User-generated content (UGC) campaigns need extensive thought and planning to protect the brand’s reputation while providing a fun, creative and rewarding experience for fans.
There’s no shortage of brands that have experienced the speed with which UGC campaign can be hijacked – whether due to poor planning (such as the gloriously misjudged #McDStories from 2012), poor timing, or lack of awareness of the brand’s true public perception. When these campaigns go wrong, they can do serious damage to a brand’s reputation.
What are the key components of successful UGC campaigns?
- Ask the experts. Consult with your social media experts for their knowledge and input. If you don’t have a group of social media experts, enlist a reputable firm to help guide you.
- Ask the trusted outsider. Sometimes we’re just too close to our work. The team that comes up with a brilliant idea doesn’t always have the distance from it to see the possible pitfalls. See what other people think of the idea before making the campaign public.
- Get legal advice. Discuss the campaign with your legal team. Protect both the campaign and the brand with the correct terms and conditions.
- Establish your social media strategy. Ensure your Social Media strategy is ready before launch. The strategy should include an examination and understanding of what could go awry and build a backup plan just in case.
- Build your team of specialists. Have a skilled moderation and/or engagement team in place, and, when possible, pre-moderate user-generated content. Having a team that can address any potential problems in real time keeps any possible issues from spiralling out of the brand’s control.
- Keep control. Maintain control by using your site, or a custom designed platform. Safeguards and filters can often be pre-set and can help keep you in control.
What do successful UGC campaigns look like?
Successful UGC campaigns are based on a genuine collaborative relationship between brands and fans. They’re based on shared values and a sense of community.
Buffer does this well on Instagram with #buffercommunity. Buffer is a strong proponent of flexible working practices, and it designed a social media tool to help people manage their social accounts from anywhere at anytime.
On #buffercommunity, users share their window on the world with Buffer users worldwide. It’s a great way to show the brand’s values in action.
No matter how good an idea for a UGC campaign is, it still needs careful planning to place the brand in a positive light.
Running a UGC campaign means handing over some creative control to fans, but it doesn’t mean you have to leave yourself open to attack.
Deb Kemp is a Project Manager with The Social Element, and has been with the company for 11 years managing an array of projects spanning multiple clients, countries, and languages. She directly manages service delivery, provides training, and quality assurance for some of our biggest clients. Deb has been involved in Digital Safety for the past 16 years, with a particular passion for keeping children safe on the internet. Deb currently lives in Canada.