It doesn’t take much to kick off a row in our office: Who finished the champagne? Where can I park my Porsche? What’s become of my cashmere nipple tassels? It’s the same thing every day – and one subject that’s guaranteed to get everyone’s collective knickers in a twist is the prickly thistle of User Generated Content.
Although the vast majority of good online content is user generated, it’s very rarely associated with a brand of any kind. That’s because the best UGC is accidental – a lucky twist of fate borne of inspiration, flair, and most of all; timing. Everything from afro ninjas has relied on timing. Just as the best art is created without boundaries or instruction, so online content is at it’s best, unfettered and free. It’s very difficult to be inspirational on cue for a specific brief.
Good content is the holy grail of online engagement – the price brand owners increasingly recognise they have to pay to get and hold consumer’s attention. So much the better if they can inspire a virtuous circle of UGC: Advocates create good free content – which other people see – they get inspired to interact with the brand – and go on to create more good free content.
We are living in a golden age of user generated content, right across the media. Reality shows and 360 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every year, but the leap of the imagination is getting people to share it with brands. That takes motivation and trust.
So how do you inspire a good UGC campaign? We’ve run a few of them now and we’ve found the most important consideration is: Incentive vs Demand. Your incentive has to be compelling enough to inspire the level of participation you desire, and people will always be more motivated to do something fun than something dull. So when we were giving away boxes of snacks for Doritos offered £200,000, but you have to put together a TV-quality ad to get it.
People can still be motivated by even the smallest incentive – and to prove it; I’ll send a shiny new pen to the best comment posted below!