3 Ways to Enhance User-Generated Content

Fun fact: I was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006! 

It’s true — and you were too. In 2006, Time Magazine named “You” the person of the year for your contribution to the rapid rise of user-generated content on the internet, including blogs, reviews, images, videos, art, and testimonials. Many things have changed since 2006, but UGC is still one of the most influential forms of content on the internet, which makes it an invaluable resource for expanding your digital marketing content strategy.

So, what is user-generated content?

User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like: it’s organic (free!) content created by your supporters to promote your organization’s work. It is widely considered the most trustworthy and authentic form of content marketing. Ultimately, consumers value the unbiased reviews or endorsements of their peers and can easily spot when something is #sponsored or an #ad.

Additionally, one of the best ways to foster engagement with your audience is through user-generated content. Supporters that create UGC genuinely believe in your mission and want to help you make an impact. Giving them ownership over your mission through UGC will increase engagement and turn them into your best brand evangelists.

Here are 3 ways to enhance your UGC strategy:

#1 Find out what already exists

If you’re just starting to think about your UGC strategy — the good news is you have already been collecting submissions! Most organizations have a large group of supporters who are promoting their brand on various digital platforms, but they just haven’t tapped into it yet. The most popular place to find user-generated content is social media. Check out your tagged posts or mentions across all social channels. Some of your supporters may have even turned your organization’s name into a hashtag, so try searching different variations of that name as a hashtag. 

Finding out what UGC exists not only provides you with content that you can share or repurpose, but it gives more insight into how your organization is perceived. The content that users create is from their perspective and shows what your organization represents to them. 

#2 Motivate your audience to share

To level-up the type of UGC that you collect, you can create a campaign. User-generated content campaigns are a common strategy that several top brands utilize. For example, one of the most well known is Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign.

The goal of UGC campaigns is to determine the best way to get your followers to share content related to your organization. The most successful UGC campaigns have a few things in common. 

They are:

  • Personalized: Find a way to make your campaign personal to your audience, so they feel connected.
  • Low effort: To appeal to a large audience, make participation easy.
  • Engaging: Participation in your campaign should motivate your audience to engage with you. 
  • Involving: Your audience wants to know they are contributing to your organization’s impact by participating. 
  • Goal-oriented: Running any campaign should always lead back to a goal.

Defining how to shape a campaign around these main aspects is what will drive real impact and increase UGC submissions.  

#3 Create evergreen ways to get involved

In order to maintain a constant stream of UGC submissions, your organization can add evergreen ways to submit content on your website or through a branded hashtag. A few non-profit organizations that are doing it right are:

The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA)

OCRA has a section of their website that asks their community to share how they are connected to ovarian cancer either on social media via #ovarianstory or by submission on their website. Whether someone is a caregiver, survivor, recently diagnosed, or honoring a loved one, OCRA knows that everyone in their community has a unique story. By collecting and sharing these stories, they are able to bring their community closer together. 

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an online program called eBird that is dedicated to connecting the world’s largest birding community. They created a digital place where birders from around the world can not only connect but actually contribute data that helps to advance the science and conservation efforts of the Cornell Lab. 

In today’s social-driven world, user-generated content will increase your organization’s trustworthiness, awareness, engagement, and authenticity. Your supporters are your biggest advocate — so use them!

Need help leveraging your user-generated content? Drop us a line!


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