Here at Social Garden, we’ve been talking about UGC for a while now. UGC, or User Generated Content, turns your audience into your ambassadors through encouraging them to share their own experiences with your brand.
Although it may feel like you’re relinquishing your company’s personal touch on its content, UGC provides a platform to expand your community of both student ambassadors and followers in a natural way.
And let’s face it – the pressure to create original content on a regular basis can place a strain on your team’s time and resources. By getting your audience in on the action, you’ll suddenly find yourself with a wealth of content, without exhausting your resources.
When it comes to our education clients, students are one of the most engaged audiences in the world. The average Australian female aged 14-24 spends a staggering 822 minutes on social media a week – that’s almost two hours a day.
And when it comes to UGC, the statistics are even more resounding – almost half of millennials are inclined to trust content generated by other users, as opposed to just 25% who trust branded content.
So, it then makes sense for education providers to consider user generated content as a pillar of their marketing strategy.
UGC in practice: Kangan Institute
Putting this theory to the test, we partnered with Kangan Institute in 2018 to generate leads through Instagram Stories and Snapchat.
In a month-long campaign, we set out to generate new leads while encouraging the relationship between Kangan Institute and potential future students through social media.
Ads were set up across both platforms to reflect Kangan Institute’s areas of study, which were then targeted to prospective students aligning with their area of interest.
This campaign also gave us a unique opportunity to A/B test the use of professionally designed content against UGC.
Throughout the duration of the campaign, Kangan Institute’s ads were served over 1 million times across both Instagram Stories and Snapchat.
And, most interestingly – UGC-based ads accounted for 90% of leads generated across the first two weeks. On Instagram, the UGC ads generated 79 times the clicks than of the polished content and more than double the conversion rate.
The campaign generated a similar cost per lead result across both Instagram Stories and Snapchat, but UGC consistently outperformed the ads which utilised designed video content. Ultimately, the polished ads were pulled after two weeks to focus on the exponential growth of the UGC.
By the end of the campaign, we had generated hundreds of leads for Kangan Institute – and 99% of these were via the ads that utilised UGC.
Caroline Schmidt, Director of Sales and Marketing at Bendigo Kangan Institute, appreciated the transparency in knowing exactly how many leads were being driven by the new strategy.
“I’m not really interested in having lots of likes and lots of follows. I want money, I want acquisition, I want it measured to the application or measured to the enrolment so I know that, that channel is driving that behaviour. Social Garden was the first vendor who said we can actually achieve that – and they did.”
One of the factors that helped Kangan Institute succeed was targeting prospective students on the platforms that they actively use. The average Instagram user under 25 uses the platform for 32 minutes a day, with much of this time spent on Instagram Stories.
Through establishing which channels are effective for your brand, you create the parameters in which your audience is able to generate content that works for you. In doing so, you’ll provide potential students with a ‘real life’ experience of your brand.
With students being highly influenced by their immediate social groups, it’s evident that UGC provides a strong platform for engagement and further participation.
In order to create and run an awesome UGC campaign, here’s what we suggest:
- Use channels that are most popular with your audience. Instagram and Snapchat often work best for education providers.
- Ad text overlays that are in a style native to the platform. So that it looks less like an ad, and more like a friend’s post. Having text is also useful, as up to 85% of social users are watching without sound.
- Ensure that your ambassador uses a CTA in their video that’s complemented with a text overlay and consistent to what’s on your landing page/lead ad. Content may be king, but consistency is key.
- Continually monitor the success of your ads. What works best on one channel, might have a lower conversion rate on the others.
As a certified Bronze Snapchat Partner, we’re passionate about educating clients on the power of UGC advertising. And armed with our tips, you’re now ready to implement a user generated content campaign of your own.