Enhance User-Generated Content on Social Media

Things to Keep in Mind about UGC

UGC campaigns are great until it backfires on you. So here are some pointers to ensure that your bid for more user-generated content does not go sour:

Mind the context

A brand called Entenmann’s tweeted, “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” to promote their low-calorie products. Any other day, the hashtag would be acceptable. Unfortunately for the sweets maker, the same hashtag was associated with a filicide case. The perpetrator was found not guilty of abuse and murder of their child, hence sparking public outrage. People made their sentiments known to authorities and the world by using the hashtag. It went viral, and Entenmann’s decided to join. This caused people to call out the company because of their insensitivity, causing a public relations nightmare.


You can create the buzz, but if there is none, do not force it. For example, do not pay a social media company to put your name or hashtag on the trending list. That was what Walgreens did. Twitterdom was abuzz about the chain of pharmacies being on the trending list when there seemed to be nothing going on. Thus, Internet sleuths did some digging and found the deal the brand made with the social media platform. And instead of generating positive conversations about their brand, they only managed to irk people. Thus, the company ended up sparking negative conversations.


We mentioned several times sharing the UGC that your audience posts. There is a caveat there, though: ask for permission first. Sure, they tagged your brand account and even used the designated hashtag. Still, it is prudent to ask owners whether they would be okay if you shared their content on your account. Doing this helps you build trust with your consumers and lets them know you value your connection with them. Learn a lesson from Kylie Jenner and her legal troubles over her brand logo. While this is a different matter, the gist is the same. The young cosmetics mogul used a British artist’s digital art piece without permission. This led to claims of stealing intellectual property, which turned into a lawsuit.

Failure to address an issue

If there is an ongoing issue regarding your brand, it would be best to tackle it head-on. Publish an apology as necessary rather than skirting around the matter with a UGC campaign. Starbucks did just that at the height of their tax evasion case. On top of that, it was revealed that the company was shortchanging its workers. As expected, the public was not amused. To counter that, the company launched a campaign in the hopes of turning the sentiment around. They even decided to display all tweets with the hashtag on a big screen. Rather than posting positive stories or experiences relating to Starbucks, people tweeted their outrage about the issues the company was facing instead. Therefore, the beverage company just broadcasted all the negative tweets for all the world to see better. Because of social media, it’s an undeniable fact that UGC can play a vital role in elevating brands. But as the examples above have shown, tact, timing, and transparency are essential for a successful UGC campaign. What are your brand’s successful UGC initiatives? Share your story in the comments below!

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