Posted by Jayson Ambrose on 27.02.10
March 1st, 2010 – Toronto, Ontario
Whether you are running a contest, an online audition or a community assignment, attracting UGC submissions can be a challenge. Here are some tips that you can apply to your campaign to draw more content from your website visitors.
Experiential and luxury prizes
While a huge cash prize can bring in a tonne of submissions, you are also going to attract pros and cheaters. Professional contesters scour the net for fast, easy contests and know every trick in the book to stuff the ballet box. A large cash prize is sufficient motivation for a good developer to build software to exploit your user-friendly entry process.
Branded contests and communities should be more interested in attracting their core fans and getting them excited and involved. Music fans will sing into their webcam, remix a video or create an original tour poster if it gives them a chance to meet their favourite band, get the limited edition box set or win an autographed guitar.
Make it Easy
Don't make me think, don't make me work. If at all possible, don't even make me get up: let me say / sing / yell something into my webcam. Got a digital camera? Capture the everyday everyman: "Show us your backyard and win a patio set" or "Show us why you need a new car".
When all else fails, have people upload a picture of their pet! Canadian Living has blown the doors off the UGC contest standard with two massively successful editions of Most Lovable Pet 2009 and this years 2010 campaign.
I don't want to be perceived as evil or a sell-out for participating. For example, "Show us how you club, and win a trip to Baby Seal Island" or "Tell us why you love Telecom Customer Service" are bad ideas and should be avoided.
When I upload my video, a link is automatically posted to my Facebook stream. When someone comments or votes, they can instantly tell all their friends. We have seen huge referral numbers from Facebook on our UGC campaigns. Campbell's Chunky Most Valuable Coach in particular is a great example of getting the most out of Facebook Connect.
Text comments are great, but enabling comment attachments and webcam responses, you can increase the number of photos and videos on your site. Start a discussion or set a community assignment that facilitates the use of photos and videos. For example, a men's forum might have a thread for the best hair style, while women might enjoy exchanging pictures of their gnarliest scars.
As I've written before, community management is key. These days, growing an online community organically can be challenging if not impossible. Community management is the growth hormone and industrial pesticide of niche networks and brand-centric discussions.
Your niche community might be a resource for customers, such as a support forum or advice column. Depending on the technographics of your target audience, your manager(s) may be the life of the party, getting people excited, loosening them up and letting them participate in a way that keeps them feeling comfortable. The authors of Groundswell, a Forrester Research joint, provide the Consumer Technographic Profile Tool for figuring out what makes your audience tick.
Quality user-generated content, and multimedia in particular is not something that comes easy. Applying some of these tips to your next campaign, contest or community discussion will help keep things fresh and unique.