User-generated content is a term coined to describe content that has been produced by your customers or followers that promotes your company. It is one of the most valuable types of content a business can use for brand awareness, connection building, and sales and leads generation.

Types of UGC include videos, images, mentions, reviews, tags, reels, tweets, lives and so on, that feature or mention your company and its products and services.

User-generated content is not a paid-for feature or sponsorship – it’s authentically created by your customers because they have been so impressed with your business and want to share it with their own following.

Why is UGC content so important in social media marketing?

If you’re still not convinced about the value of UGC, note that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands, and if that’s not enough, then you may like to know that nearly 80 percent of people say UGC has a high impact on their purchasing decisions. Sharing UGC is a strategic way to generate product desire and grow your audience.

User-generated content is essentially free marketing and the ultimate social proof. Because of its authenticity, it is fantastic for boosting sales because it plays on social proof and customer psychology – people follow people. Social proof generates credibility and improves your reputation.

UGC requires no work from yourself in terms of content creation – all your need to do is offer a great product and service, and give your customers/followers a reason to shout about you. It gives your customers a voice.

Furthermore, sharing UGC shows your customers and your audience that you appreciate and value them and their feedback, which strengthens your b2c relationships and fosters community. It builds you a fan base and a community around your company, which increases the level of trust customers have in your business.

UGC is a great way to carry out social listening – it enables you to discover which products and services are most favoured by your customers, and how people feel about your brand.

It also helps you stand out and carve your own place within the market because your UGC cannot be replicated by a competitor, and it helps you to reach a wider audience and grow your awareness.

How can I encourage user-generated content?

For customers and followers to go out of their way to share content around your product, you need to go out of your way to please and impress them!

Simply by acting the way a business should – by having a fantastic product or service – you are going to make your customers feel positive about your company, and then they will want to share their positive experience. You can also encourage UGC through incentivising with discounts, prizes, free exposure, and so on.

There are many UGC generating strategies, such as offering a personalised service, asking questions and running polls then sharing the responses, asking for a review in return for a discount (although if you’re really pleasing your customers you won’t need to ask for a review!), running your own branded hashtag, sharing and repurposing your existing UGC, asking users to submit their own product photographs, and running social media campaigns that are designed to drive UGC.

Ensure you’re promoting your online accounts offline too – leave your social media handles on your business cards, invoices, and order slips, and add them to any offline advertisements.

How can I use user-generated content for a marketing campaign?

UGC campaigns are fantastic because they make everybody feel involved! There are many ways you can use user-generated content for a social media campaign:

• Encourage customers to create content around a branded hashtag
• Ask your customers to tag and share your products with an incentive to get them to do so
• Collate existing UGC and repurpose into content for a campaign
• Start conversations by asking users to comment on something specific and then collate the responses into creative visual content
• Create a personalised experience for your customers so they are likelier to get on board – social media users love sharing personalised, bespoke experiences that are tailored to them
• Create a section on your social media profiles dedicated solely to UGC

Always remember to show your appreciation for UGC content by crediting and thanking your contributors and customers.

If you need more content ideas, take a look at our 19 imaginative ways to generate ideas for new social media content. 

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