​User-generated content is redefining digital marketing as we know it. More and more, great marketing is about how a brand re-engages with its existing customers, turning them into willing advocates. This level of trust and loyalty can turn other potential leads into paying customers.

Here are five of our favourite user-generated content ideas and how they deliver brand advocacy and referrals.

1. Leveraging user reviews - Pura Vida Bracelets

This San Diego-based jewellery company was looking for a way to implement user reviews through a simple, elegant, mobile-first solution. They found Yotpo, and got much more than they bargained for. As well as a user reviews system, Yotpo enabled Puta Vida to turn trust into sales through an automated social seeding tool that takes user-generated reviews, and distributes them through your social channels, increasing referrals back to the site. Genius.

2. Creating a social hub - Sony PlayStation

When Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4, their aim was to convert their strongest fans into unwavering brand advocates. To help with this, they launched the ‘Greatness Awaits’ hub where consumers were engaged to increase advocacy.

Using the community engagement tool Livefyre, PS4-branded social content was driven to the platform along with traditional and online media content. The results were dramatic, with PlayStation trouncing XboxOne on launch with 4.3 million page views, 3.3 million pieces of curated social content and increased customer brand advocacy.

3. Customers as communication partners - L’Oreal Dermablend

The key ingredient for strong user-generated content is trust in your users, and L’Oreal’s recent Dermablend campaign was a real winner when it came to putting the power in their audience’s hands.

Viewing their audience as communication partners, L’Oreal made the most of tools like Marketing Cloud and Offerpop to send targeted remarketing requests to their audience in ways that would increase brand awareness and engagement, driving them to a campaign encouraging them to share their make-up inspired transformations.

The campaign received over 10,000 submissions, and these all fed into L’Oreal’s brand narrative of beauty-through-transformation, driving specific KPIs around email acquisition, social followers and web traffic.

4. Social media competitions - National Geographic

If you know National Geographic, you’ll know that they’re renowned for stunning imagery. It was therefore a real risk when they asked their social media audience to submit their own travel images in their #Wanderlust contest. The aim was to “capture glimpses of the unforgettable people, places, and experiences that have impacted their lives from their travels around the world”.

A simple idea that yielded powerful results. 58,000 + new, sharable social assets that – if sourced online – could cost the Earth in money and resource!

5. Outsourced creativity - Infiniti

Luxury car company Infiniti wanted to do something special for the launch of the Infiniti Q30, so they created a social media contest (#Q30CHALLENGES) and asked their fans to Photoshop their car into unusual places on their daily routine. Users shared their creations with the rest of the world to win a weekend trip to Amsterdam.

This brought in over a thousand interesting user-generated pieces of content! Showing that through a simple task, loyal fans of a brand will create genuinely distinctive, engaging, and in this case, weird and wonderful content.