’s how to use online contests to do so.

Know Your Audience

Without knowing what your audience wants, you can’t create a contest that speaks to their interests and encourages them to participate. To collect quality UGC, you need to cater to your target market and give them a contest they’re eager to engage with.

The best way to create a suitable contest is to research your audience and collect information about them. The more you know about them, the easier it’ll be to create a contest that converts.

Send customer surveys asking for the information you still need but don’t have. You can learn a lot by adding open-ended questions that give users more room to express their thoughts. Monitor your website analytics to see where visitors leave your website and where they stay so you know what content works best.

Take what you know and turn it into buyer personas. These are detailed profiles of your customers meant to help you refine your marketing strategies and meet your goals. You’ll want to include information such as age, location, buying behaviors, pain points, and more.

Determine Your Goals

If you create a contest with no clear goals in mind, then don’t expect to reach any sort of milestone with your audience. You need to set your intention so you can take actionable steps in the right direction.

Collecting user-generated content is a common goal for businesses that host giveaways and contests, but you might have more than one. You may also want your contest to:

  • Move users through the conversion funnel
  • Grow your email list
  • Build brand awareness
  • Reduce your bounce rate
  • Create stronger customer relationships

All of these things, and more, are possible when creating contests suited to your target market. It’s important that you know the specifics of what you want to accomplish so you can create suitable steps to follow.

Set Your Rules

You can use the rules to get what you want and grow your brand’s visibility. How? By setting them to fit your needs.

When users enter your contest, they must follow the rules to be a legitimate contestant. If they want a chance at winning, they need to do what you say. You can use this to your advantage by requiring them to submit UGC that promotes your brand and its products and services.

To enter your contest, you can ask your audience to:

  • Create unique content that relates to your brand
  • Tag a couple of friends in your post
  • Follow your social media
  • Share their UGC across social media
  • Add a branded hashtag to their post (which we’ll discuss next)

The Empire State Building’s official Instagram asked users for UGC accompanied by their brand hashtag:

user-generated content

You don’t want to require too many things for your contest to the point where no one participates, so choose your rules wisely. Think about your campaign goals and create rules that align with those needs.

Create a Branded Hashtag

Your contest can gain a lot of attention and engagement through branded hashtags that apply specifically to your business. Branded hashtags are effective because they’re unique to your brand and show users relevant content concerning it. With more than three billion social media users worldwide, you need to ensure you see each other.

Hashtags are a promotional tool you can use to build brand visibility and get your name out there. Social media, especially on Twitter and Facebook, relies on hashtags to categorize and sort content. People rely on hashtags to see relevant posts related to their search.

Create a hashtag unique to your business that will promote your contest. When users upload UGC and add the hashtag, it’s a one-stop-shop for all the content your audience submits. They can see entries from other users and feel even more encouraged to participate and tell their friends.

For their user-generated content campaign, Red Bull created the hashtag #PutACanOnIt and received many entries they could show off on their own page:

Your Turn

Collecting UGC doesn’t have to be a challenge for your business. You can leverage social media and prizes to encourage user participation and meet your goals. There’s so much that UGC can do to elevate your business, so it’s crucial not to neglect it in your social media marketing strategy. How will you collect UGC in your next campaign?

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Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi

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