Content saturation is at an all-time high. Americans spend, on average, 2.45 hours a day on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Attention spans are shrinking, and content creators and brands compete to capture and retain attention.
Creating content that stands out and grabs viewers’ attention can be challenging for filmmakers and creators. How do you generate interest and get viewers to check out your show or film?
Fortunately, there are creative approaches to generate interest in movies, TV shows, or other productions that leverage some of today’s popular trends in UGC (user-generated content), like reviews, reactions, and memes.
By understanding how consumers and professionals embrace technology and user-generated content, filmmakers can capitalize on these tools to cut through the noise more effectively while gaining insight into what people find enjoyable in entertainment. In this blog post, we’ll look at how modern productions incorporate user-generated content and explore critical takeaways for filmmakers and creatives looking to use this approach successfully with their projects.
Introducing User-Generated Content – What Is It and Why Does It Matter?
User-generated content (UGC) has revolutionized how modern productions reach their audiences. UGC is content created by people, such as fans, followers, or other users of your project or film. This could include photos, videos, comments, reviews, or any other content created by people external to the production or project.
Next time you find yourself scrolling through TikTok or Instagram Reels, pay attention to the content being shared with you. Keep an eye out for how much of it is about people’s reactions to new episodes of their favorite show or movie. Also, notice how much content is being created by fans recreating their favorite scenes or editing clips from the show or film.
Through UGC, content creators can gain valuable insights into their audience’s interests and preferences, allowing you to tailor your content to meet their needs better. Ultimately, leveraging UGC can help content creators and filmmakers stand out in a crowded marketplace and achieve tremendous success.
Authenticity and Relatability
When users create content for you, it allows your brand to be seen in a way that resonates with audiences. User-generated content is more genuine, relatable, and trusted with minimal to no direct cost.
Fans of a brand or production create content that genuinely reflects their love and appreciation for the project. This enthusiasm is infectious and can inspire others to check out your content. By sharing and promoting UGC, you show your audience that you value their opinions and creativity, fostering a sense of community and belonging that, in turn, creates a thriving fanbase.
Cost-effective Content Marketing
While creating high-quality video content can be extremely expensive, UGC is essentially free. By encouraging fans to create content, you can leverage their creativity and reach without incurring the cost of creating content yourself. This content can be easily shared and consumed, increasing the virality and visibility of your project.
As fans of your brand or project create UGC, they inadvertently help you reach their networks, which often comprise like-minded individuals with similar interests. This targeted reach increases the likelihood of your content resonating with new viewers and broadening your audience base.
How to Encourage User-Generated Content
Make It Easy to Create And Share Content
To ensure your UGC campaign is successful, be strategic about the content you share, including trailers, snippets, behind-the-scenes footage, previews, and interviews. Sharing this type of content makes it easier to create user-generated videos to share as shorts or TikToks. High-quality, engaging content inspires fans to develop interpretations and share them with their networks.
If your project has popular characters, provide fans with assets they can use to create content, such as stickers or GIFs through platforms like Giphy, which they can then use when chatting with friends on other platforms.
Character reference sheets are also helpful for fans who want to draw or create cosplay content.
Fans need to be able to remix and transform your content quickly. Making it difficult for them to do so will only alienate your audience from your project and make it challenging to engage with them meaningfully.
The element of absurdity can also contribute to the “shareability” of content. For example, Cocaine Bear became viral due to its bizarre and outlandish premise. Universal let the absurdity of the film speak for itself before picking up on marketing through promotions and a Super Bowl ad leading to its release.
No one can predict how much traction a project will get, but you can create a strategy for how you can capitalize on any attention your project receives.
Encourage Meme Creation for Maximum Visibility and Reach
Creating memes for increased visibility and reach can be a powerful strategy. Memes are rapidly shared pieces of content, such as images, videos, or text, that spread through imitation or resharing. Crafting a successful meme can be challenging, as they often emerge organically rather than through deliberate efforts.
Brands might try to develop their own memes, but they can feel forced or insincere. Most successful memes are not intentionally created; they arise spontaneously as people share and modify the original content.
Predicting what will resonate with audiences can be difficult, but a good starting point is to identify aspects of your project with meme potential. Short videos or GIFs that are humorous or visually compelling make excellent candidates.
When you observe a trend emerging from user-generated content, support and promote it by featuring and acknowledging the creators, when individuals see their work highlighted on your channels, they will be motivated to contribute even more content.
Consider the film M3GAN as an example. Universal skillfully capitalized on the “M3GAN dance” and accompanying hashtags that swept across TikTok, creating a viral sensation that significantly boosted the film’s visibility. As users enthusiastically shared their own renditions of the dance, the M3GAN team recognized the potential of this user-generated content and strategically engaged with the trend.
They went on to create dance challenges fans could participate in and even make a dance troupe to do the M3GAN dance in various locations, including Jimmy Kimmel Live!
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Leverage Social Media and Influencers
Promote your UGC campaign on social media platforms and online communities where your target audience is most active. Engage with fans, share their content, and provide feedback or recognition to encourage further participation.
Of course, the question then is – how do I even let people know my project or film exists? You can only leverage UGC if people know about your project.
Influencers—people with a large following and devoted fanbase—are invaluable for awareness-building. While it’s essential to focus on organic engagement and promotion, leveraging micro-influencers who genuinely enjoy your content can help create a buzz about your project.
If you have the budget, you can invest more in influencer marketing to reach a wider audience. The immediate exposure will get the ball rolling in the short term, leading to increased organic engagement later.
The film Puss in Boot: The Last Wish partnered with an influencer and took advantage of the buzz and engagement the M3GAN hashtag was getting. Riding on the popularity of the dance, Dreamworks partnered with user straw_hat_goofy to release an exclusive clip of the film’s main villain, Death, doing a version of the M3GAN dance.
The clip has garnered 5.4 million views, 1 million likes, and 20k shares.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, embracing the power of memes, short-form content, and UGC is crucial for the success of your TV show, film, or movie marketing strategy. These tools provide:
• An authentic, cost-effective, and targeted approach to reaching new audiences.
• Engaging your existing fans.
• Creating a buzz around your project.
By making it easy for fans to create content, you can harness the full potential of UGC and elevate your marketing game.
Through UGC, content creators can gain valuable insights into their audience’s interests and preferences, allowing them to tailor their content to meet their needs better. Ultimately, leveraging UGC can help content creators and filmmakers stand out in a crowded marketplace and achieve greater success.
As the power of these platforms grows, so too makes the demand for high-quality, authentic content. It’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker or content creator!