Francis Fuster

Cultivating and Utilizing UGC

In this day and age, people are constantly taking and sharing photos. Thanks to their 8-megapixel smartphone cameras and built in filters, it’s easy to take a glorious picture. But the real moneymaker moment happens when someone shares a photo involving a brand. This is what we call: User Generated Content. UGC is any form of content such as a, video, image or blog post created by a consumer or end-user and is publicly available. Social media mediums have proven to be continuously reliable sources for UGC. This is due to the simple fact that platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are hashtag based and easily searchable; vice versa, users are able to tag brands on posts, sometimes eliminating the need to search at all. Not to mention, everyone’s on social!

UGC posts become a kind of endorsement for brands; with the proper permission brands can repurpose these posts and show them off on their own social media page. “User-generated content as a media channel comprises an increasingly significant share of time that consumers are spending with content overall- indicating that consumers are ever more receptive to it. (Crowdtap)”Here’s how top brands go about acquiring and utilizing UGC.


The first step is always getting permission


A big name like Starbucks has so much UGC at their fingertips (literally), but they still need to take the appropriate steps in order to share a consumer’s photo.
Often times brands will create campaigns encouraging users to create content
In August 2015 Modcloth launched a contest on Pinterest “Be Our Pinspiration,” asking users to create a Pinterest board filled with inspirational images and named after the Modcloth campaign. The winner received a gift card and clothing pieces named after them.


For brands, hosting contests on Facebook is a simple and easy way to get UGC

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Dove’s “Share Your Beautiful Self” promotion asked users to upload a photo of themselves and a friend. Dove turned each entry into an e-card that could be shared with Facebook friends.
But even a simple hashtag search can reveal a plethora of UGC

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Our client, Interlux Paint, receives a lot of UGC from Instagram


You can cross promote UGC on other social platforms, like Facebook


The biggest content drivers are people between the ages 25 and 54 and contribute to 70% of all UGC (SparkReel). UGC continues to dominate the majority of web content, with Pinterest creations up by 75% (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers). Everyone with a smartphone is a potential content creator and this gives marketers and companies alike a huge pool of content to choose from. Content curation is a vital part in telling the story of your brand, so it’s important to see to what your consumers are saying/posting and being receptive to them. Sharing their posts is a great way of doing just that! Not to mention it’s easy and cost-efficient!

What’s Not To Like?

By now you’ve probably heard Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that Facebook is “very close to shipping a test” of a dislike button. This stems from many of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users’ request for a way to articulate negative emotions. After hearing the news, many social media marketers immediately became concerned. However, rest-assured, the dislike button is more than just a thumbs down. It’s a way for users to express empathy for posts that would be awkward to like because of their emotionally sensitive content (i.e. a death or a tragedy). So what does this mean for businesses on Facebook?


Uptick In Emotionally Sensitive Content

With the new empathy button underway, marketers might start gearing their content to be diverse in emotional pull so that they can receive empathy clicks,* instead of just likes. Like clicks are a big determinant in Facebook’s algorithm used to curate and sort what users see in their newsfeed. Posts that attract more Likes are placed towards the top of the user’s feed. If there is an increase in empathy clicks versus likes, than Facebook’s algorithm could potentially shift to push the posts with the most empathy to the top of the newsfeed. Which will encourage marketers to seek a new direction in content creation, to appeal to the empathy button.


Increased Engagement

Ideally, the empathy button will give users another avenue to express themselves, rather than just limiting their emotions to the restrictive “Like” button. It will grant users the chance to interact with content on an emotional level. From a marketing standpoint, businesses will have to start creating more emotionally pulling content. It’s not that they’ll need to rebrand themselves, but companies and businesses are going to want to keep up with the new trending empathy button and produce posts that will receive comments, shares and…empathy.


Less Likes?

Will the empathy button become more important than the like button? If Facebook is successfully able to reel in more engagement as a result of the empathy button, then the like button could potentially yield less weight. Brands will no longer be seeking likes, but rather, empathy. According to Victor Luckerson from Time Magazine, ““dislike” is the way Facebook moves beyond being viewed as a distraction to a destination where people can truly find out about the most important things happening in their world. And that begets more users spending more time on the site, which begets more ads, which begets more dollars for Zuckerberg and Facebook’s shareholders.


Are we going to see a new era where empathy becomes more important than the thumbs up on Facebook? Nothing is certain, but what does seem to be a hard-and-fast understanding, is that the “dislike” button will not be a negative form of expression. Rather, it will be more of a compassionate button, which will allow marketers to shape their content so it doesn’t just appeal to users, but is emotionally compelling and more meaningful. What’s not to like about that?


  • Since we don’t know if Facebook is really going to refer to it as the dislike button, we refer to is as an empathy button or empathy clicks.

Which Social Media Network Are You?

Which Social Media Network Are You?

It’s the 21st Century and nearly everyone is using a social media channel. Whether it’s the selfie-obsessed Millennial or your aggressively political Uncle Joe, there’s a social network out there for everybody! Each network appeals differently to each user. Pinterest offers users the ability to discover and bookmark, while Snapchat allows youngsters to share their daily stories through a series of transient photos and/or videos. With an array of unique users out there, it’s no surprise why there are so many different social networks.

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the social media options? Check out our inforgraphic to see which platform is best for you:


While each channel has its own purpose, all social networks are extremely useful tools in connecting with others, getting your message out and staying active in the social stratosphere. So whether you’re an avid book-marker or a GIF enthusiast, one thing’s for sure, there’s a social network with your name on it!

The Significance of Emojis in Brand Marketing 😃

When cell phones first came out over thirty years ago, no one could have ever predicted how vital they would be in marketing, let alone our daily lives! The same can be said about major social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. With this in mind, we’re taking a look through our marketing microscope; is it possible that Emoji’s share the same fate of marketing success as the aforementioned? From cell phones, to social platforms, is there a future for this “social expressionism” in brand marketing? Here we examine how brands utilize Emojis across different social platforms to engage with their target audience.

Brands are successfully coming out with their own campaigns using emojis and impacting social media in new creative ways, keeping brands ahead of the pack (credit shirley)! According to The Guardian Magazine, “This allows brands to “communicate with their target audience, to infiltrate their mobile phones, to demonstrate that they are on top of the latest communications trends, and also to convey messages in elegantly simple ways.


Bud Light: Twitter & YouTube



GE: Tumblr


PETA: YouTube



Admit it- you use emojis on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s on your phone via text, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram; it’s undeniable how universal the emoji language has become. Now that brands have jumped on this bandwagon, what does this mean for the future of emojis?

For starters, expect to see more branded emoji keyboards available for download on your phone. Emoji’s will also appear in your search engine and vice versa, your search engine will be able to read emojis:



Actual Website URL’S will have emoji’s in them:

Coca cola


And if we peer into our marketing telescopes, perhaps there is a future for emojis on a lexical scale? Or maybe they will finally come out with the taco emoji!