This page contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and other affiliate partners. We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no additional cost to you.

User-generated content (UGC) is media about your business created by your loyal customers—is it part of your social media strategy? It should be!

It is hard to overestimate how dynamic and expansive social media has become, or the importance of its role in marketing your business. Social media allows your business to advertise directly to potential customers, and has also provided whole new marketing opportunities by allowing customers to speak up!

This is the realm of user-generated content, a whole new horizon for improving your marketing model.


What Is “User-Generated Content”?

User-generated content, or UGC, is a catch-all term for any content produced by consumers or followers that features your business or products. If someone enjoys your product so much that they take a picture on Instagram, write about how great it is, and tag your business, that’s user-generated content! If someone goes on YouTube and records a review of your services, that’s also user-generated content! User-generated content can take a variety of forms and appear anywhere that users can share their opinions about your products. UGC has quickly become an essential and affordable element of online marketing campaigns.

Why Care About User-Generated Content?

At first glance, user-generated content might seem like a convenient side effect of social media marketing. After all, this kind of content is in the hands of your customers. So how can you use it effectively? The fact is user-generated content can be essential to producing a loyal customer base and produces public trust in your business. 83% of respondents in the 2019 Global Trust in Advertising Report stated that they trust recommendations from friends or family. On the contrary, 66% of respondents said they trusted consumer opinions related online.

Understanding UGC and utilizing it to grow your online presence can be a vital part of ensuring your business stands out. User-Generated Content allows you to build a base of online content that you can choose to boost without investing time or money into professionally developed ads or posts. By supplementing your branded marketing with UGC, you can develop a unique marketing campaign while gaining insight into your customer base.

How Do I Find User-Generated Content?

User-Generated Content may be effective, but because it relies on your customers it can seem hard to find and share. Chances are that your business will have to take an active role in communicating to your consumers. This includes what opportunities exist for them to share their opinions.

One of the most effective means of building UGC is developing hashtags that connect to your brand’s image. Create a snappy, short hashtag, and include it in your branded content. Make sure you include a call to action directly asking your customers to use the hashtag and share their thoughts. Customers will feel more confident in sharing their opinions when they are being encouraged. They’ll also be incentivized by the hashtag potentially boosting their own social media presence if it becomes popular.

It helps to provide your UGC campaign a context or prompt. The Coca-Cola “Share A Coke” campaign asked customers to share pictures of them drinking Coke bottles with their names printed on them. Over 500,000 pictures were shared with the hashtag #shareacoke in the first year alone. Incentivizing customers with a prompt will ensure you engage more users online. It can even be used to develop social media contests as well! Consider a giveaway campaign where users can join by posting photos or reviews about your product with a hashtag about the contest


Keep an Eye On Your Analytics

Try to start using new keywords, hashtags, or phrases in your social media posts. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your analytics to see how well they’re performing. If keywords or phrases aren’t performing well, you’ll want to change strategies. You can also use analytics to compare your outreach to your competitors or other major business.

Keep track of the demographics that share your content and locate any new words or topics that appear in posts related to your business. Make sure to share reviews or mentions on your social media and incorporate any tendencies or patterns into your marketing models.

You don’t have to start from scratch every time you develop new keywords or marketing plans. See where attention is already focused on social media and use that to your advantage. UGC is about circulating attention. You’re letting customers know that they’ll be recognized when they talk about you. You’ll want to keep a close eye on who your customers are and what they respond to.

UGC is an exciting and dynamic means of developing communication with your customer base. As you build your social media presence, you will want to take an active role in engaging your followers. It is important to see what they have to say. A trustworthy and dedicated following of online users will boost your brand recognition. It will also provide you with a fresh resource for new marketing content.