Facebook warned brands late last year that beginning in January 2015 people would see fewer promotional page posts in their News Feed and that brands posting that type of content would see "a significant decrease in distribution."

Essentially, Facebook made it much more difficult for organic content from brand pages to make its way into consumers' News Feeds. In fact, Facebook posts from brand pages now reach just 2% of their fans, and only 0.73% of top brand fans engage with each post, reports by Ogilvy and Forrester found.

Although Twitter and Instagram don't hamper organic reach (yet), there is certainly no guarantee that users will see content from brands before it is pushed down by new messages or photos.

So, what's the answer to combating this decrease in organic reach? (Hint: it's not paid advertising.)

To successfully reach customers through social media, brands need to rely on consumers to deliver brand messages to other consumers. Accordingly, to foster authentic social conversations, user-generated content (UGC) campaigns are becoming increasingly popular.

By using UGC campaigns, a brand can overcome the hurdle of limited organic reach, not only allowing its messages to reach consumers but also directly involving consumer in conversations.

Among the best examples of user-generated content campaigns are Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign and Starbucks' "White Cup Contest." Follow in the footsteps of such successful brands by implementing the following tips in your next user-generated content campaign.

1. Align target, behavior, and channel

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Amish Tolia

Amish Tolia is a co-founder and the chief strategy officer of Pear, provider of a community marketing platform.

LinkedIn: Amish Tolia

Twitter: @AmishTolia