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Playing the long game: how UGC isn't a quick fix

Many brands nowadays look for a quick, instant solution to their problems. Whilst this may be deemed as necessary, quality results are always worth more than the quantity collected. This quality vs quantity debate is the difference between a successful UGC campaign, and a not so successful one, because at the core of UGC is realism. It's real life in its raw form. How can you match that type of content with a sheer number? A successful campaign is one which generates these real testimonials until you have a library of real people telling their real-life stories. So don't rush it, and plan wisely.

Community considerations

A campaign can never be run quickly if you want it to be run well. And the first stage to running a good campaign is to get it right with your community. If you don't know what they would respond to, or what makes them tick, then your campaign will be ill-fitted and will gain no replies. You have to first think about the wording of the social media posts that you upload, as well as the wording of everything you send out to your audience. We explain this step in more detail in our e-book.

One must also consider how much you are actually asking of your community. The perfect example of this comes form our work with Flora. Flora launched a campaign with us to collect videos of people performing kitchen trick shots. Did we have hundreds of replies? No. But what we did get was hours and hours of engagement yielding quality videos to re-share on their channels. This is what Flora aimed for- quality results over quantity. But if you want lots of choice of videos, make the task small and manageable.


So now you've planned the thread and it's launched, but why aren't you getting any replies? UGC collection is a long game primarily because you need to give the thread time to gather replies. Replies equal social proof, and social proof gives people clicking on the thread a reason to upload. People need to also see people like them on the thread, so there has to be sufficient time for the thread to not only be seeded, but to be seeded with the right videos. Of course, you can choose to do this yourself to speed up the process, but waiting for replies is nonetheless a dependent process.

What these replies will also give is examples of things to talk about. Say you've clicked on the thread, it's asking you to recite your favourite childhood memory, but you don't know the style of answer. This process would be enough to put many people off replying all together, that is why waiting for a few replies or adding some will give users inspiration.

Social Channels

But why am I still getting no videos? Well, have you thought about the social channels you advertised the thread on? Is this really where the thread will gain popularity, or are there other channels it can be posted in? Nonetheless, even if it is on the right channels, you need to give the post time to circulate and gain popularity. You will not instantly be a big hit and every member of your community will upload a video. It'll take time for people to suss out the thread and see if it's worth doing. In the end, though, it'll only take one person to click on the link for the word to then be spread. But you have to give it time and ensure you've tried everything first.


If, as part of your campaign, you've appealed to influencers for the thread to gain popularity, consider the time in which you message them. Is it at the end of a working day, when all the messages are being lost in the inbox? Do they have a family so are on holiday or inundated by the time of the year if it's the summer or Christmas holidays? Consider also if you've over-shot and messaged only influencers with a high following, or ones who don't do collaborations or unpaid work. All of these reasons put together could be why they haven't replied to your message or uploaded a video. In the same way as ordinary members of the public, you also have to allow them time, so message in advance.


Overall, there are lots of things one must consider before and during a campaign which take time. Collecting UGC is not going to be a quick turn-around, with instant videos to repurpose on your social media or website. Either way, if you allow the campaign the time and space it needs, you'll get results, whether it's a couple of really rich testimonials or a library of them. Those coming into the UGC world need to acknowledge all of the steps involved to get the most out of it.

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