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Scarily effective ideas for user-generated content marketing this Halloween

Halloween is the spookiest time of the year, but there isn’t anything scary about the ROI of user-generated content marketing (UGC). For some time, it has been a best practice in ecommerce to include one or two pieces of UGC, often customer photos and reviews, at the bottom of a catalog page. We’re now moving into a practice called “Social Commerce” where the top brands are using UGC throughout their funnels from awareness to advocacy.

UGC creates an authentic connection between brand and customer, and is a compelling tactic to include in a merchandising strategy. It supports product awareness when used on organic social, paid social, and paid search. The best way to use UGC to boost sales is to use it throughout your entire funnel. 

Getting started: User-generated content marketing and Halloween

Halloween, and other holidays, are times when people are eager to share photos and other content. It’s a great time for brands to grow their available content through UGC efforts. This lets you turn your customers into content engines and creates a wealth of visual media that can be repurposed throughout the year.

The easiest way to start the user-generated content engine is to ask your customers to create and make it easy for them to share it. 

Why UGC?

User-generated content is anything made by the consumer, as opposed to the brand itself. It could be photos, videos, status updates, reviews, blogs, and more. The effectiveness of brand-created advertising has been shown to be decreasing. People are looking for connection, authenticity, and brands they can trust.

Think about the last time you ordered something from an ecommerce site. You likely scrolled down to see the ratings, reviews, and commentary from other people. A study by Social Times shows that  92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content.

Overall, 81% of consumers now rely on UGC when forming their purchase decisions.

Make it easy for customers to share

First, ensure your customers can easily find and reference your social handles and any associated hashtags. Your handles and preferred hashtags should be present on landing pages, customer nurtures, emails, receipts, and checkout pages.

Brands often find success in directing customers to specialized contest landing pages that accept content from a variety of sources like social, direct upload, and SMS messaging.

Be specific on content needs

Ask your customers to generate the type of content you want. Multiple studies have shown that customers are up to 50% more inclined to create a specific type of UGC when prompted. This could be asking them to write a review on a specific site, share a photo to a specific hashtag, or otherwise capture their engagement with a specialized landing page.

Listen and aggregate

You should implement a content aggregation or social listening program. The best tools will be able to monitor multiple channels to find the UGC your customers are sharing. Yes, some of it can be done natively on social platforms. But as your brand grows and your customers increasingly produce content, you’ll need to deploy a more robust scalable solution. Being inundated with too much content is a good thing!

Launch a contest or campaign

If content creation is slow, you should consider launching a contest or hashtag campaign. The best contests will have multiple avenues to participate including a hashtag, social mentions, direct submission, and SMS/text message submission. We’ll explore some noteworthy UGC campaigns below.

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Respect your customers’ rights

Respect your customers and their rights. Just because someone shares content with your hashtag or mentions you does not mean you have the right to use it. You should be obtaining opt-in permission from anyone who submits content that you will reuse. Do not open yourself to legal liability by ignoring this important piece of the puzzle.

Creative user-generated content marketing for Halloween

Wish keeps it simple

Last year, online retailer Wish had an incredibly powerful campaign powered by a single piece of UGC. They used a photo from someone who had bought a variety of their Halloween decorations from Wish. The caption read simply. “We’re really digging this décor philosophy of more is more.” They had hundreds of shares, thousands of views, and it has become a case study in marketing simplicity.

Wish did not need to create this photo. Instead, they chose to rely on an authentic perspective of a real customer to help build connection and drive sales.

user-generated content

Every fall, Target runs a campaign called “Tag and Treat”. They asked people to take a video of themselves strutting in-store and showing off costumes. Not only did they get amazing content to repurpose into other advertising and marketing treatments, they also got press pickup as a human interest story by outlets across the nation.

Since they’ve been organizing this campaign for several years, it has found new roots on the social platform du jour each year. It started with a strong presence on Snapchat, then took hold on Instagram. This year, TikTok was the place to #TagandTreat.

Urban Decay mixes UGC, brand, and influencer content

user-generated content

A personal favorite is the annual Urban Decay Halloween UGC campaign. Launched several years ago, they asked their fans to submit their best Halloween look. The initial announcement post had almost 20,000 interactions on Facebook alone. They had hundreds of pieces of content shared with them.

As the campaign has matured, Urban Decay has launched specialized microsites that feature a mix of UGC, influencer content, and product listings. The ability to “steal the look” from influencers and contributors has not only driven sales, but also increased parasocial connection between the brand and its customers.

Don’t be scared of user-generated content marketing

Inviting customers to become part of your marketing perspective can be a ghoulish experience for some marketers. But as ecommerce continues to evolve, more and more of the product discovery and conversion process takes place in spaces controlled by the user.

Engage with your customers, demonstrate authenticity, and begin your Social Commerce journey to scare up new sales.


Learn more about how TINT accelerates Social Commerce here.