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Top User Generated Content Campaigns in 2021

These user generated content campaigns will inspire you with their viral potential and impressive customer engagement. UGC for ecommerce companies, restaurants, food products, and other consumer brands, can have a huge impact on marketing.

User generated content campaigns offer content to share on social media, the ability to reach new potential customers, and a way to foster a deeper connection with your audience.

In this post, we'll dive into the top features of a UGC campaign, how the marketing funnel works with UGC, and some great examples across different B2C categories.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

5 main features of a user generated content campaign

A user generated content campaign is aimed at getting fans, followers, and customers to create social media content (especially photos and videos) featuring your products, restaurant, hotel, etc.

Also known as a UGC campaign for short, these campaigns typically has the following features in order to maximize the reach of the campaign, clarify requests, and utilize the content that is generated.

1. Contest or challenge

Many UGC campaigns feature a contest or a challenge, but that isn't a required feature. It's simply a way to get a lot of participation quickly.

With the Chobani Flip campaign, users are encouraged to create a video in order to win a case of yogurt for a special product that will never hit stores.

chobani tiktok challenge example

2. Incentivization

There also needs to be some form of incentivization, although it needn't be very expensive. Here are some ideas:

  • A chance to be featured on your social media accounts and/or website
  • Free products
  • A coupon for a free meal
  • A gift card

You might assume that a chance to be featured on your social media accounts isn't enough of an incentive, but influencers who are looking to build their audiences are happy to take images and videos with your product for a shot at showing up on your profile.

3. Evergreen or short-term timeline

A UGC campaign also has some sort of timeline:

  • Evergreen - An evergreen campaign is run ongoingly, with no known end date.
  • Short term - A short-term UGC campaign might only run for a week or a month.

For evergreen user generated content campaigns, it's really smart to include the campaign on the home page of your website.

Dover Saddlery uses Curator, a social media aggregator, to embed Instagram content directly on their website. Above the Instagram feed, the text reads "Use #itsfromdover on Facebook and Instagram to be featured on our home page!"

user generated content campaign usage on website

When you use your website to promote your UGC campaign, you encourage more of your customers to tag you in photos featuring your brand.

At the same time, you generate attractive images to add to your site and to post on your social media accounts.

To make things even sweeter, you also build community and foster brand loyalty by engaging with your customers beyond the initial sale.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

4. Campaign awareness

Generating awareness for a campaign is crucial. Depending on their budgets, brands might promote a UGC campaign to only their own audience, pay influencers to post about it, or they might partner with a platform like TikTok to get their campaign featured on as a trend on the Discover page.

5. Content utilization

And finally, every user generated content campaign must have some way of utilizing the content generated.

For most brands, this means curating the content and posting it on their own feeds. Here's an example of a restaurant re-posting UGC from a customer.

restaurant using ugc

UGC is a win-win situation. You get content to post on social media, and your customers get to feel special when their content is included. Sometimes that's the ultimate prize!

Evergreen user generated content campaign marketing funnels

If the idea of doing a contest or challenge doesn't excite you, that's fine. You can run an evergreen UGC campaign that continues to pull in great content for you to share on social media.

Here's how:

  1. Evergreen campaign promotion - You should include the campaign hashtag in your website and in your relevant social media profiles. That way, customers know about the campaign. You can even include it in the footer of your marketing emails.
  2. Content collection - Track the usage of the hashtag across social media.
  3. Curation and re-purposing - For the images and videos you like the best, reach out to the content creator asking if you can post it on your profile. Even if they use your hashtag, don't re-post without permission, because they may have used your hashtag without knowing that you feature people. Always be on the safe side.
  4. Driving more UGC in a continuous cycle - As more and more people post with your hashtag, their followers will learn about the hashtag and use it too, giving you even more content.

Top examples of user generated content campaigns in 2021

In 2021, user generated content will be an even bigger trend than it was in the past. Why? Late comers to this strategy will be turning to users to help them create content because the pandemic has slashed marketing budgets and made creative photoshoots difficult to execute on.

UGC will continue to dominate. Here are some of 2021's best user generated content campaigns.

Shakira's Girl Like Me

Shakira helped launch a challenge for the new song she released with the Black Eyed Peas. Product companies aren't the only ones that can benefit from UGC. The entertainment industry, including music as well as movies and TV shows, can go viral with UGC challenges as well. Product development companies aren't the only ones that can benefit from UGC. The entertainment industry, including music as well as movies and TV shows, can go viral with UGC challenges as well.

Because the music video included a complex dance routine, it was perfectly suited for a TikTok challenge.

TikTok UGC challenge
  • Type of user generated content campaign: Short-term.
  • Content acquisition strategy: Encouraging users to recreate the dance from the music video.
  • Content utilization strategy: Shakira posted compilations of the challenge on her Instagram account, which has over 70M followers.
  • Number of views for this TikTok challenge hashtag: 275M+ views for #GirlLikeMeChallenge and 453M+ views for #GirlLikeMe.

Lazy Dog Restaurant

You don't have to be mega famous to run a success UGC campaign. This restaurant proves that even small businesses need to be using this strategy if they want quality, engaging content to post on social media.

Instagram UGC contest
  • Type of user generated content campaign: Evergreen.
  • Content acquisition strategy: Include branded hashtags in their profile (#ldtable, #ldbeerclub).
  • Content utilization strategy: The restaurant marketing team posts the content on their Instagram account and credits the creator.
  • Number of Instagram posts using their branded hashtags: #Ldtable has 2000+ posts and #Ldbeerclub boasts 450+ posts.

Wayfair

Popular online market place Wayfair uses their Instagram profile to encourage Instagram users to share photos of Wayfair products in their homes.

Way user generated content campaign
  • Type of user generated content campaign: Evergreen.
  • Content acquisition strategy: They share the correct hashtag to use in the bio section of their Instagram profile.
  • Content utilization strategy: Wayfair posts the best photos on their Instagram account and gives credit to the creator.
  • Number of Instagram posts using their branded hashtag:
    55K+ Instagram posts use the hashtag #WayfairAtHome

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin

Carter's

One of the top brands for baby and childrens' clothing in the US, Carters has a very large Instagram following. They avoid posting only photoshoot images by also including real customers wearing their clothes. Parents can tag them for a chance to be featured. This is a big incentive for influencers in the parenting and lifestyle spaces.

Carter's user generated content campaign
  • Type of user generated content campaign: Evergreen.
  • Content acquisition strategy: Carter's asks customers to tag them in photos.
  • Content utilization strategy: Carter's uses the best pictures in their Instagram account. They also feature testimonials (not photos) from parents in their catalogues.
  • Number of tagged Instagram posts: There's no counter for tagged Instagram posts, but the number of posts with @carters likely numbers in the tens or even hundreds of thousands, as you can see from their profile.

Chobani

Yogurt brand Chobani is taking a modern approach to getting the word out about a new product called Chobani Flip. On their TikTok profile, Chobani has created multiple videos promoting the challenge and re-using challenge content.

Chobani user generated content campaign
  • Type of user generated content campaign: Short-term.
  • Content acquisition strategy: Use influencers to help spread the word about the challenge, which offers a case of a special yogurt product to 25 winners.
  • Content utilization strategy: Chobani is posting creator's content on their profile.
  • Number of views for this TikTok challenge hashtag: 1.7B views for #SwitchTheChobaniFlip

You can find even more user generated content examples here, but those examples are focused on the individual pieces of content not the entire campaign.

How to promote an evergreen UGC campaign

For an evergreen user generated content campaign, you can use your own website, email newsletter, and social media following to get the word out.

If you are a new brand and don't have a very large following, you may want to reach out to the right influencers in your niche to hire them to post about your UGC campaign, in order to get the ball rolling.

How to promote a short-term UGC campaign

For a short-term UGC campaign such as a contest or a challenge, you will likely need to work with partners in order to get the maximum amount of engagement.

You can hire influencers to post about your challenge, and you can also reach out to platforms directly.
If you have a large following, you might be able to utilize that and influencer relationships only in order to show up as a trend on the Discover page.

But as a large brand looking for a billion impressions, it could be worthwhile to just get in touch with TikTok direction. You can contact TikTok here for partnership inquiries.

However you run your user generated content campaign, make sure you also employ a social media aggregator software to embed the content on your website and product pages.

Curator.io is an easy-to-customize aggregator that lets you pull from over a dozen sources. If you'd like to give Curator.io's free forever plan a spin