Social Media Marketing

UGC Campaigns That Work: Top 3 Successful Strategies And Trending Campaigns in 2024

In social media contests and challenges, you offer gifts, discounts, or any other kind of benefit to your audience to create related to your brand.


Customer ratings, reviews, hashtag campaigns, contests, social media posts, micro-influencers, discussion boards, community—these all are types of user generated content. But which one should you pick if you are just starting to incorporate UGC into your marketing mix? As a marketing manager, you might feel overwhelmed while making this decision.

If you are just starting with UGC, we suggest you pick the basic types—contests and challenges, hashtag campaigns, and good old reviews. These three types of UGC have not only helped several brands get engagement but have also helped build a solid presence in the market. After you have perfected these three types, you can start expanding your range.

But for now, we have highlighted the top two UGC campaigns under the top three UGC types. In these campaigns, you can find the inspiration to launch your own UGC initiatives quickly.

1. Run social media contests and challenges 

In social media contests and challenges, you offer gifts, discounts, or any other kind of benefit to your audience to encourage them to create and share content related to your brand. This content could be in the form of photos, videos, or written testimonials, usually shared on customers’ personal profiles with your brand tagged and specific hashtags used. 


Why are social media contests and challenges an effective UGC strategy?


  • Builds trust: When potential customers see real people engaging and interacting with a brand, it adds a layer of trust. User generated content is perceived as more genuine and trustworthy than traditional advertising, as it comes from unbiased sources—your actual users.


  • Fosters community: Contests and challenges create a sense of community among your audience. Participants not only engage with your brand but also view and share each other’s content, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual interest in your products or services.


  • Enhances content diversity: By leveraging content created by your audience, you diversify the type of content associated with your brand. This not only keeps your marketing fresh and varied but also provides you with a wealth of material for future marketing efforts, all of which reflect real user experiences and perspectives.

Successful Contests and Challenges


Carter’s, an apparel brand for babies and young children, hosts the Baby of the Month challenge. Parents are invited to submit photos of their little ones dressed in Carter’s outfits. The most captivating entry each month earns a spotlight on Carter’s social media platforms, along with a $500 gift card. This initiative is more than a contest; it’s a way for the brand to connect with its customers, inviting them to share the charming moments of their children in Carter’s clothing.

Carter’s Baby of the Month feature on its official Instagram (Source)

What did Carter’s do right:

  • Rewards the participants: Carter’s incentivizes engagement by offering enticing rewards. These rewards act as a motivational factor, encouraging the parents to submit their entries. Besides, getting featured on the brand’s social channel gives a sense of achievement to them which brings in more engagement.

  • Shares clear rules for participation: The brand lays out detailed, easy-to-follow steps for contest entry, guiding participants through the process and making it simple to identify eligible entries based on the completed steps.

  • Secures necessary permissions: Carter’s, through its guidelines and entry forms, secures the required permissions to reuse participant-submitted content. This safeguards the brand, ensuring it has full rights to the content and protects it from legal disputes.


Mint is a personal finance and budgeting service provider. It launched a contest wherein it encouraged users to share personal moments and achievements related to their financial goals using Mint’s platform. Participants were invited to capture and share images of significant moments they saved up for, such as vacations, purchases, or other special occasions, on social media using the hashtag #MyMintMoment. This campaign aimed to highlight real-life success stories of financial planning and saving, emphasizing how Mint assists in achieving personal financial goals. The winner received a $1,000 gift card, making the campaign a blend of personal finance success stories and brand engagement​.

Contest announcement by Mint on its official Instagram account (Source)

What did Mint do right:

  • Engagement with real-life success stories: The campaign encouraged users to share their personal achievements related to financial goals, creating an emotional connection with the audience. By showcasing real-life success stories, Mint emphasized the practical benefits of its service in helping users reach their financial objectives.

  • Brand visibility and awareness: By using a specific hashtag (#MyMintMoment), Mint increased its visibility on social media platforms. This not only promoted the brand but also highlighted its role in aiding customers’ financial journeys.

  • Community building: The contest fostered a sense of community among Mint users. Participants sharing their success stories created a network of individuals with common goals, enhancing user engagement and loyalty to the brand.

2. Hashtag campaigns

A hashtag campaign is a marketing strategy where you create a unique hashtag to promote a specific product, event, or theme on social media. You encourage your audience or customers to use that hashtag while creating and sharing content featuring your brand, product, or services. This approach not only categorizes content but also amplifies the campaign’s reach and visibility across social platforms.

Why are hashtag campaigns effective in UGC strategy?

  • Increases reach: When users share your campaign hashtag, their content appears on the feeds of their followers, introducing your brand to a new, wider audience organically and exponentially increasing visibility.

  • Curates content: Hashtag campaigns create a cluster of all user generated content under a unique hashtag. This allows you to easily track, collect, and showcase authentic content from your audience, creating a rich and engaging narrative around your brand on social media platforms.

  • Builds brand awareness: When users create content using your hashtag, it makes your brand more visible. As the hashtag travels across networks, it introduces your brand to new audiences, creating a buzz and establishing your presence in the digital space.

Successful hashtag campaigns 


Apple’s #ShotOniPhone is one of the most popular hashtag campaigns of all time. In this campaign, the brand invites iPhone users to showcase their photography skills. Participants submit their best photos taken with an iPhone, adhering to specific themes or technical features like macro photography.

Notably, a version of this challenge highlighted macro photography skills with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Winning entries get recognition and may be featured on various Apple platforms, including their website, social media, and potentially on billboards in select cities​​. The brand currently has 29,479,000+ posts curated under the tag #ShotOniPhone on Instagram.

Content curated with #ShotOniPhone hashtag on Instagram (Source)

What is Apple doing right:

  • Showcasing iPhone’s capability: The campaign showcases the iPhone’s advanced camera features, illustrating how users can achieve professional-quality photos with Apple’s technology. It encourages customers to explore and utilize the full potential of their phone’s camera.

  • Hiring expert judging panel: Submissions are evaluated by a panel of experts, including celebrated photographers and Apple executives, ensuring a professional review of all entries. This panel guarantees that only the most deserving submissions are selected for display.

  • Global participation: The challenge welcomes iPhone users from around the globe, celebrating a rich diversity of perspectives and styles. Recognition at this scale not only provides winners with a sense of accomplishment but also motivates others to join in.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop, a popular graphic design software, launched a hashtag campaign to showcase the capabilities of Adobe’s software by highlighting the creative work of its users. Participants are encouraged to share their Photoshop creations using the hashtag, with the best submissions featured on Adobe’s official Photoshop page. This initiative not only demonstrates the software’s potential but also celebrates the talents of its user community. The campaign has seen significant participation, with numerous posts featuring the hashtag, highlighting a variety of creative works made using Photoshop​​.

Content curated with #madewithphotoshop hashtag on Instagram (Source)

What is Photoshop doing right:

  • Authenticity and trust: Featuring real user creations builds authenticity and trust in the product, as potential customers see the practical results achieved by actual users.

  • Inspiration and education: The shared content serves as inspiration for other users and potential customers, showcasing various techniques and creative possibilities within Photoshop.

  • Market feedback: The campaign provides Adobe with valuable feedback on how their software is being used, which can inform future updates and marketing strategies.

Customer reviews and testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials reflect your customers’ genuine experiences with your products or services. These personal insights provide essential feedback about your offerings and act as a trustworthy guide for prospective buyers. They play a crucial role in enhancing your brand’s credibility and significantly influence the purchasing decisions of future customers.

Why are customer reviews and testimonials an effective UGC strategy?

  • Builds brand credibility: Reviews and testimonials by existing customers offer real-world proof of product quality and customer satisfaction. They act as trust signals, reassuring potential customers through the positive experiences of others, and thereby often influencing purchase decisions by adding a layer of authenticity to the brand’s claims.

  • Influences purchasing decisions: When prospective buyers see real experiences, their doubts vanish and they start trusting the product. This peer validation often tips the balance, making it a powerful tool for converting interest into sales.

  • Gives insights for improvements: Customers share their honest feedback in their reviews, highlighting a product’s strengths and pinpointing areas needing enhancement. You can leverage this honest input to understand customer needs better, identify trends, and address specific concerns, ultimately leading to improved products, services, and customer satisfaction.

Successful customer reviews and testimonials collection

BirdRock Baby

BirdRock Baby, a baby footwear brand, innovatively utilizes customer and industry reviews. Each product page features customer feedback, enhancing transparency and trust. On the homepage, the brand showcases endorsements from other top brands, offering expert perspectives. This dual review strategy enriches the credibility and appeal of BirdRock Baby’s products.

Brand reviews on BirdRock Baby’s website (Source)

What is BirdRock Baby doing right:

  • Expert validation: Reviews by other top brands act as expert opinions, lending additional authority and confidence in the quality of their products.

  • Enhanced credibility: Displaying reviews from customers on product pages and endorsements from other leading brands on the homepage adds layers of trust and authenticity.

  • Customer engagement: Featuring customer reviews directly on product pages increases transparency and provides valuable insights for potential buyers from a user perspective.


Amazon, a global e-commerce giant, allows customers to review their purchases and even add images and videos. However, with its vast user base, products often accumulate thousands of reviews, making it impractical to read them all when making a decision. To address this, Amazon employs artificial intelligence to distill these reviews. It automatically examines the content and sentiment of the reviews, generating concise summaries that encapsulate the main points and insights shared by customers, thereby simplifying the decision-making process.

Summary of a product’s reviews generated by Amazon (Source)

What is Amazon doing right:

  • Helping users save time: It condenses thousands of reviews into digestible summaries, saving customers from having to read through extensive feedback.

  • Providing clarity: The feature brings forward the most common themes in reviews, offering clear insight into the product’s performance and quality.

  • Making product comparison efficient: When comparing multiple products, these summaries allow for quick and efficient evaluation, streamlining the shopping experience.

Invest in a UGC platform to get started!

Whether you are creating contests, launching hashtag campaigns, or curating product reviews, a UGC tool streamlines the process by collecting user-generated content from multiple channels. It automatically filters out spam and inappropriate material, and then publishes the curated content across various platforms like social media and websites. This simplifies your role to just moderating the content and fine-tuning your strategy. As you solidify your UGC plan, choosing the right UGC tool is a smart move to ensure the effectiveness and success of your strategy.

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