As a media and content publisher Narcity uses its social media platforms to not only share our lifestyle, travel and news content but additionally uses our audience to amplify creators across Canada and North America. As the social team, our mandate is to grow our social audience to continually create a new readership for our web content. We do this in a myriad of ways across social media but have seen a great return in audience growth through working and amplifying creators. Amplifying creators through not only paid partnerships but also (and with tremendous return) have created a system where we also share countless UGC from across Canada both from our audience and outside our follower base.
Through our local news publishing, we at Narcity intrinsically understand the power of the individual and by mining for UGC across North America, we are able to amplify and provide a platform of exposure to countless new and experienced creators. We saw small returns with this prior to 2021 but over the last calendar year really dove headfirst into not only searching for UGC but also creating a clear call to the community to post, send and tag us in their content.
Our goal became: How could we create a system to easily find, receive and post the best UGC content on the internet resulting in increased audience growth and engagement.
The strategy was simple: How could we double or triple our output of UGC content while not double or tripling our efforts in finding the best of the best out there on social media. We aimed to do this by increasing inbound UGC from our followers and also streamlining how we mine and search for UGC online. Noting that as a media publisher we always obtain approvals from creators to post their content and never share anything without a creator's consent, providing us with added complexity.
Creating more inbound was a two-fold approach. First, we simply added “Tag us in your videos to be featured” to every caption featuring UGC that we posted on social media. This made it clear to our audience that we were looking for this content and that we were checking our mentions to find more of it. This also helped to increase account exposure, engagement and follower growth as people were tagging our account (mainly @NarcityCanada) more often. Secondly, we started to work and pay creators to make videos for us, this showed our audience that if your UGC is fun, cool and engaging, there could be an opportunity to partner more officially with us on paid content and created an incentive for increased sharing. We use “In collaboration with” as a tagline on those videos to showcase a difference in UGC vs. paid creator content.
Additionally, the Narcity social media team created a more streamlined system for searching for UGC internally. This involved increased use of TikTok including TikTok hashtag searches that we return to often and creating distinct “for you page” experiences on our different local social accounts to ensure we can find content specific to different cities more easily. Lastly, we launched a cataloging and archiving system via our internal Slack system to track, send and ensure all UGC we receive permissions for is scheduled and posted by the team.
We saw over time that not only did this increase our productivity and output, we also saw some of our competitors start to post our content a few days after us, as they caught up to the UGC trend of a given day or week.
In the social team, our North Star is to grow our digital audience for our content. As a result of a full push towards UGC in 2021 and specifically in Q2, this strategy resulted in the single greatest follower growth month in our publisher's history of over 30,000 new followers in May 2021.
Additional results included:
70,000 followers gained over a 3-month Q2 period - April to June Q2 2021
Grew account and follower base to surpass multiple competitors in the Canadian media market and grab key market share of engagement and resulting website traffic.
Growth larger than many massive International content publishers - Ex Buzzfeed main account growth from April to June 2021 was just 9,500 followers vs.70,000 for Narcity Canada
Created and posted a staggering 170 Reels videos in Q2 (April - June 2021)
170 Reels in Q2 resulting in 59 Million views, and 1.8M interactions (Likes+Comments)
Entered into paid contracts with 20+ separate content creators in 2021 to support exclusive content creation for our feeds following an initial UGC post from them. Creators are located across North America and produce content in both English and French.
Duplicated this strategy to our more local Canadian feeds including Narcity Toronto which we have grown to almost 40,000 followers (from zero) since launch in 2021.