Written by Harald
3rd February 2016 • 16 min read
In the age of reddit and social media it might be hard to recall that there was once a time when we weren’t able to share our passions as freely.
Without a forum to go to, we had to quietly enjoy our preferences, or wait for the next convention to fully delight ourselves. Today, thanks to social media, we can get together with other fans regardless of where they are.
It didn’t take long for brands to realise the value of this virtual connectivity and the power it had to create communities of weirdoes* all over the globe.
User generated content, or UGC for short, was one of the pieces of this puzzle. Basically, UGC is any content that a user uploads to the internet. The most common type of UGC are pictures, videos and texts.
But how can you harness the power of UGC, you may ask? Luckily for you, you don’t need to have an internationally famous brand in order to use it effectively. In this post we’ll explore 10 user generated content ideas to promote your clothing brand.
*I love weirdoes. I consider myself one. Please, don’t send any hate mail.
1. Create a Community
Companies can take advantage of this “need to belong” and create a community underneath their brand’s umbrella.
An example of a company who created a successful community around their product is Longchamp. They realised their customers were already uploading images of their popular Le Pliage purses and decided to take advantage of it. All they had to do was give them a little push by creating the hashtag #LePliageGallery.
The pictures ended up on their Tumblr, giving the brand exposure and allowing clients a chance to show off their fashion sense.
A win, win situation. Another example of a clothing brand that created a community with UGC was Michael Kors, that managed to increase their Instagram followers by 50% thanks to the campaign.
2. Run a contest
Contests are a great incentive for your followers to generate content. The promise of something free will get most people off their tush.
A typical UGC contest will ask people to upload pictures of themselves using the company’s product. The winner could be chosen by the quality of the photo or the amount of likes/shares it gets.
- Create Guidelines
Some may find them annoying or unnecessary, but contest guidelines are very important. Do some research and make sure your contest complies with the guidelines of the platform you’re using. Here are Facebook’s guidelines, for example. Depending on what country you’re in, some laws may even apply.
- Set a deadline
Don’t give people too much time to participate because then you run the risk of them forgetting. A tight deadline gives a sense of urgency. If you’re asking for something simple like a selfie, then a week or two should be fine.
- Make it simple
In the 3-minute-attention-span era we live in, people don’t have the time to follow complicated rules. If your contest requires your customers to follow, upload, tag, share and fill out a form, then chances are you’re not going to get a lot of participation.
- Stick to one channel
Pick a social network and stick to it. If you’re asking your followers to upload videos then indicate to use only Youtube, otherwise some may choose Vimeo or Dailymotion. Allowing too many outlets will delude your message, therefore less chances of creating an impact. Choosing just one channel will make it way easier for you to sort the entries later on.
- Give something valuable in return
You need to motivate participants by promising something valuable as a price. This might be a coupon, a discount, a free sample of your product – the options are endless. In order to help you choose an appropriate gift, think of your target audience and what they might find valuable.
Stick to one channel for a contest to create a bigger impact
3. Ask for reviews
It is no secret that consumers nowadays trust word-to-mouth recommendations way more than any ad a marketing agency can produce.
Reviews in Amazon and other retailing websites are what likes and comments are to Youtube videos – the more feedback it receives, the higher it will pop up on searches.
Writing a review requires time, Millennials while very community oriented, are not the most charitable when it comes to their time. So you’ll have to come up with creative ways to ask for reviews. Here’s an example.
4. Host an Event
An event provides an environment where you can control all the elements. Event ideas are a launch party and a Pop Up Shop.
To learn about the benefits of having a Pop Up Shop, you can read an article we wrote on the subject. The key to generate UGC during an event is to provide an “awe moment”.
This is something so spectacular people won’t be able to resist to take a picture and upload it to Instagram. A few ideas to create UGC at an event are:
- Organise a photocall
- Go all out with the decorations
- Awesome giveaways!
- Ask someone relevant in your industry to give a talk
- Serve good looking food and drinks
- Use mapping
- Live music
- A Fashion Show
Whatever you do, remember to use a hashtag! And paste it everywhere. Whatever images or video your attendees upload to the internet, you need to be able to get your hands on it. Trust me, it will be much harder to find if they don’t.
5. Approach Influencers
If you’re a new brand it might be difficult to light a spark on UGC. Your followers, no matter how loyal they might be, can not make you go viral if they do not surpass the hundreds. In this case, approaching an influencer might be the way to go.
An influencer is a person who’s got the potential to influence potential buyers. In the past the obvious influencers were celebrities, but now these can simply be YouTubers, Intagramers and bloggers.
Studies have shown that nowadays most teenagers in the US align more with YouTubers than mainstream celebrities. Services like Maker Studios offer to pair your brand with the most appropriate Content Creator.
Use Maker Studios to pair your brand with an appropriate content creator
6. Recognise your followers
It is not just to be polite that celebrities say “It’s an honour to be nominated”. Recognition feels great!
The following study reveals that an employee that feels recognised at work is more likely to think their job is fun, rate their boss higher and feel more valued. But of course, we’re not talking about your employees here, we’re talking about your followers!
They like and seek recognition, as well. If you don’t believe me, take a look at celebrities’ Twitter accounts and you’ll probably run across many desperate pleas for retweets, replies and follows.
While a “like” and “share” are a good ways to recognise customers there are other and more creative ways to do it.
If you’re already engaged your followers and they’re uploading pictures with your hashtag in them, then why not feature them on your homepage?
You could also create a separate website or tumblr account for this job. Give your clients their fifteen minutes of fame in exchange for the content they’re creating for you.
7. Include UGC in your next campaign
Back in 2013 Footwear brand Dr. Martens created a great campaign called #StandForSomething using UGC.
The British company asked its customers to send videos and pictures of themselves explaining what they stood for. The results speak for themselves. Thousands of entries were submitted and needless to say, it was a huge success.
Another great example of a campaign with UGC was Target’s “Help your School”. The American retailer asked its customers to send videos of kids’ reactions to college acceptance letters. The final product is a heartwarming video that promotes Target’s contribution to the American educational system.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a huge corporation in order to create a campaign using UGC.
If you don’t have enough followers on your social media channels yet, ask acquaintances for help. You can put together a how-to video, a parody, or a review. If you don’t have any ideas, check this post for inspiration.
8. Ask for reactions
Reactions make for great content, there’s a YouTube channel devoted exclusively to them! Chances are you’ve seen at least one and laughed at it.
What should they react to? Well, do you have a new t-shirt design? New catalogue? New corporate video? Send your clients a package filled with goodies and ask them to record themselves white they open it. Unboxing videos are very in right now.
Unboxing videos are huge. Videos showcasing the toys inside Kinder Eggs has accumulated more than 35 million views
9. Use Live Events
Music festivals, movie premieres, and football games among others are great occasions to promote your business.
Brands using important live events to promote themselves is nothing new, but if you add UGC into the mix, you’ll get a different taste on the old formula.
Camera brand GoPro created a hashtag called #GoProMusic to encourage people to upload pictures taken with the camera during a live music event.
These strategy allows you to use the momentum of an occasion for your benefit and to interact with your followers in a different way.
10. Be authentic
Whatever you do, remember to always be authentic! Being authentic is not the same as being original. Many brands confuse them, don’t be one of them.
Being original is creating something nobody has ever seen before, while being authentic means being true to yourself. Many brands sacrifice authenticity for originality and the results are often abysmal. Think of what your brand is about and work from that. If you’re authentic and true, your message will vibrate with your target audience.
We’re always looking for new ways to connect with one another and since contemporary brands try to build relationships with their customers, this is true for companies as well. Remember to always acknowledge your followers and to give them something in return for their content.
In today’s world our words may be travelling through underwater cables, but relationships are still as delicate and precious as they were in the homing pigeons period. And if you only take one thing from this article it better be this: Use a hashtag!
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- 10 User Generated Content Ideas to Promote Your Clothing Brand - 3rd February 2016