THE CLARUS Blog

How to Gamify Your User-Generated Content (UGC) Marketing Strategies

User-generated content is fun, creative, and produces real results for brands. 

For your brand, the power of user-generated content is real. 

UGC can turn your customers into brand advocates who create and share authentic content that influences purchasing decisions. And the expansion and adoption of new social media platforms have widened the reach and impact of UGC marketing campaigns. 

This article will focus on:  

  • Why user-generated content (UGC) is more popular than ever 
  • Gamifying UGC strategies 
  • Incentivizing participants to share their experiences 

 

Why User-Generated Content is More Popular Than Ever 

Your brands are constantly competing for the attention of their consumers, so how do we stimulate more engagement and conversation? 

Through user-generated content. 

What is UGC? 

Any form of content, including texts, photos, audio, images, or video that is voluntarily created by individuals and shared in blog posts, on social media, brand pages, podcasts, and review sites. 

Your customers create user-generated content when they share their original content on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and/or by uploading their submissions on a promotional contest site.   

UGC is valuable to your brands because it’s a current stream of content created by your best and most loyal consumers. Social media users know what is relevant and you’re accessing these insights by asking them to use a specific hashtag or to submit it through an entry page.   

There are two reasons why UGC is so popular today: It’s about content creation and content distribution. 

Smartphones are amazing loyalty tools for your brands. Your customers have them 24/7 and they capture moments, take great pictures and videos, and create content in the palms of their hands. And after a few clicks, they can distribute it on their favorite social platforms. 

The second reason translates to accessibility+quality+reach=impact. 

Content engagement, product discovery, and trusted content are factors that influence purchase decisions. 

UGC offers massive reach potentially and can be quite impactful for your brand and other consumers. 

To illustrate that potential power, consider this statistic: Ninety-three percent of consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands. 

 

Gamifying User-Generated Content Strategies  

Why gamify UGC? 

A marketer’s goal is to provide a stimulus to drive organic behavior. 

By gamifying UGC your brands can boost the proportion of advocates and amplify your existing advocates. Advocates love talking about your brand and when you gamify UGC you’re giving them another reason to talk about you and share that content with others. 

Topic-only stimuli is a way to gamify UGC to start a conversation and stimulate it to keep it going. 

When you add an incentive, such as a sweepstakes or contest, participants share their content for a chance at winning a prize. Offering an aspirational prize at the top (like a new car or shopping spree) is a great way to get your customers’ attention. 

In 2021 we worked with Heineken on the Heineken Star Quality Sweepstakes. Entrants could win a year’s supply of Heineken. Twelve prizes (one per month) were awarded, each worth $1,040. 

Entrants were asked to upload an original photograph of a “Star Quality pint,” which could include any depiction of a perfectly poured Heineken. 

 

Incentivize Your Customers to Share in Your UGC Sweepstakes 

When running a UGC sweepstakes or contest, it’s important to make it clear what you want. 

Your sweepstakes or contest rules are there to protect you, but most people don’t read the rules. So, make it simple and clear what you’re looking for as far as content submitted from consumers. 

From the start, this will incentivize your customers to share. 

Your UGC sweepstakes or contest should be credible and it needs to be authentic to your brand. 

In the early days of the pandemic we worked with Dixie and the tagline of the promotion was: “What Can Dixie Take Off Your Plate?” 

What Can Dixie Take Off Your Plate? Example. Snap. Share, Submit. What can we do to help you? 

This program, which addressed everyday needs and frustrations people were experiencing at the time, awarded 500 prizes to people across the U.S. and the District of Columbia each week for eight weeks. 

Dixie wanted to help make people’s disrupted lives more manageable.  

Tired of doing the dishes? Need a week’s worth of groceries delivered to your doorstep? Run out of ways to entertain the kids? In need of a home office remodel? Interested in online cooking classes to help wean off food delivery? How about a home haircut tutorial?  

These were some of the questions Dixie asked consumers. 

Entrants were asked to visit DixieOffMyPlate.com and upload a photo or video that offered a glimpse into their current realities, along with a description of what Dixie could do to help. 

 

Keep Your Content Fresh 

Here are a few tips for your brands when considering gamifying your UGC promotions. 

A mix of prizes, including an aspirational reward with smaller more attainable ones, is the way to go. 

Keep content fresh. A month is a good amount of time for people to participate in a gamified UGC promotion. 

When brand enthusiasts create and share their authentic content, you extend the reach of your marketing campaigns, engage social followers more organically, and positively influence consumer purchase decisions.  

Participants can elevate your UGC contest when incentivized to invite friends and family to view their entries in a branded gallery. Winning submissions can be determined by registered user votes, predetermined judges, or a combination of both, as well as through social aggregation.  

To attract new business and increase traffic to your website, let your best customers work for you and spark interest from your social media users. Not only does this drive sales, but it generates buzz about your brand. 

If you need help with any of your UGC promotions or would like to chat about any of your customer engagement efforts, please feel free to contact us here. 

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