Dec 11, 2013
By Jason Boies
Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Best Practices

When it comes to social media and user-generated marketing, automaker Ford has provided some incredible examples. Earlier this year, we took a look at some great social media lessons from Ford. The automaker also executed a completely user-generated "Fiesta Movement" campaign centered on the 2014 Ford Fiesta. 100 participants were give the opportunity to drive their own new Fiestas for eight months, and document their experiences via social media platforms.

User-generated content isn't a new idea, but this was an ambitious use of the strategy from a brand that continues to invest heavily in social media as part of their marketing efforts. Here are just a few ideas for adding user-generated content to your content marketing plan.

Encourage fans to upload photos featuring your product
Bring offline experiences into your online social channels. Asking fans to upload pictures of themselves using your product (with some type of incentive, of course) is the simplest way to generate user-driven content.  Dunkin' Donuts even had fans take the extra step of making those pictures their profile picture for a chance to enter a daily giveaway drawing.

Ask for video submissions and reward the best
Remember the "Best Job in the World" campaign from a few years back? The campaign from Tourism Queensland was a huge success, encouraging applicants to submit videos in order to be considered for the position. The result was over 34,000 YouTube submissions and plenty of attention for the campaign. As Fast Company noted in a recap of the campaign "don't underestimate the power of content creators."

Make your fans co-collaborators on Pinterest
Pinterest fanatics need very little extra incentive to keep pinning. That said, offer an incentive to your top fans -- perhaps ones with large Pinterest followings -- to become co-collaborators on your branded Pinterest boards.

Add your fans as guest bloggers
Make it clear that you're open to having your devoted fan base contribute content to your company blog. Guest bloggers may be so excited to contribute to your brand's content, they'll share their own posts with their networks. Think about it: if your friend got a post published on a brand's website and shared it, wouldn't you give it a read?

Go beyond a blog post with a case study
Consider asking a particularly passionate or long-time customer to write about the experience with your brand as a case study rather than a blog post. Again, always incentivize, perhaps by asking for submissions as part of a new contest. The final version could be a downloadable PDF, presented as a SlideShare presentation, or maybe even a YouTube video

Spotted any recent example of great user-generated content campaigns?  Share them in the comments.

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