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15 Best UGC Campaign Examples You Can Steal

Last Updated on July 22, 2020 by Stacey Corrin

Are you looking for the best way to transform your audience into paying customers? User-generated content (UGC) is fast becoming the most rewarding way to do this. And with UGC particularly popular on sites like Instagram, it’s even easier to collect and repost UGC from your fan’s accounts.

In this article, we’ll share the best UGC campaign examples to use as inspiration. Then you can use that content to increase trust in your brand and drive new leads and sales.

Before we dive in, let’s look at what UGC is and how you can use it effectively for your business.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content or UGC is content that’s created for brands by their fans and followers. UGC can be almost any content type such as photos, videos, gifs, and more.

But where UGC differs from other forms of fan-made content, is that it’s not paid for. The fans creating the content haven’t received any remuneration for their reviews. Instead, their genuine and honest recommendations are from real customers.

This is what makes UGC a lot more influential than brand-generated content. People are more likely to base their purchase decisions on other customers’ experiences, rather than taking a company’s word for it.

Now that you know what UGC is, how do you collect it so you can use those authentic testimonies to boost trust in your brand?

How to Collect UGC for Your Business?

Gathering UGC is relatively easy, especially if you already have a presence on social media. But even if you’re just getting started with growing your social audience, you can use some of the following methods to collect UGC:

  • Giveaways: Running a giveaway is an excellent way to gather UGC. Photo contests are perfect for this because you’re asking users to submit a photo for entry into your giveaway.
  • Reviews: Reviews are another great way to gather authentic feedback. You can ask users to review your product and include a photo or video to show potential customers.
  • Tagging: Whenever customers purchase your products, ask them to tag your brand on social media with their thoughts. Since tagged posts show up on your social profile, it serves as social proof, demonstrating you have a thriving customer base.
  • Incentives: You can offer a discount or coupon code to customers in return for reviews and feedback that include UGC. This improves the chances of users taking part with little effort required on your part.
  • Challenges: Challenge your fans to create something involving one of your products and post pictures of the results. For example, you can challenge them to redesign a product, sharing the photos on Instagram, which you can use for promotional messages.

15 Excellent UGC Campaign Examples

Now that you have an idea of how to collect UGC let’s explore some fantastic examples you can try for your business.

1. Trivago UGC Contest

First is a UGC campaign example from a holiday comparison site, Trivago. This business ran an Instagram photo contest using their branded hashtag #trivagofaves.

To participate, users had to share an original photo of their favorite hotel listed on Trivago, and tag it using the branded hashtag. The prize was a whopping $500.

UGC campgaign example from Trivago

Trivago posted an Instagram video to launch their contest and generated over 37,000 views. More importantly, they succeeded in generating tons of posts featuring their top hotels and promoting their partners.

2. Lays Twitter UGC Campaign

Another company succeeding with user content is Lays. They ran the #DoUsAFlavor contest asking consumers to pitch their perfect Lays flavor. In return, participants could win $1 million.

Lays UGC contest example on Twitter

To enter, users had to visit the Lays website, pitch their flavor with up to 3 ingredients, and design the bag. 3 flavors were chosen from a panel of judges and released in stores. Then customers could vote for the winning flavor via Twitter, Facebook, and text message.

The reason why this campaign works so well is that Lays involved their fans throughout the entire process. 

You can replicate a similar campaign by creating an online contest using RafflePress. Then users can submit their pitch and designs directly on your website via the 1-click entry methods.

Click Actions to choose your raffle entry methods

And because everything is managed in a single giveaway dashboard, you won’t have to hunt through hundreds of social media posts to find everyone’s entries. 

To vote for a winner, you can run a complimentary voting contest using RafflePress’s surveys and polls action.

rafflePress surveys and polls

Then it’s merely a case of choosing the most popular submission based on the votes and announcing the winner.

3. Starbucks Red Cup UGC Contest

Starbucks’ red cup UGC campaign is an excellent example of how you can collect user-generated content with minimal effort.

Starbucks red cup UGC campaign

This campaign involved asking fans to share creative photos featuring the red Starbucks cup to win $500. Participants had to tag their submissions with #RedCupContest to be one of 9 lucky winners, and with over 302,000 likes on just a single Instagram post, it was a massive success.

You can run a similar campaign by creating an Instagram contest using RafflePress’s Instagram giveaway template on your website and including the Upload a Photo action to collect entries.

Upload a picture action

When you create the announcement post on Instagram, you can ask users to click the link in your bio to enter.

4. National Geographic Wanderlust Contest

The Wanderlust Contest from National Geographic used photography’s power to improve publicity, awareness, and brand development. To enter, users had to share their best nature shot using the #WanderlustContest hashtag. 

National Geographic wanderlust UGC contest

Hundreds of people took part, and the winner received a 7-day photo expedition to Yosemite national park.

This was a genius tactic on National Geographics’s part since many of their promotional material uses stunning photography.

5. Aerie Charity UGC Campaign

There isn’t a rule saying you can’t raise brand awareness and support an important cause simultaneously. And Aerie’s #AerieREAL campaign is living proof of that in action.

Aerie Instagram UGC campaign

Aerie asked their audience to post unretouched swimsuit photos on Instagram using their branded hashtag. In return, they donated $1 for every photo to the National Eating Disorders Association.

The campaign generated over 251,801 submissions, resulting in that amount donated to the cause. And at the same time, it generated tons of awareness for the brand on social media. 

6. Wilko and Netmums Brand Partnership

A recent competition from Wilko, who partnered with family website Netmums, offered participants the chance to win £250 worth of garden and crafting products to help kids unleash their creativity during a global pandemic.

Wilco and netmums ugc contest

To enter, kids had to draw, paint, or craft the birds they spot outside and upload their creations in the Facebook comments.

Facebook comments can get pretty messy and unorganized, so if you’re replicating this example, we suggest using RafflePress to manage competition entries all in one place. 

7. Joules Photo Contest

Joules’ photo contest is another example of a successful UGC campaign.

For this contest, participants had to take photos of their family and friends, including a recent Joules purchase. Then they could submit the photo through the brand’s website or share it on Instagram using the #Joules hashtag.

Joules UGC photo contest

The prize was £500 worth of Joules clothing and a lifetime supply of Jude’s ice cream.

Although it’s a relatively simple campaign, it was successful because it correctly targeted their audience with a fun seasonal task.

8. Swizzles Photo and Video UGC Contest

Similar to the example above is Swizzle’s Squashies contest.

Swizzles UGC Campaign

Participants had to take a photo or video showing what they’re up to during the summer and upload it to the contest website. The winner could receive £1000 and a year’s supply of Squashies for them and a friend.

To create a contest similar to this, check out our step-by-step guide to run a photo contest.

9. Aldis Home Bar Photo Contest

The great thing about UGC is that you can get your fans to be creative, which can result in some stunning contest entries.

This is what Aldis did with their home bar photo contest.

Aldi's home bar UGC contest

They ran a giveaway for the chance to win a year’s supply of shopping vouchers. To enter, all users had to do was like the Facebook post and share a photo of their DIY home bar using the #AldisBarHunt hashtag.

The result was over 11,000 comments, 1,900 shares, and 12,000 reactions. That and tons of photos to use in future promotional messages.

10. Popup Business School Photo Challenge

You can run a UGC campaign even if you’re not an eCommerce business. All it takes is a little creative thinking.

Here’s a great example from the PopUp Business School.

PopUp business school photo challenge contest

For their campaign, they asked business owners, self-employed people, and people considering starting a business to join in. The photo challenge asked those people to share a photo that illustrated what they do (or want to do).

The winner would receive a £200 Amazon gift voucher, with a £50 voucher for 4 runners up.

11. Cornish Horizons Photo Competition

With a global pandemic hitting tourist destinations pretty hard, it’s a challenge thinking of ways to promote those businesses. If you’re in that situation, you can use Cornish Horizons’s campaign as inspiration.

Cornish Horizons photo contest

They ran a photo contest asking participants to share a photo of their adventures with the company, using the #mycornishhorizon hashtag. Users also had to mention which of the brand’s properties they stayed in.

This was a great way to raise awareness of the brand so that people planning their next vacation could keep them top-of-mind.

12. Lidl Funsize Design Contest

Another fun UGC campaign is this photo competition from food retailer Lidl.

Lidl UGC Campaign design contest

They were looking for a name for their range of fun-size bananas and ran a competition asking users for their ideas and designs. The winner would see their design and name on the banana’s packaging. 

3 designs would be chosen based on creativity, and then those submissions would be posted on their Facebook page for users to vote on their favorite. 

Why not try this type of campaign yourself by running a Facebook photo contest.

13. Pegasus Artwork Contest

Art supplies retailer Pegasus used UGC to run a creative artwork contest. 

Pegasus UGC campaign

To enter, users had to submit their art portfolio plus a portrait. In return, they could be featured as “Artwork of the Month” and receive a £50 voucher for their website.

This example demonstrates that you don’t need a huge budget to create a successful UGC contest.

By offering a prize directly linked to their brand, they can target their ideal audience while celebrating their fans’ work. 

14. Painters Online Cupcake Painting Contest

Painters Online ran a similar campaign where users had to submit their best cupcake painting for the chance to win. The winner could receive a digital magazine subscription to their magazine of choice.

Painters online UGC contest

To increase the contest’s reach, they could have used the Viral Refer-a-Friend action alongside the upload a photo action in RafflPress.

viral refer a friend action

This would have improved their chances of securing tons of entries with word-of-mouth marketing.

15. Filippo Berio Coloring Contest

Our final example is a UGC campaign that’s super easy for anyone to enter. Olive oil brand Filippo Berio ran a coloring contest with the chance to win a bundle of pesto goodies. 

Filippo Berio coloring UGC campaign

To participate, users had to download and color the pesto line drawing and upload the results to Twitter or Instagram. They also had to tag Filippo Berio and use the hashtag #colouringwithberio.

If you were to run a similar campaign, why not feature the submissions in a stunning Instagram gallery on your website?

And there you have it!

We hope this article’s UGC campaign examples helped you find the inspiration you need to run your next UGC contest.

Why not check out our guide to creating a viral giveaway to get more social media followers for your brand while you’re here?

And don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for more great tips to grow your business.

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