Simplify the Hunt for Prime User-Generated Content

Recently on the Spredfast Customer Community, I started a conversation about the balance between using your company’s branded and owned content vs featuring user generated content (UGC) in social and digital marketing campaigns. Considerations include:

  • Authenticity: When featuring content from your brand or from fans, does it come across as being real? Sometimes heavily produced content is the right approach but other times using UGC can deliver an element of “realness” from your audience that is impossible to present from your owned accounts.   

  • Consistency: While UGC can bring an authentic element to your campaigns, you also need to curate that content to ensure it is consistent and on brand with the message you want to deliver. Does it help tell this story in a way that compliments the other content that is being presented throughout the experience?

  • Inspiration: Ideally content that is being highlighted will inspire others to participate and share your message. It’s often necessary to seed your campaign with owned content that sparks the conversation. Inspiration can come from celebrities or influencers, beautiful and emotional content, or by driving competition between contributors.

I could continue to dig into each of these concepts and explore considerations around authenticity, consistency, and inspiration when it comes to UGC, but rather than do that I’d like to highlight another important factor: how to find the best content and decide what to allow. Here are four lessons that I’ve learned when working with some of the most entertaining and inspiring brands in the world to curate UGC.

History doesn’t alway repeat, but it at least imitates

Planning a UGC-driven campaign? Look back on similar historical campaigns and calls to action to seehow the audience contributed content in response. Explore how long it took for content to come in, what was the tipping point where people really started to engage, and when contributors started to fade. Understanding these trends will help you schedule your calls to action, staffing for moderation, and the length of time to display content.

Don’t spend time doing what you can automate

Using solutions like Spredfast Experiences, you can set up advanced sources and rules to make sure you are only reviewing the content that you need to. Look for patterns in your moderation like consistently rejecting the same keywords or phrases and start rejecting that content automatically. If you have multi-step approval requirements, set up a moderation workflow to automate that process.

Thank your contributors

Odds are if you acknowledge and thank your best content contributors they will either generate more content or recruit their friends. When you find great content, approve it but also make sure the person knows they are being highlighted. Send a message through the social channel that the person contributed.  

If it’s related, go for it

Extend your search for content beyond single hashtags or specific phrases. While you should promote that everyone shares content with a common identifying tag, realize that people don’t always follow the rules. Search for typos, similar phrases, brand mentions, and replies to your calls to action. These may help mine amazing gems of content that you would have otherwise missed.

For an awesome current example of a media brand who does a fantastic job inspiring UGC  and displaying the content in integrated campaigns, check out what NBC is doing with their Red Nose Day Social Stream. You’ll find content that is authentic, consistent, and inspiring from audiences all hoping to make a difference and having fun with their contributions. Do you have any other favorite examples of UGC being used in a campaign?'s picture

Corey Pudhorodsky

Corey Pudhorodsky manages one of the Customer Partner teams at Spredfast who responsible for the success of our strategic customers. He has a deep and diverse career working with organizations from multiple industries and verticals focusing on constituent engagement, social networking, and multichannel direct marketing. Outside of social strategy and celebrating customer success he enjoys tweeting for his kids, flying kites, backyard chicken farming, playing the banjo, and music festivals.