The Importance of Social Media Contests for Creating User Generated Content

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User generated content is one of the biggest benefits of running a social media contest. Today’s consumers expect brands to create opportunities for them to interact and engage with them. So a social media content that generates user-generated content (UGC) is a win-win for both brands and social media contest participants.

In this article, we cover everything you need to know about UGC and social media contests. You’ll learn why user-generated content is essential for marketing ROI, how to get customers to submit UGC, and how UGC helps you boost sales.

Let’s do this!


  • Why are contests effective for UGC?
  • What are the types of user-generated content?
  • What do brands need for permission to use UGC in their marketing?

What Is User-generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content (also known as consumer-generated content or UGC) is original content that is created by your customers and social media contest participants. UGC is published to social media and other marketing channels.

UGC can be created in many forms including photos, views, reviews, feedback and testimonials or even a voice message or song.

How Do Social Media Contests Create UGC?

User-generated content from social media contests usually comes in the form of a contest entry. UGC is content that is relevant to the brand.

UGC is preferred by brands for marketing, because your contest participants will create for free. It is also authentic, reliable, and trustworthy in comparison to content that is created directly by the brand itself.

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This is part of the ROI that marketers want from successful contest marketing campaigns with brand awareness as a goal.

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User-generated Content Is Essential for Marketing ROI

Here are the reasons why user-generated content is essential for marketing success:

1. Improving Consumer Trust Starts With Social Proof

Consumers don’t trust brands that only produce brand-centric content. They want to see what real people have to say about your brand as well. By running social media contests to generate UGC, you can obtain the social proof that you need to attract new customers.

2. Customers Create UGC to Highlight Your Brand’s Benefits

When contest participants created branded UGC that shows how they use your product or service, they are highlighting the benefits of your brand. This demonstrates to potential customers, who are also your contest participants, while they should buy.

3. UGC Demonstrates Your Existing Customers’ Loyalty

Your most loyal customers are those who will enter your social media contest first. By using a social media contest to create UGC, your customers will demonstrate why they are loyal to your brand. This is proof of the excellent quality of products or services that your brand provides.

4. UGC: Unlimited Content for Your Marketing Campaigns

What would it be like to have access to an unlimited amount of UGC without having to ever ask for it? Run social media contests regularly. If you run ongoing social media contests, you can give away smaller prizes, such as custom merch. These smaller prizes are perfect for branded UGC.

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This removes the hassle of having to continuously pay for content creation while also demonstrating your brand’s authenticity.

In the process, you may also discover some new brand ambassadors that you can use to promote the brand in future marketing efforts.


5. UGC Adds a Human Approach to Your Marketing

Although consumers do appreciate marketing automation to some degree, brands pose a risk of appearing devoid of emotion which can turn consumers off the brand. By incorporating UGC generated from social media contests, you can help customers fully connect with your brand.

UGC highlights the experience that other customers and contest participants are having with your brand, which can generate a feeling of togetherness. For those on the outside looking in, UGC can attract people to come check out your social media contest and brand.

Where Does UGC Content Come From in a Social Media Contest?

Now that you understand why UGC is important, here is where the majority of user-generated content comes from during a social media contest:

Existing Customers

Existing customers likely have a long memory of purchasing products and services from your brand. As a result, the UGC that customers produce is among the most valuable to your brand.

Make sure that you use your social media contest entry ideas to tap into their history and nostalgic feelings with your brand where possible.

Influencers and Brand Ambassadors

These are people who are likely to bring a large audience to your social media contest. You invite them because of the following, potential customers, and instant sales that they are capable of producing.

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When you have influencers and brand ambassadors create UGC, urge them to highlight the benefits of your brand or products and services in order to appeal to potential customers.


These are the contest participants who have not purchased from your brand previously and have signed up for the chance to win a free prize. With these contest participants, you will spend the course of the social media contest trying to determine who is more like to become a customer.

As a result, create ways for these contest participants and customers to be forced to engage with your brand. For example, you can ask them to visit your website, social media page, or watch a video about your product or service in exchange for a contest entry.


Marketers should make UGC from social media contests a top priority to save on content marketing costs and to increase the authenticity and frequency of engagements by social media contest participants and customers with the brand.

Make sure to obtain consent to share content created by your customers and social media contest participants. Always ask for permission in writing before republishing or resharing.

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