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For 179 million Americans, Halloween is more than just one day out of the year; it’s a month-long celebration of fun costumes, scary movies, haunted houses, hay rides, and of course, the perfect excuse to indulge in sweet treats. Consumers aren’t keeping the fun to themselves either. Whether it’s a selfie on Facebook or a shot of their #halloweenpup on Instagram, social media will be spookified. For savvy brands, all this social Halloween-hoopla serves as a golden opportunity to collect the most magically engaging of all content: user-generated content (UGC). But how do you encourage your brand’s fans and advocates to create user-generated content? Through fun, festive Halloween themed user-generated content contests of course!

There’s Big Money in Halloween

In 2017, Americans who took part in Halloween festivities spent a whopping $9.1 billion dollars. It wasn’t just two-legged individuals who were part of the festivities either – 10% of consumers said they were planned for their pet to take part in some way (usually costumes) in Halloween. Between the planning and the spending, it’s safe to say that Halloween is one of the most highly anticipated holidays on the calendar for brands of all shapes, sizes, and verticals.

 

Why User-Generated Content Is Ideal for Driving Sales

More than 86% of business utilize user-generated content (UGC) as a part of their overall marketing strategy. Whether you’re a small business or a major operation, user-generated content has some serious power among consumers.

Nearly 76% of individuals trust user-generated content over any other messages published or shared on a channel. Transparency is a major factor when it comes to consumers trusting a brand or business. Today, many consumers don’t always believe what brands are saying through their advertisements and rely more heavily on referrals from friends, family, or trusted Internet personalities for the “truth”.

The more consumers trust in your brand, the more they’re comfortable spending to support your brand. For this reason, UGC can be a powerful marketing tactic that can drive sales during high dollar holidays like Halloween. Consumers associate UGC with a transparency that traditional marketing efforts and campaigns can’t always capture.

Another perk, UGC posts shared across social channels see a 28% increase in engagement when compared to standard brand posts. People love to share, and they love to be recognized for their shares.

But enough about the numbers, let’s get into the fun stuff. Specifically, how to bring your brand’s Halloween themed user-generated content dreams to life through engaging UGC contests this Halloween.

 

Capturing User-Generated Content Using A Contest

To encourage fans to create user-generated content in general, many brands utilize a content contest. Typically, most brands use one of the following contest entry methods to encourage entrants to create some sweet UGC:

  • Uploading a themed selfie
  • Submitting a prompted written post
  • Creating a fun short video

To learn more about creating and managing a user-generated content contest. Check out our blog post here.

Pro Tip: Managing a UGC contest doesn’t have to be all spreadsheets and Instagram searches. The right tool can make it quick and easy to advertise the contest, solicit entries, moderate posts, and even select a winner – which is why our SocialToaster fan engagement platform is perfect for taking your UGC efforts to the next level. As a bonus, you’ll have the opportunity to roll your contest entrants into an ongoing advocacy marketing program where they can share your blog posts and other great content long past Halloween.

 

4 Halloween Themed User-Generated Content Contest Ideas

1) Pumpkin Decorating Contest

What is Halloween without pumpkins? It’s like Christmas without the tree or the 4th of July without a neighbor illegally shooting fireworks over your house. Whether it’s carving, painting, or any number of media, pumpkin decorating contests are a fun way to allow followers of all ages to show off their creativity and advocate for your brand.

For this Halloween themed user-generated content contest format, we recommend that your brand keeps in mind these best practices:

  • Decide between a no-carve vs. carving contest (no-carve involves decorating the pumpkin with paint, glitter, glue-on items, etc.)
  • Pick a theme (spooky, family-friendly, on-brand)
  • Don’t be too rigid with the create rules and guidelines

Remember, this is your fan’s chance to unleash their creativity and have some fun with the contest and your brand!

2) Submit Your Scariest Story in 7 Words

Want to get your users interacting and talking? Have your followers create and submit the scariest short story they can write that consists of 7 words (or less/more) for their Halloween themed user-generated content. As a best practice, give them an image or prompt that can get your audience and followers talking and sharing. Be sure to tie the prompt into your brand in some form or fashion.

Select your favorites and share them across your social media profiles. Even better, use your advocates in your advocacy marketing program to help share these stories across their profiles as well.

3) Hold a Pet Costume Contest

As we mentioned, humans aren’t the only ones who love Halloween. Pets everywhere seem to love it too! (Or at least that’s what we like to think.) From dogs to cats to bearded dragons (hey, they’re a thing), pet owners everywhere are using the excuse of Halloween to dress their faithful companions up for the holiday.

If it’s in line with your brand, consider holding a Halloween themed user-generated content pet costume contest that asks owners to upload a photo of their beloved four-legged cuties in costume. Have your fans and contest participants post their images to Instagram with your contest hashtag.

4) Best Halloween Costume Makeup

Cosmetic brands, this one’s for you! Halloween is a perfect opportunity for your most talented and aspiring makeup artists to show off their artistic skills. Instagram and Pinterest have opened a whole new world for makeup lovers everywhere. Ask your fans to send in their most grotesque (or adorable) transformations as Halloween themed user-generated content to show off their freaky flair!

 

Creep It Real with Halloween Themed User-Generated Content Contests!

Fall is closing in and you can hear Halloween in the winds. Just because fall decorations are already in stores doesn’t mean it’s too late to start your Halloween advocacy marketing efforts. Remember, the sooner you start your contest efforts, the sooner you can start driving content to increase visibility, engagement, and traffic to your products or services.

Be sure to use an advocacy marketing platform (like Social Toaster), to effectively and efficiently manage all aspects of your program. Our team of dedicated program strategists can help you craft the perfect on-brand Halloween themed user-generated content contest in time to capture the magic sales-driving potential of the Halloween season.

If you’re ready to get your Halloween campaigns started, email or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST! Let’s get spooky!