Welcome to the Social Spotlight, where we dive deep into what we love about a brand’s approach to a specific social campaign. From strategy through execution and results, we’ll examine what makes the best brands on social tick — and leave you with some key takeaways to consider for your own brand’s social strategy.
Few brands have as successfully embraced UGC as GoPro, and with good reason; when your product makes great images and video possible for your consumers, showing is better than telling. And in Instagram, GoPro has found the perfect channel on which to build the kind of loyal community that keeps it top of mind for adventurous consumers across the globe.
User-generated content (UGC) has long been a best practice for B2C social strategies, with the typical goal being to solicit and repurpose content that shows real people using your products. It’s authenticity, visualization and peer-to-peer recommendation all rolled into one. But GoPro’s take on UGC is unique in that the product itself is rarely shown. And that’s quite alright with the brand, because that means its heaviest users are out doing what they’re meant to do with the product: capture astounding images and video of life on the proverbial edge.
GoPro quickly realized the value of UGC and has developed several incentivizing programs to keep the content firehose on. The GoPro Awards offer prizes–gear, cash and “social stoke,” or tags and re-shares from GoPro’s official social channels–in exchange for killer content in a variety of categories that show the breadth of product uses for GoPro cameras. I especially like the Million Dollar Challenge, which offers an equal share of $1 million to every user whose submitted clip is used in the brand’s epic, year-end highlight reel, because it only accepts entries shot on the latest high-end camera. What better way to show off what your best product can do?
- Goals: Awareness and loyalty, which, like with any strong UGC program, are linked. But the combination is especially effective since the UGC is made possible by the product GoPro is aiming to drive awareness for. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, all of that UGC adds up to volumes of pure marketing gold.
- Offline connection: Recognizing the critical role that social plays in fueling brand loyalty and perpetuating the aspirational brand lifestyle, GoPro has quite literally built social sharing into its product DNA. Using the GoPro app, users can edit photos and video and share directly to Instagram (including a nifty Stories upload feature), Facebook, YouTube and more. Not only does this reduce the friction of using GoPro’s products–no more tethering to a laptop or saving videos first to you phone’s camera roll–it also makes GoPro an essential tool in the quest to share one’s life in as real-time as is possible.
- Key channels: The GoPro universe is vast, with more than 36 million followers across social media. I’ve talked a lot about Instagram but I’d be remiss to discount Facebook, where GoPro takes advantage of the video-friendly algorithm to share longer-form user videos, as well as YouTube, which is well-curated to feature product videos and content from the brand’s partner professional athletes and adventurers. Perhaps most importantly, carefully curating playlists, profiles (including more than 20 geographically diverse Instagram handles alone) and opportunities to connect with other users capturing similar content has made that world more useful, appealing and connected for the brand’s consumers. From scuba divers and backcountry skiers to wildlife enthusiasts and new parents, GoPro’s social communities are designed to bring people together over shared passions and great content.
Evaluate why your customers love your product and ask them to incorporate your brand into their existing behaviors. For instance: GoPro users buy the cameras to capture their most memorable moments for posterity and to show friends and other like-minded people, so making it easy for them to share (and be rewarded for sharing) via social has been key to expanding the brand’s reach and generating loyalty.
- Good social strategy borrows from what works, but you have to put your brand’s unique stamp on it or you won’t build the kind of equity that breeds excitement and loyalty. UGC is as tried and true a tactic as there is, but GoPro’s approach–like calling its user content credits “social stoke”–shows that it understands the lifestyle it’s trying to be a part of and has built a brand that enhances that lifestyle for its users.
- You can’t get something for nothing, even when it comes to UGC. So don’t shy away from incentivizing your asks so that you get the kind of content you can build a brand with. Tying its most lucrative incentives to the latest product releases is an especially savvy touch.
- Design your social presence to prioritize relevance from the start, so that the experience feels tailored to the user and the reasons they have for connecting with your brand. Make sure you’re not only considering their lifestyle touch-points, but also where they’re located and how that drives their decision making. Using social to create smaller communities within your larger brand following helps your followers find value in connecting with other fans of your brand and the sense of belonging and resonance that is necessary to earn true brand loyalty.