A Lithium brand
Putting the “U” back in UGC
October 23, 2014



This week the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) hosted a Town Hall on User Generated Content (UGC). For marketers, this event signals the increasing importance of UGC (aka earned media) in mainstream marketing. At Lithium & Klout, we have championed this shift to people-powered marketing for some time and we’re excited by the growing industry focus.


Our excitement about the shift towards UGC is not only because we believe it’s the most effective form of marketing, but also because it signals an increase in the amount of content being created. We believe that everyone has unique passions and experiences that they should share with the world. As social media has become mainstream, more people are willing to share their opinions online more regularly. One of Klout’s primary goals is to help people create great content, and we love this trend.


For some people, creating content is incredibly natural and they do so on a range of topics. This is evidenced by the fact that 5% of people create 50% of the content on Twitter. For a wider group, they are willing to share their experiences, but do so specifically around their passions. We were reminded of this yesterday by two brands that have leveraged these people effectively: TripAdvisor and Canon.


TripAdvisor is a social network focused solely on the travel space. Although they’re niche, they have accrued a massive 180M traveler reviews on their site. To give a sense of how impressive this is, take a look at Yelp. Far more people eat out regularly than travel, and yet Yelp reports 1/3 as many reviews (although to be fair, 61M reviews on Yelp ain’t too shabby). The reason for this is that people are far more passionate about travel than eating out. They invest more time researching it, have deeper experiences doing it and are more willing to share about it.


Canon is one of our favorite partners at Klout / Lithium. This is not only because of the great team there, but because of their passionate customers. Like travel, photography is a profession and a hobby that people invest an incredible amount of time in. Unsurprisingly, Canon has been able to launch incredibly UGC campaigns. Take their first big foray into UGC, Project Imagin8ion. This campaign garnered over 200k photo submissions and a Hollywood movie made by Ron Howard. Most marketers would be envious of a response like this. And given the rise of photo sharing networks, the passionate photographers have many great places to share their work.



For an even larger group of people, they don’t yet express their passions online. Either they have not found the right forum to share, or they just haven’t taken the plunge into content creation yet.  For these people, here’s a few tips to get started.


First, music lovers – As seen in our topics research post a few months ago (link), music is one of the most engaged topics on both Facebook and Twitter. Most people listen to music, and this is a good starter topic to share your opinions on . We’d also recommend joining a Twitter chat hosted by Twitter Music, such as the one with Paul McCartney yesterday. You can’t get much closer to a Beatle than that.!


Next, sports fans – Like music, sports has an incredibly vibrant conversation happening on social. Given that sports continue to be a live-TV event, you know when the conversation is happening and can easily share your opinions on the game. For instance, the action on social media around the World Series is almost good as the action on the field. Take a look at the Royal’s hashtag #TakeTheCrown and the Giant’s hashtag #OctoberTogether. Try sharing your thoughts on the game using these hashtags, and reply to some others who are also sharing.


Finally, the artists – unlike the two topics above, there has not historically been great ways for artists to share their work online. Sites like Behance allow for designers to create a portfolio, but there is more opportunity here. Enter Mix by FiftyThree, a platform to share and collaborate on your sketches. Although connected to their proprietary Paper iPad app, take a look at the work on mix.fiftythree.com. It is well presented, and when shared displays beautifully in the Facebook stream.



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I never use this UGC but want to use it one time. I want to be a photographer in my future but I can't because of my higher studies. I am graduate in fields of marketing and doing work with professional painting service dubai based company as a human resource head. I must try to use this UGC and may be I need help during use it so will you help me?

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User-generated content is any type of content, image, video, text or audio file placed on the social media network. Once licensed by the content owner, trademarks can use this material in their marketing campaigns.

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