They also grow your audience and attract new potential customers by starting a conversation that relates back to your brand.
UGC campaigns are especially effective in eCommerce because they tap into people’s emotional connection to their favorite brands.
The campaigns with the highest engagement inspire customers to contribute creative content that reflects their individual personality, and therefore creates a sense of community to the campaign.
Here are three examples of successful UGC campaigns in eCommerce, and actionable takeaways from each one.
1. Toms #withoutshoes
Every year Toms runs a one-day UGC campaign that encourages followers to post a picture of themselves barefoot using the hashtag #withoutshoes.
The yearly One Day Without Shoes campaign donates a pair of shoes for each picture posted with the campaign hashtag.
This campaign resonates with customers because is a clear extension of the company’s commitment to helping people in need.
In 2016, nearly 27,500 people posted barefoot pictures of themselves in one day, which strengthened customers’ connection to the brand while also drawing attention to a cause that their customers value.
Make an event out of it - By running an annual campaign Toms gives their most loyal customers something to look forward every year, while also using the opportunity to engage new potential customers.
Amplify your brand personality - The One Day Without Shoes campaign relates to their dedication to giving, a central part of the Toms brand image.
Give participants an incentive - UGC campaign incentives can take many forms depending on the customer base, the industry and the ultimate goal of the campaign. In this case, the incentive to take part in a global initiative with something as simple as a picture attracted tens of thousands of people in one day.
2. Burberry Art of the Trench
Burberry launched their Art of the Trench campaign in 2009, and it is still drawing in new engagement from proud Burberry trench coat owners.
Burberry used customer content to draw attention to the many styles and interpretations of their classic trench coat.
This UGC campaign has a dedicated page on the company website. This makes the About the Trench gallery a destination of its own that shoppers and brand fans can visit for style inspiration.
Burberry takes advantage of this destination by linking each picture to the product page of the coat shown in the customer photo.
But customers are not the only ones who can be inspired by user-generated photos.
UGC campaigns provide brands with valuable insight about their customers’ style and interests, which can influence future product design.
Create exclusivity - Featuring their customer content in a curated gallery on their website makes the Art of the Trench participants feel part of a select group and encourages them to show off their Burberry style.
Make it Shoppable - User-generated photos gets tons of visibility, especially when they are part of a greater campaign. Making those images shoppable gives browsers instant access to product pages where they can find out even more information about the product.
3. Forever 21 #F21xME
Forever 21 encourages customers to use the hashtag #F21xME all year and across all social platforms.
Establishing one hashtag for all user-generated content establishes UGC as a core part of the relationship between the brand and its customers.
It furthermore reflects how much the brand values customer input, which encourages loyal customers to continue contributing.
Encouraging the ongoing use of a given hashtag for all user-generated content leads people to associate the brand with the hashtag.
When someone who has seen the hashtag buys something from Forever21, they will associate the purchase with #F21xME, and may be inclined to post something about their new purchase.
Associate your brand with UGC - By creating a dedicated hashtag for user-generated content, Forever 21 shows customers that they are highly valued and therefore strengthens their connection to the brand.
Encourage ongoing contribution - A consistent hashtag across platforms and throughout the year makes contributing UGC easy and recognizable for customers, which increases the amount of content you collect.
User-generated content campaigns can be ongoing or occasional. Either way, they are an effective way to spread your brand personality and embrace the individuality of your customers.
Give your audience the right incentives and engage them in a way that makes them feel valued in order to strengthen your relationship with them and get tons of word-of-mouth marketing .