User Generated Content: Retail’s Secret Weapon

As a retailer, you’re always thinking about the next campaign to help enhance your revenue and audience reach, especially during this time of year. User generated campaigns are an ideal campaign to launch during the holiday season, with many retail companies seeing major success from their own.

Retail Dive reported this week that Target and Macy’s are already in full-planning and execution mode with their holiday campaigns this season, leveraging tools like Facebook’s new targeting segment called “holiday shopping season” that “reaches users engaged with holiday planning and retail-related activity.” The campaigns are also ran through Instagram, broadening brands’ reach. richest instagrammer Retail Dive reports that the new targeting segment “can be found in the ‘behaviors’ section within the ‘seasonal and events’ category and will be available from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day [for both Facebook and Instagram].”

What’s makes these companies’ campaigns so success is they have the same core focus: engage customers through several social outlets and encourage them to be an advocate of your brand, with a reward that’s personal to them. The reward can be a prize like a trip, free product, credit to your company, or the reward can be fulfilling from a philanthropic perspective.


Estee Lauder launched a breast cancer awareness campaign a few years ago that’s been wildly successful each year in raising money for a cure. The company uses the hashtag #BCAstrength to encourage those struggling with the disease, have beaten the disease, or are supporting a loved one current battling. The goal is to create a community of Estee Lauder customers that were a positive, supporting social force for those fighting breast cancer.

The positive results generated from the company’s customers:

– both old and new

– brought a new, humanizing element to the brand and most importantly continued to raise awareness to find a cure for this terrible disease.


Victoria’s Secret is known for its beautiful “angels,” supermodels that have become the face of their brand. The brand has catapulted campaigns from the audience its angels alone have garnered, one of its most famous being the “Train Like An Angel” campaign. The campaign is ongoing, but gains major momentum right before the company’s huge annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

The brand has a line of activewear it promotes during the campaign and provides workout training videos on its website featuring the angels. Victoria’s Secret also takes advantage of the angels’ social presence, having them encourage fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to set their own fitness goals and share their progress on social using the hashtag #TrainLikeAnAngel. The brand even picks winners, rewarding them for participating in the campaign.


User generated campaigns are about spreading your brand across the masses, but you need advocates and loyal customers to do so. Make your campaign about the audience are trying to target. Chobani, a Greek yogurt company, needed to boost sales and turned to their loyal customer base to do so. Chobani reached out to customers via several different social and grassroots outlets to share videos and images on why they love Chobani yogurt for its “Love Story” campaign. The campaign was so successful that the company saw a 225.9% revenue increase from 2009 to 2010, crediting the campaign as the foundation of the success.

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