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Social Media Contests That Bring in User-Generated ContenNow more than ever, brands are reaping big rewards by hosting social media contests. Contests build buzz, get fans engaged, establish a rapport and – if done correctly – can result in user-generated content that be used in future marketing efforts.

We have a list of social media contests that can bring in a bunch of that user-generated content. These real-life examples increased engagement and as a result created marketing materials that can be used for years to come.

Try a “share your story” contest

One of the easiest ways to boost engagement and encourage user-generated content is to ask an audience to share how they are connected to your product or brand.

For example, Bare Snacks, a line of natural products, asked its fans to share a “bare moment” via a picture or video in its Dare to Bare Contest. The idea was to get fans to show a moment in their life that was real. Fans voted on which submission should win the grand prize, which was a trip to Hawaii.

Dare to Bare

Bare Snacks can use the contest submissions as marketing tools later on. They’re not the only company using this strategy, either. Mountain Hardwear also hosted a similar contest, asking its audience to share their winter adventure story.

A few tips to take away from this contest:

  • The theme of the contest is tied to the brand’s product.
  • One of the easiest user-generated contests on social media is asking for photos or videos. With smartphones, many more people have the capability to contribute.
  • Asking fans to vote is an easy way to increase engagement.
  • Offer a compelling prize. Maybe your business can’t spring for a trip to Hawaii, but a good prize that fits your audience’s lifestyle can certainly be a motivating factor.

Consider a “feedback contest”

Brands can also launch contests that ask followers to provide feedback in some way. Ask for feedback about a new product, an event or an area in need of improvement.

For example, Union Pacific planned to take the last steam locomotive that was built for the company on tour. The company asked its followers to vote on the route. Once a route was selected, fans were encouraged to attend events and upload pictures and videos of the train rolling through town. Plus, Union Pacific created videos and journal entries that were shared with the public along the way.

A few takeaways from this contest:

  • Collecting feedback or letting your customers have a say in a decision is a great way to spark engagement.
  • Submitted pictures and videos can be shared both during the contest and used as marketing material later on.

Set up an “inspire others” contest

A social media contest that inspires others to use your product in a different way, or think of it in a new light, also has great implications for a brand.

Eggo, the brand that makes frozen waffles, asked its followers to submit their favorite Eggo recipe. All kinds of recipes came in. Customers can print the recipes to enjoy waffles in a new way and vote on the best recipe. Winners get cash and brand prizes.

A few tips to take away from this contest:

  • Help customers use your product in a different way.
  • Printable recipes help Eggo increase its reach.
  • Eggo has promoted the contest online and in TV ads. Promotions can potentially boost your return on investment.

What to do with the collected content

Justin Nassiri

Justin Nassiri, owner of social media platform StoryBox.

After a contest, you’ll ideally have a glut of user-generated content. Don’t let it sit idle, says Justin Nassiri, owner of social media platform StoryBox, and the man who helped Bare Snacks create its Dare to Bare Contest. He encourages brands to leverage the newly collected content.

“Our most successful clients are constantly receiving and displaying stories from their community. It drives sales, traffic and interactions,” he says.

“This content can be used anywhere and everywhere a brand interacts with their community. From emails to ads, there is no limit on the places that content can be shared.”

How does your company showcase user-generated content? Tell us in the comment section below.