User-generated content has been around for a long time – ever since message boards, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and blogs were invented. We just didn’t necessarily call it that at the start. Today, with the proliferation of social media like Pinterest and YouTube.com, user-generated content has taken on a life of its own.
Some examples of how you can create successful user-generated content campaigns are:
* Host contests – Ask your customers to create videos or pictorials of them using your products and services, or to share something at least slightly related. Then let the public vote on the best entry. Make the prize given valuable to the user, such as free products and services from your company.
* Photo sharing – Have you ever seen your local newspaper show the photo of the day of someone holding up the local newspaper from a vacation in some tropical paradise or while on a spring ski trip? That is user-generated content that can also generate buzz, as well as show how loyal the users of the product are to their followers.
* Social media – Use social media to share inventive memes, create videos and ask for participation from the public. Don’t be shy; ask for the sale! Ask your audience to do what you want them to do. Want them to upload a picture of them wearing your products, or using your products? Ask them. Look at how successful Ellen DeGeneres is at getting the buzz with her user-generated funny family photo stunt.
Here are some super successful websites and businesses who used user-generated content to create wild user-generated success:
Cakewrecks.com is a great example of how social media, a great website idea, and user-generated content can come together to make a viral sensation. All the site does is post pictures of cakes people made or ordered from professional bakeries that didn’t quite turn out the way they expected. The result is hilarious, and very successful in terms of generating advertising revenue for the creator. With a page rank of 5 currently, they’re doing quite well.
Iceland – yes, the country used social media to get friends and generate user content to help increase tourism to the area. They simply created social media pages and asked everyone to become friends. Iceland became personified via speaking of itself in the third person as funny and charming. It was a big hit by an advertising company called Takk Takk. The people of Iceland and visitors to Iceland followed through by uploading their own awesome content to the social media networks, which was free to the country’s tourism board.
Amazon.com has jumped on the user-generated bandwagon by asking buyers to review products that they buy. Anyone can do a review on a product, and then they can also have discussions with others about the review.
The benefits of user-generated content outweighs the downside of user-generated content – as long as you can engage with your audience, take criticism well, and stay engaged and responsive with your audience. Ning.com is one of the biggest users of user-generated content with their platform that makes it simple to upload videos, blogs, and adding to the message board.