Complete Guide To User-Generated Content

User-generated content can be found worldwide on various social media channels and platforms. But how is it beneficial for a business? 

  1. What Is User-Generated Content?
  2. Who Makes User-Generated Content?
    1. The Customers
    2. Brand Loyalists
    3. UGC Creators
  3. Types Of User-Generated Content
    1. Images
    2. Videos
    3. Reviews
  4. User-Generated Content Examples
    1. GoPro
    2. Nike
    3. Welltraveledclub
  5. Tips To Keep In Mind When Using User-Generated Content
    1. Ask For Consent
    2. Give Credit To The Owner
    3. Be Clear On What You’re Looking For
  6. Why Is User Generated Content Important?
    1. Feels Authentic
    2. Helps To Establish Loyalty
    3. Builds Trust
    4. Helps In Conversions and Influencing Buyers’ Decisions
    5. Flexibility
    6. Cost Effective
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. The Impact Of User Generated Content On Modern Marketing
  9. Related Reads

What Is User-Generated Content?

UGC or user-generated content is any form of content created by consumers and published on their social media platforms. The content published will have mentions of a specific brand. UGC can be found in many forms from images, videos, reviews, and even podcasts or blogs.

So, brand-specific content created by customers is called user-generated content.

Who Makes User-Generated Content?

UGC is made by

The Customers

UGC can be something as simple as customer photos of a product on an Amazon product page, in the context of a review. Another example is unboxing videos, where the video shows what it’s like to have a product delivered, and the excitement of opening it.  

Brand Loyalists

They come under the category of dedicated customers, people who are passionate about a brand and believe in what it stands for. They are loyalists, advocates, and fans, people who care about the brand’s meaning and/or message and the products and services the brand offers.

Since loyalists care so much about a brand, businesses take advantage of their fan following and reach out to them to create content.

Think of an influencer like iJustine, who promotes and reviews Apple products. She’s so dedicated she literally changed her name to reflect her loyalty. She is not an Apple employee but her passion and influence are so far-reaching, and her productions so professional, that Apple is happy to have her representing their brand.

UGC Creators

UGC creators make sponsored content for a brand that looks organic and brand-derived. From the surface, it may appear as brand content but in reality, it is not. A UGC creator is paid by a brand for creating content that resembles traditionally generated content.

Types Of User-Generated Content

These days, almost every single brand has a UGC content marketing strategy in place. It helps them create brand awareness, increase conversions, and social engagement and expands the brand’s reach. It is a popular and cost-effective strategy.

Here are the different types of user-generated content.

1. Images

Images are UGC content that consists of at least one photograph or illustration as an aesthetically pleasing image, with brief positive commentary. Instagram,  Pinterest, and Facebook are popular sites for UGC images. Pictures that look pleasing and have a product image (especially when they include a smiling human) will lead to users wanting to know more about the company and thereby increase the rate of engagement users have with a brand.

For example, take a look at the image above.

Lululemon is a Canadian athleisure brand known for making high-quality sweatpants, sweatshirts, shorts, t-shirts, and more. They have a social media presence and ask followers and loyalists to use the hashtag #lululemonstudio to create brand awareness by sharing the photos they take with the product on their page.

2. Videos

Video is the most popular form of user-generated content at present. This is mostly thanks to the famous social media platform TikTok. Instagram and YouTube are also video platforms where people spend a lot of time-consuming video content.

Yet another example of video content is GoPro. They have a huge fan following and one that is increasing every day. Almost every YouTube food blogger, adventurer, and motorcyclist uses a GoPro to capture content from a first-person point of view (POV).

3. Reviews

Product reviews generated by users can take the simplest form, as shown above, where you happen to post a review on Google about a specific place you went to, and you may or may not incorporate a picture or pictures of said place. This is done easily and quickly from your phone.

Reviews can also be in the form of a video, podcast, or blog, with videos being the most popular format.

In all these categories, the range of presentation is from pro to semi-pro, to amateur.

A pro example would be Marques Brownlee’s MKBHD channel for tech; semi-pro would be Reviewbrah (Report of the Week/ROTW) for food, and amateur might be Shuler King, filming from his car.

The point is, video is a format that humans love, and reviews of any type presented in format tend to get more engagement than just words on a page, though it must be said – a lot of people still prefer to read words, so don’t discount the blogs or the word reviews yet, and of course, there’s always audio, in the form of podcasts.

Some of the best places to read reviews are

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Airbnb

Some of the best places to watch video reviews are

  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

User-Generated Content Examples

Some examples of user-generated content marketing are

1. GoPro

GoPro is a video equipment company that relies on user-created content such as YouTube videos to promote awareness and increase the audience’s engagement with the brand. Almost all of the videos you see on their YouTube channel were created by users.

Their marketing campaigns involve people mentioning them in their videos and images. There are numerous videos of people doing some of the craziest things and recording all of them on their GoPro.

2. Nike

This is another well-known brand that uses brand loyalty to its advantage. Since their fan following is large, the number of people who post UGC content is also high. To add to that, many NFL players post content wearing Nike products and this invokes a feeling among many people that makes them want to have the same products.

3. Welltraveledclub

Not only large businesses use UGC campaigns to promote their content. Small business owners can also benefit a lot from user-generated posts because they will only add to their authority as a brand and improve their reputation.

Welltraveledclub is a community-based travel club that uses content generated by its members. They use it to highlight the perks of becoming a member. Then they will reshare the content created by their members and repost it on their social media platforms. Since we currently live in a world where visual content has the most effect, brands like Well Traveled are making the most of it.

Tips To Keep In Mind When Using User-Generated Content

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when posting user-generated content.

1. Ask For Consent

Asking for consent before sharing a piece of content that another person made is important, especially now in this age of growing social media presence. People may have used your hashtags without knowing that it is a part of your campaign. So, resharing and publishing users’ content without their permission is the fastest way to lose a brand’s social media reputation.

2. Give Credit To The Owner

When reposting content, always make sure that you give credit to the original owner of the content. This means tagging the original creator when sharing the post and showing appreciation for them.

Providing proper credit to the creators builds trust and respect among the users and can boost a brand’s identity. Also giving credit where it’s due will help the original creator feel appreciated for the work they have done.

3. Be Clear On What You’re Looking For

When creating a UGC campaign, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what you are looking for; what type of content you want to repost on your social media. It is good when a person tags you in their picture but to reshare content, it must be aligned with your marketing strategy.

The best way to do this is to tell your users what type of content you are looking for and that only those types of content will be reshared. For example, say you have a t-shirt that is selling really well and you want people to know that plenty of users wear your t-shirt with style. You can ask users to create a video of them making an outfit out of it and the best ones will be featured on your page. Outfits of the day or as they are more commonly used nowadays, OOTD is a good example of how you can ask users to create content that is aligned with your marketing goals.

Why Is User Generated Content Important?

Why Is User Generated Content Important?

Using content created by customers makes them feel appreciated and feel as if they are a part of the brand itself. It also helps during all stages of a buyer’s journey to influence customer engagement and conversions. Also, consumers trust content created by the users more than content that is created by brands.

1. Feels Authentic

Using content that was made by users creates a sense of authenticity among the audience. These days it is difficult for brands to sway customers with a generic advertisement because people connect more with content that is grounded and feels authentic. The best way to achieve this is to showcase content that is created by the people themselves.

2. Helps To Establish Loyalty

UGC content gives users the opportunity to be a part of a brand’s social media campaign. It makes them feel involved and actually contributes towards something instead of just being a spectator. Having brand-loyal customers means they will represent you positively, and for a long time.

3. Builds Trust

Building trust as a brand is an already tough job. Audiences feel that a brand can be trusted when they see that other people use the product they are selling. In addition to that, customers trust the content that is created by the users.

4. Helps In Conversions and Influencing Buyers’ Decisions

UGC content is a powerful medium that can influence the outcome of a buyer’s journey. At the end of the buyer’s journey, they must make a purchase; they must transform from a spectator to a paying customer. This is where UGC content can help. It aids in giving a final push to the customer because when they see UGC content of a person using the product, the buyer will feel that the product is worthy enough to buy.

5. Flexibility

The incredible adaptability and flexibility of a UGC campaign are one of the reasons why many brands take advantage of it. You can use UGC content anywhere you want besides the usual social media platforms. For example, you can add a UGC image to the shopping cart section of a website or you can go one step further and create a landing page just for UGC content.

6. Cost Effective

UGC campaigns are also cost-effective when compared to other marketing campaigns like influencer marketing. In Influencer marketing, a brand has to pay the influencer for marketing efforts whereas in UGC campaigns it is free. You can ask users what type of content you are looking for, and you can choose whichever one is good.

Also, it is good for smaller brands because they don’t have to worry so much about managing UGC content when compared to other large-scale marketing campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the different types of user-generated content?

1. Social media posts
2. Blogs posts
3. Videos
4. Reviews and testimonials
5. Case studies
6. Q&As
7. Podcasts

2. Does UGC increase engagement?

Yes, UGC content will improve the engagement of customers with a brand because they have the power to promote a brand. It is an excellent way to become an authentic brand that cares about its customers.

3. Are UGC creators better than influencers?

There is no clear winner when it comes to which one is better. Both UGC content creators and influences have their own advantages. So, ultimately it all depends on your goals and what type of content you are looking for.

The Impact Of User Generated Content On Modern Marketing

UGC content has undoubtedly had an effect on how marketing works. In the past, brands used to pay people to make ads. Even though it still happens today, they now have the option of choosing other channels, including user-generated content.

It is cost-effective, powerful, and also an effective way to generate leads for a business. So, user-generated content helps brands in terms of sales and recognition while also helping customers feel like they are a part of the brand.

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