UGC Campaigns are a great way to connect with your audience and drive more qualified leads.
A UGC Campaign can be defined by these varieties:
Short run, with a defined prize and judging criteria. Typical length is between two to six weeks long (video contests will take more work, so it’s a good idea to give fans more time with a video specific contest).
Galleries are more sustainable and can run for much longer than contests without exhausting your fans’ patience. Effective if you have an existing passionate social media user base.
Identify your goals in advance:
What do you hope to accomplish with your campaign? What is your audience demographic? What do they like? What kinds of things do they post? How can you incentivize them to accomplish your campaign goals?
Highlight your brand's lifestyle with the campaign, rather than just the product or service itself.
Consider your calendar before designing a campaign: is there an upcoming holiday that brings in business for your company? Is there a product launch or anniversary that you want to commemorate? Events like these will have a built-in hook to entice your fans.
Think about the kind of content that is likely to attract a wider audience.
Contest Design and Launch
Select a contest prize/s that will entice your audience to participate in the contest.
Optimize your content for search
Try to host your contest on your main site and include keywords that you want to rank on your contest page using your favorite keyword tool. Also, try to include your keyword(s) in your Meta data in a natural fashion, particularly in the title and description tags.
Promote your Campaign
Plan and schedule campaign promotions across all of the social channels where your audience resides - Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram, etc.
Market to your existing email list and include the prize in the subject line to improve your open rate.
You can also promote your campaign in a regularly scheduled email newsletter.
Time your launch to coincide with your newsletter schedule. If your newsletter uses HTML, you can use it to push out pictures of your prize. The visuals will help drive engagement.
If you have a blog, write a post to announce your contest.
If possible, plan a press release to get others to write about and promote your campaign.
Actively pursue bloggers.
Create a list of bloggers that are either in your niche or might be interested in your contest and reach out to them through email, phone, or social media.
Tap into influencers.
Influencers are usually social media users who have an established credibility and audience. They can persuade your audience to participate in the contest or promote your campaign. Influencers can be Marco-influencers like celebrities or Micro-influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers.
Forums are a great platform to generate hype for your campaign. If you’ve built a following on an industry-related platform, forums can provide robust referral traffic.
Research a variety of contest directories, such as ContestHound.com, that might promote your contest.
If you have the budget, PPC is an efficient way to get the word out about your contest. However, PPC is generally expensive, so unless you are prepared to invest, look toward more organic ways to promote.
Invest in paid social media promotion for your campaign
If possible, curate a gallery of contestants or influencers willing to forgo the prize for a feature on your site instead, to help provide entrants with tangible examples for their own entries. Alternatively, create examples in house for an on-site gallery.
If you do run longer campaigns, be sure to change things up from time to time. For instance, you might switch your submission theme to keep people interested and entice new users to submit content.
If you have any footholds in physical space, market the campaign to your in person customers.
Search is more of a long-term promotion. Given the time it takes to rank in the search engines, don’t rely on search for contest entries. However, if your contest results in content and links, the search engines can provide you with a steady flow of visitors months after your contest ends.
Promote the campaign until the very end.
Use these promotion sources judiciously. You are trying to build your brand. Never spam or excessively abuse a channel. A meta-goal of your contest is to build long-term relationships with consumers.
End the campaign
Announce your winner, if applicable, via email, site or blog.
You can also choose to follow-up with all entrants with a coupon or promotion.
Collect the data and use it to improve any future campaigns.