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6 Ways Brands Can Leverage UGC for Black Friday Promotions



Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and it’s just around the corner. 

The festivities usually begin the moment people finish their last bite of Turkey, but this year things are slightly different, and with many major stores keeping their doors firmly shut this Black Friday, it’s more important than ever for brands to stand out online. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in the number of people favoring online shopping, which means we’ll see more online shoppers this year than last. This provides ample opportunity for brands to attract new audiences and convert one-time buyers into life-long customers. 

One of the easiest and most powerful ways to build trust and nurture existing customers is through user-generated content (UGC). Leveraging it this Black Friday will create an authentic presence amid the flurry of deals, provide social proof for on-the-fence buyers, and generate a buzz around your brand. 

Why User Generated Content is Key on Black Friday

Think about the sheer volume of brands that will be clamoring for custom this Black Friday. 

Along with the obvious struggles that this year has thrown at retailers, an increasing number of brands have opened up online stores, and have seriously implemented an online strategy this year. 

Read: There’s more competition than ever. 

Standing out will be difficult, but it’s also never been more important to be trustworthy and credible – especially if you want to take advantage of the swathes of new online shoppers (who, let’s face it, are probably more skeptical than most if it’s taken them this long to venture online). 

UGC not only attracts new buyers, it also engages your most active and loyal customers, which can instantly give you a competitive edge. 

These people are your biggest advocates, and given consumers are far more likely to listen to their peers than brands themselves, this is a crucial stepping stone to Black Friday success.  

The authentic engagement driven by UGC instinctively builds trust – not to mention customer content is far easier and quicker to collect than creating your own. 

Basically, sharing an influx of raw customer stories will likely have a better effect (and create more of a buzz) than painstakingly creating one well-polished piece of content to share over and over again. 

How to Leverage UGC on Black Friday

1. Create a Designated Hashtag to Collect UGC

Hashtags remain a great way for shoppers to find products they’re interested in. They’re also great for creating mini-feeds of customer content that focuses on your brand. 

Remember, Black Friday encourages shoppers to try out new brands, and social media is the perfect place for them to discover new products and incredible deals. 

Tap into this flurry of social activity by creating a hashtag specifically for your main deals, or even for specific products (like your bestsellers). 

The more times consumers see your hashtag popping up in their feeds, the more curious they’ll become – which means there’s a high chance they’ll hop over to your site to see what you’re all about. 

Encourage shoppers to use the hashtag in the lead up to Black Friday by sharing their past experiences with your brand, and continue to encourage them on the day itself. The more customers that share their photos, reviews, and stories, the better. 

Top Tips for Making the Most of Your Black Friday Hashtag:

  • Reach out to existing customers and invite them to share their experience using your designated hashtag
  • Choose a hashtag that’s memorable, but that also ties into your brand
  • Add your hashtag to emails, social media profiles, and other key hotspots to maximize its exposure on the big day 

2. Share UGC on Social Media

Once your hashtag has picked up traction, you can start curating the UGC you’ve received and sharing it across your social channels.

There’s a high chance your existing customers and new potential buyers will be hanging out on social media during Black Friday so they can make the most of the available deals. 

Leverage this by being where your customers are. 

Stay front-of-mind by regularly sharing UGC – whether that’s customer photos, reviews, or videos – throughout the day to keep interest piqued and the buzz circulating. 

Take a leaf out of outdoor brand Rei’s book – they encourage customers to use their designated hashtag and then share relevant, high-quality UGC captured on their Instagram feed. 

Top Tips for Sharing UGC on Social Media:

  • Thank customers for sharing their UGC and ask permission if you can use it before resharing
  • Spread UGC throughout the day to reach customers in different time zones and to keep the spark alive
  • Use a platform to find, organize, get rights to, and reshare content that customers have posted 

3. Reward Customers That Share UGC

Who doesn’t like being rewarded? No one, that’s who.

Your customers have taken the time to create their own content about your product and brand, the least you can do is say thanks. 

And, to tie into the giving nature of Black Friday, you can take it one step further by offering a tempting reward for customers that do share their photos and videos with you.

Not only does this give a much-deserved “thanks”, but it also encourages customers who haven’t yet provided their own UGC to do so. 

You might decide that an extra discount for customers who share UGC is apt, or maybe you send them a free product to say thanks. 

Tower Cookware does exactly this. They invite shoppers to unlock a 35% discount code if they leave a review.

Top Tips for Rewarding Customers That Share UGC: 

  • In the spirit of Black Friday, offer a discount to customers that leave a review or share a product photo
  • Send an email to existing customers highlighting the reward they can get if they participate
  • Don’t go all out – a simple discount or a small gift is enough to get the ball rolling 

4. Include UGC in Product Listings

Your product pages are a crucial part of the buying cycle on Black Friday. 

While social media and well-timed emails might mark the start of the discovery journey, your product listings are where shoppers will end up. 

These people are already in buy mode. They’ve made it this far, what’s to stop them hitting that all-important buy button and making it all the way to checkout? 

The answer is usually poor product listings. 

Without high-quality photos and a compelling description, it’s easy to lose customers to competitors that have provided engaging listings. 

There’s a simple solution though – Enhance your product listings with UGC. This can be particularly effective on deal pages and on your best-sellers. 

Fabletics does a great job of this. It uses both customer photos and reviews on their product pages to instill buyer confidence and give on-the-fence shoppers the nudge they need to make a decision. 

Top Tips for Including UGC in Product Listings:

  • Use a combination of UGC, like photos and reviews
  • Prioritize your best-sellers and any deal pages created specifically for Black Friday
  • Use UGC to tell a story about your products 

5. Sprinkle UGC in Product Recommendation Emails

Shoppers receive a lot of emails on Black Friday, most of which are touting top deals and promoting best selling products. 

The problem is, most of these emails are the same and, as a result, they get buried or overlooked in busy inboxes. 

Don’t let your products go to a metaphorical early grave. 

Instead, enhance your product recommendation emails with UGC (according to research by TINT, UGC increases email click-through rates by 73%). 

Incorporate customer photos and reviews to drive more sales and increase buyer confidence. 

Every little helps, and adding UGC as an engaging element to your emails will make sure yours stand out. 

Take furniture brand Article, as an example – they incorporate UGC into their pre-sale email on Black Friday.

Top Tips for Adding UGC to Product Recommendation Emails:

  • Incorporate product-relevant UGC if possible
  • Personalize product recommendation emails based on shoppers’ past purchases for an extra layer of engagement
  • Make UGC the focal point of your product recommendation emails to ensure they stand out 

6. Incorporate UGC in Cart Abandonment Emails

Black Friday shoppers are generally impulse buying, but they might not always make it to the checkout stage. 

In fact, there’s a high chance they’ve left a load of half-filled carts in their wake

Instead of tagging these as lost customers, use it to your advantage – after all, these shoppers showed enough interest at some point to add products to their cart. 

Cart abandonment emails are your golden ticket to boosting sales on Black Friday. They remind customers about products they were initially interested in and bring them back to your store.  

These emails provide the perfect opportunity to add an element of FOMO through reviews and customer photos. 

No one likes to see what they’re missing out on, but UGC like this also increases trust, which might ease their mind if they’ve never bought from you before. 

Cali Fabrics is a great example of a brand that does this. They include multiple positive customer reviews in their abandoned cart emails, as well as a further discount for customers to claim. 

Top Tips for Incorporating UGC into Abandoned Cart Emails: 

  • Highlight your best reviews (and make them product-relevant if possible)
  • Offer a reward for customers that go back to their cart, like an extra discount or free shipping
  • Inject abandoned cart emails with some personality to stand out and generate trust 

Power Black Friday With UGC

As you can see, UGC can be an effective tool for increasing conversions and sales, and there are many ways to leverage it. But, if you try to do it all manually, it’s either near-on impossible or, at the very least, way too much work. 

That’s where the right UGC platform comes into play. 

Doing this will build trust, instill buyer confidence, and help turn one-time impulse buyers into long-term customers that continue to come back for more.


The Drum | Trump’s Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say



The Drum | Trump's Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

While the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November had some advertisers packing up in protest, many will strike a different tune with Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, experts predict.

Meta Wednesday announced that it’s lifting the ban on a handful of Facebook and Instagram accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump – who was suspended nearly two years ago following the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.

In a blog post yesterday, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained the reasons for the company’s decision, saying that it “evaluated the current environment” as it pertains to the socio-political landscape and security concerns and determined that “risk has sufficiently receded.” As a result, the company will welcome Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram.

The former president will be expected to comply with Meta’s user policies, but, considering his past violations, will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg explained.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will become an active user on either platform following the decision, media and marketing experts are already sounding alarm bells at his potential return.

In particular, experts are cautious considering recent developments at Twitter. Elon Musk’s turbulent takeover – which has included mass layoffs, dramatic platform changes and the decision to reinstate the accounts of controversial figures like Trump and Kanye West (whose account has since been re-suspended) – has led to an exodus of advertisers. Could Meta’s decision to reintroduce Trump invite a similar fate?

‘Fear, frustration and protest’ could catalyze drawback

Concerns regarding brand safety and suitability on Facebook and Instagram are piquing among marketers. Trump’s presence on social media has long proven to exacerbate the spread of misinformation online. The risks of a potential recession, paired with new political tensions spurred by the 2022 midterms and the anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, may only up the ante.

“Misinformation on Meta’s platforms was an issue prior to Trump’s ban, during the ban and will likely continue to be an issue, even with the new [policies that] Meta has put in place,” says Laura Ries, group director of media and connections at IPG-owned ad agency R/GA. In light of this fact, Ries says, “Advertisers will need to continue to consider the type of content they’ll show up next to when evaluating whether or not to advertise on the platforms, especially as we march toward the 2024 election.”

She predicts that Meta may see some advertisers leave Facebook and Instagram “out of fear, frustration or protest.”

Others agree. “I suspect advertisers will not be pleased with this move and might make reductions in spend as they have done with Twitter,” says Tim Lim, a political strategist, PR consultant and partner at creative agency The Hooligans.

Although some advertisers are sure to pull back or cut their investments, the number will likely be low – largely because the scale and reach promised by both Facebook and Instagram will make it hard for most advertisers to quit. Smaller brands and startups in particular often rely heavily on Meta’s advertising business to spur growth, says Ries.

A ripple, not a wave

Most industry leaders believe Trump’s reinstatement won’t cause anything more than a ripple in the advertising industry. “Marketers who advertise on Facebook and Instagram care about their own problems, which generally [entail] selling more products and services,” says Joe Pulizzi, an entrepreneur, podcaster and author of various marketing books. “If Meta helps them do that, they don’t care one bit about brand safety – unless this blows up into a big political issue again. It might not, so marketers won’t do a thing.”

The sentiment is underscored by Dr Karen Freberg, a professor of strategic communications at University of Louisville, who says: “Facebook and Instagram are key fundamental platforms for advertisers. Marketers may … be aware of the news, but I am not sure if it will make a drastic change for the industry.” She points out that Twitter’s decision to lift the ban on Trump’s account in November caused such a big stir among marketers advertisers that Meta’s decision to do the same may come as less of a shock.

Trump’s return may even benefit Meta’s ads business by giving the company new opportunities to serve ads to Trump devotees, says Pulizzi. Ultimately, he says, Meta “needs personalities like Trump,” who, whether through love or hate, inspire higher engagement. “With Facebook plateauing and Instagram now chasing – and copying – TikTok at every turn, Trump’s follower base is important to Meta, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

But while some users may be energized by the former president’s return to Meta platforms, others may be outraged – even to the point of quitting Facebook and Instagram, points out Ries. In this case, she says, “advertisers will need to follow them to TikTok, Snap or other platforms where they’re spending their newfound time.”

R/GA, for its part, which services major brands including Google, Samsung, Verizon and Slack, will work on “a client by client basis” to address concerns about Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, says Ries. “R/GA recommended pausing activity on Facebook and Instagram after the insurrection and won’t hesitate to do so again if another incident occurs.”

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.

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Snap Launches New Ad Campaign to Showcase its AR Offerings



Snap Launches New Ad Campaign to Showcase its AR Offerings

Snapchat has launched a new promotional campaign which leans into the uniqueness of its viral AR trends, with a showcase of bizarre effects, as a means to present people with a different perspective on the real world.

Pretty trippy, huh?

As explained by Snap:

At Snap, we celebrate the joy, irreverence, and spontaneity of communicating with your real friends in fun, unexpected ways. Over the years, we’ve pushed the boundaries of how people see and experience the world through augmented reality. AR makes conversations and experiences better, and unlocks new ways to connect with others, learn about the world, shop, and more. [Our new campaign] shows you what it’s like to see the world the way Snapchatters do.”

It’s pretty weird, but will that get more people using Snap?

Certainly, the campaign will grab attention, and with 72% of active Snapchat users already engaging with AR elements in the app every day, there’s clearly a lot of interest in these types of weirdo activations that provide a new way of seeing the familiar.

Maybe that’ll prove to be a good lure to get people into the app, and broaden its user base. I mean, at the least, it’ll spark intrigue, which will likely get at least a few more people downloading the app to see what they can do.

AR is a key focus for Snap, and despite operating at a much smaller scale than Meta and Apple, which are both also investing big in AR projects, Snap has continued to punch above its wait in this area, by continually coming out with AR content that grabs attention, and engages audiences.

Meta is still struggling to maintain relevance with younger audiences, a key element that could de-rail its metaverse vision, while Apple has actually leaned on Snap to help showcase its advanced AR tools over time.

If nothing else, Snapchat has its finger on the pulse, which is why virtually every AR trend – from anime filters to baby faces, from crying faces to vomiting rainbows – all of these have originated from Snapchat, and that’s remained consistent over time, even with newer platforms like TikTok entering the same realm.

Snap is very in-tune with its user base, which is also why its Snapchat+ subscription offering is already doing better than Twitter Blue, even with the addition of tweet editing verification ticks (Snapchat+ has over 1.5 million paying subscribers, versus an estimated 325k for Twitter Blue).

That community sense has helped Snap maintain growth and relevance. But it also needs to expand – and maybe, through a bizarre showcase like this, that could help to make more people aware of the things that they can do in the app.

And this is how Snapchat Lenses tend to be shared. Somebody uses it, then they just have to show their friends.

In this respect, it seems like a good initiative, which could help Snap spark more interest and engagement.

It also serves as a demo of scanning in the Snap camera – if you want to try out any of the Lenses featured in the ad, you can scan the screen in the Snap camera, which will then open up whichever Lens is featured at that moment.

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Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Career In 2023



Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Career In 2023

Employees are ready to change their jobs, with nearly half of American workers planning to look for a new job in the coming six months. According to a new Robert Half report, which surveyed 2,500 professionals, around 46% of them said they plan on making a career or job change in the first half of the year.

Job-hopping has become a workplace trend among young working professionals in the post-pandemic labor market. A recent Gallup study found that 60% of surveyed millennials – ages 27 to 40 years – are more likely to look for different opportunities this year. The percentage of non-millennials workers looking to switch jobs is roughly 15% lower.

A majority of Generation Z candidates have also claimed that they are likely to make a job change this year. In a 2022 Lever Great Resignation report, around 65% of Gen Z professionals said that they are likely to leave their job by the end of the year. Moreover, 13% of them are twice as likely to quit their jobs in the next month.

Job-hopping has become almost synonymous in the post-COVID workforce, and younger professionals are fueling this trend by leaving unfulfilling roles and moving on to greener pastures.

Yet, with so many professionals changing jobs, or looking to switch careers, even against the backdrop of a looming recession, many of them have geared themselves towards social media as a way to build a professional brand and market themselves to potential employers.

Using Social Media For Career Growth

Keeping your social media professional can be a hard ball to juggle. In a 2020 Harris Poll survey, around 70% of employers said that every company should screen candidates’ social media throughout the hiring process. Additionally, the majority of employers – 78% – believe that all their current employees should adhere to a work–appropriate social media profile.

Employees should care about what they share and post on social media. Although the debate over whether social media screening during the hiring process is ethical is still ongoing, candidates willing to leverage social media to develop or boost their careers will need to set up a social media strategy that can help them land the job they want.

Much of our digital identity is pinned to our social media accounts, and a lot of what we share, like and the people we interact with via these channels can speak a great deal of the types of person we are outside of the workplace.

Aside from employees using these platforms to grow their network, or search for possible job opportunities, employers and recruiters are using it to look for any possible red or green flags that you might bring to the workplace.

Social media has moved beyond its traditional form, and today it’s become a digital ecosystem that helps to connect like-minded professionals and their potential employers.

How To Use Social Media To Boost Career Opportunities

Searching for a job is more than browsing through recruitment websites and job listings on LinkedIn or Google. The internet, and social media is a vast place, with near-endless possibilities, and when it comes to growing your career through social media, you will need to know a few things first.

Have A Social Strategy

It might sound strange at first, but having a social media strategy will help you come in contact with the right people faster. Your social media strategy should include building an online identity that reflects your professional and personal side.

You can use different platforms for different connections or networks, it’s all about how you present yourself through your brand. Think of the type of content you share regularly, does it reflect who you are as a professional? How often do you post, or reply to comments and messages? Are there any areas where you can improve or update the information to help you grow your network of contacts?

Write some questions down to get you started, and start working on building an online identity that can get noticed by like-minded individuals in the same industry.

Network With Industry Professionals

Nowadays it’s easier than ever before to reach out to a company or recruiter through their social media, and the same goes for connecting with professionals working in the same industry.

Instead of using social media to only share insightful content, or engage with your friends, try to grow your professional network. On top of this, it’s important to engage with these people as well, even if it’s simply exchanging a few words now and again.

Be active in your mission to get to know the people that are out there, and spend a bit of time researching their profiles to better understand the type of skills and qualifications these people may have. Networking is one of the best possible ways to move around your industry without putting in much effort.

Grow Your Skills

Looking at other people’s social media profiles, whether it’s Twitter or, or even Instagram will give a better idea of the type of skills you might need to develop to help grow and make the next big career jump.

Often professionals will share their skills, and what they’re experts in at the top of their social media accounts, this way it is easier for recruiters to know who the person is, and for like-minded professionals to engage with them.

If you compare the skills of several professionals already working in the field you’re interested in, you will get a better idea of where you might need to upskill yourself by completing some courses or doing a bit of reading.

When we say advertise, we don’t necessarily mean flashy and colorful digital adverts that you’d hope will get the attention of your potential employer.

Instead try and convey your expertise through the type of content you can share such as blog posts, news articles, industry research, or even projects you’ve worked on. Additionally, you can also share your job title and relevant experience in the bio section of your profile.

The better you are at showing people your expertise in a professional, yet unpretentious way, the faster your feed will fill up with similar content and other experienced individuals.

Update Your Profiles

This is relevant to almost every social media profile you have, regardless of what you use it for. People often neglect social media platforms they don’t use anymore, and while it can be tedious to spend so much time updating photos or replying to messages, decide on a couple of platforms you’d like to use and stick to them.

Make sure that the platforms you end up using have a recent photo, and that all other relevant personal information has been updated such as your job title, industry experience, and your current city. You don’t need to do this every week, only when needed, or when you’ve changed jobs or moved.

The better you curate your social media, the easier it will be for employers and recruiters to notice you as you actively begin to network.

Final Words

Social media can be a professional tool, despite it receiving so much negative clout in recent years. Although it’s hard to determine whether possible employers or recruiters will screen your social media accounts before or during the hiring process, it’s best to always keep a well-groomed online identity – especially if you’re looking to make progress in your career.

Make well-informed decisions, and think about the type of content you’re sharing. Remember to engage with like-minded professionals, and have conversations online through the information you share with your followers.

The better you are at curating one or two social media platforms for career purposes, the quicker you’ll be able to expand your network, and grow your professional skills. Don’t think too much about it, try and have a balance as much as possible, as this will help you to enjoy your social media experience while maintaining a professional, yet fun digital identity.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

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