How National Geographic Utilized UGC to Crush their Social Campaign

By Ben Miller|Content Marketing|Wed Aug 10 2016|


By now, it should be pretty easy to see that leveraging user generated content (UGC) is clearly one of the most powerful things a brand can do in the social world; you’ll be hard pressed to find an industry expert or seasoned social marketing veteran that would dare to claim otherwise.

However, finding inspiration on this front isn’t always something that’s easy to come by. With this in mind, let’s spend a few minutes looking over three social outreach campaigns that really tapped into the power of UGC, as well as what lessons these promotions can offer up to brands like your own.

National Geographic’s “Wanderlust” Contest

Considering that National Geographic is known for publishing stunning images and telling captivating stories through the visual medium, Hootsuite’s Dara Fontein points out that it makes plenty of sense for a campaign from this organization to take center stage within the discussion regarding how best to capture and promote UGC.

As Fontein goes on to explain, the #Wanderlust campaign focused on having users share their travel-related content on Instagram, thereby showcasing some of the world’s most exotic and exciting locales. In return for access to this UGC, participants received entry into a contest that offered a trip to Yosemite National Park as the top prize.

In terms of the lessons learned from National Geographic’s campaign, it all boils down to two key concepts: Know your audience and incentivize the UGC process accordingly. The team behind this contest understood that beautiful travel images resonate with the social following of this magazine, so they rightly assumed that combining requests for this kind of content with a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the main prize would generate a sizeable response.

The #NotOnAppStore Movement

The creators of had a singular purpose in mind when launching their #NotOnAppStore campaign: Celebrate the beauty of real life and the physical world via the benefits of widely available mobile technology. The result of this movement, as explained by iMedia Connection’s Chloe Della Costa, was a deluge of heartwarming and touching UGC offerings that shine a spotlight on all of life’s joyous moments that can’t be replicated in the digital world.

Even though this UGC endeavor wasn’t exactly driven to increase brand awareness or boost conversions, it still hammers home a powerful point. The best UGC opportunities arise from the times when a brand eschews the temptation for a “cheap” or fleeting experience and truly builds its campaign around exploring the deeper and more meaningful moments of the daily lives of its social following.

Burberry’s “The Art of the Trench” Promotion

The final campaign on our list – Burberry’s “The Art of the Trench” promotion – is all about showing off a product in action and appealing to a wide cross section of audience demographics. Going a little deeper, Eric Siu of the HubSpot Blog points out via his review of this social media event that Burberry garnered a 50 percent jump in eCommerce sales simply by showcasing images of loyal fans wearing this brand’s line of premium trench coats.

The lesson found here? Sometimes skipping over the elaborate or over-the-top social tactics employed by other organizations and keeping your brand’s campaign simple and straightforward is the best way to simultaneously engage your audience and leverage the power of UGC.

At the end of the day, there is no one “right” way to develop a winning take on UGC and social media interaction; each brand must forge its own path on this front and build around the needs and desires of its unique target viewership. Fortunately, with what you’ve learned here leading the way, your brand should be able to find the inspiration needed to develop its own winning stance on UGC and create a lasting and meaningful connection with the people that matter most.

About Us

Based in Silicon Valley, ShareRoot offers a software as a service (SaaS) platform that works with brands and digital agencies to easily find and source user generated content (UGC). ShareRoot’s proprietary, legally secure process allows for brands to obtain the legal rights to these images as well as display them in customizable galleries that can feature on any webpage. For more information about ShareRoot’s award winning platform and why it can truly help “Harness the Visual Power of your Consumers” please visit