The era of authenticity & user-generated content

How a UGC marketing strategy can help your brand build a community of loyal advocates.

Social media has not only revolutionised the way people create, consume and share content, it is also playing a pivotal role in satisfying consumers’ desire for authentic brands.

Let’s start with a few facts. Almost 2 billion photos are uploaded and shared every day on social media. According to Business Insider, 75% of ‘Instagrammers’ take action after being inspired by someone else’s post. Perhaps most tellingly, less than 1% of millennials respond to, or are influenced by, traditional advertising say Multi-channel Merchant.

In order to maximise ROI from your content marketing efforts, understanding how consumers feel about and react to the content served on various media platforms is the key starting point. Customers are now looking for much more than price, quality and convenience – they want to feel valued to a point where they keep coming back for more and tell all their friends about your brand. They want to be involved in online conversations and be part of your brand story.

Giving your customers a voice through UGC campaigns can be one of the most effective tactics for expanding and growing your brand into a truly powerful force. You’re also creating a culture of contribution, one where they feel empowered to indirectly ‘market’ on your behalf.

Next, some tips for creating a successful UGC campaign. Firstly, it’s important that you align your brand story, values and messaging with your campaign across every platform. Be consistent and think long-term, not short. Create anticipation and build excitement with inclusion and incentives.

Leading Australian Rugby League club Cronulla Sharks recently rolled out their UGC marketing campaign ‘Where the Shark are you?’ to boost fan engagement and loyalty. The campaign encourages fans to post a selfie of where they are watching the game, anywhere in the world. Head of Digital Commercialisation, Scott Maxworthy, said:

‘We were looking for that deep level of engagement and when you have that, you want to leverage that passion for the sport and turn that into compelling content – and build a whole series of engagement around that’.



As a result of the campaign, the Sharks have received many thousands of fan generated photos – and website visits – through social media posts coming in from all over the world. While the majority of participants are in Australia, 37% of fans posting content online are from overseas (The Sydney Morning Herald). The club’s Chief Executive, Lyall Gorman, said: ‘#WhereTheSharkAreYou campaign told us that we have a presence in an amazing number of countries’. Through a simple campaign, with an easy incentive to participate, Cronulla Sharks have engaged with fans from all over the world.



GoPro is also a leading example in building a community of millions of passionate advocates simply by leveraging user-generate content. Around 6000 videos are posted online each day on the brand’s social platform, all coming from the lenses of their fans. With the tagline ‘Capture and share your world’ and the hashtag #GoPro, people are encouraged to share and upload their content online. They can also be rewarded for their creative talent and effort through the ‘GoPro Awards’. A webpage is dedicated to showing the best ‘video of the day’ generated by customers.



The majority of the videos submitted on GoPro’s YouTube channel – which has 4.6 million subscribers and 1.4 billion lifetime views – are from their customers. GoPro’s Head of Programming, Adam Dornbusch, said

‘We get users to submit content and are able to distribute it to as many people as we can over the world. We want to work with users on a much larger scale. This is the heart of GoPro’.

As a result of UGC, GoPro is now arguably one of the world’s largest brand ambassador movements.