Put your marketing hat down for a sec.
Don’t you trust more the opinion of people sharing their positive experience with a product on TikTok than the product’s paid ads? The ads may also say the truth but the unbiased TikTok user strikes a different chord.
That’s why user-generated content will forever reign the social media game. And you have to learn how to inspire your customers to create it — and most importantly how you can use it right.
Take, for example, Pedigree. By blending UGC into its social media content, Pedigree has not only added a delightful variety of cute pets enjoying treats to its Instagram page but also took the chance to promote different products through it.
Now, it’s time for you to tap into the potential of UGC for your brand.
In this article, we’ll explore 5 effective UGC marketing strategies, a step-by-step process to launch a user-generated content campaign, and how to use this type of content to get the best results for your brand.
Table of Contents
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content, or simply UGC, is any form of genuine content involving a particular brand — such as videos, posts, and others — created by customers and published on social media and the web.
Unlike traditional content that is produced by professionals, user-generated content is created by individuals who aren’t necessarily affiliated with the brand they create content for. That’s why we may also refer to UGC as Customer-Generated Content or even Consumer-Generated Content.
The one thing you should know about user-generated content is that it’s less — or none at all — staged. That’s why it appeals as authentic and relatable to the audience.
And remember, 90% of consumers say authenticity plays an important role when deciding which brands to support.
Below you can see some user-generated content examples to get a clear understanding of what we’re talking about.
Examples of user-generated content
Let’s check some good examples of UGC to see how people are using them:
Example #1: Instagram carousels
An Instagram user taking Starbucks reusable cups to the next level, by giving them a creative touch. This post is discoverable under #starbucks on Instagram search results.
Example #2: TikTok videos
@ximennaaa i ❤️ my eyebrows,i used the nyx eyebrow glue! #makeuptutorial #nyxcosmetics #eyebrowtutorial ♬ waste my time essosa – renny
A short video where the user shows how she applies an NYX Cosmetics beauty product for eyebrows. The result is magnificent.
Example #3: Photos
Just an Instagram post with a casual photo of a luxury bag in a car. See that #gucci hashtag in the description?
Example #4: Reels
View this post on Instagram
An Instagram reel praising the beauty of Norway from above, using a Sony Alpha camera, as we can assume from the hashtag used.
Example #5: Memes
A fun meme of a Twitter user about Google’s new analytics platform GA4.
Types of UGC
As you may suspect, there are various types of user-generated content. Here we summarize the top 10 most common ones:
- Social media content (e.g., posts, reels, etc.)
- Product reviews
- Blog posts
- Fan art
What is UGC Marketing?
User-generated content marketing is a marketing strategy that leverages UGC to promote a brand, product, or service.
It involves encouraging and supporting content created by consumers or users as a means of authentic promotion and social proof for your brand.
UGC marketing taps into customers’ willingness to create and share content related to their experiences with a brand, acting as objective brand advocates.
As a marketer of any business — small or big — you can leverage user-generated content for a marketing campaign or organic social media posts to benefit from the trust and influence that comes from it.
It’s true that leveraging user-generated content in marketing has become a truly popular alternative to expensive influencer campaigns. That’s, mainly, because of its effectiveness in connecting with audiences, driving social media engagement, and building trust.
Brands that successfully implement user-generated content marketing strategies benefit greatly from the authentic content created by their customers.
With that said, let’s examine some serious advantages of user-generated content for your brand.
Benefits of User-Generated Content Marketing
UGC can be in favor of your marketing plan in so many ways. In this section, we explain the 5 main benefits of user-generated content marketing that will persuade you to invest in it.
Creates brand trust
Authentic and original user-generated content works like word-of-mouth today.
People don’t trust ads. In fact, only 8% of the respondents of the recent Edelman Trust Barometer study admit they automatically assume the information in advertising is true.
So, we may say that consumers are more informed than ever, which makes them extremely suspicious of marketing messaging.
People trust people. And that’s precisely why a girl next door on Instagram talking about an eye shadow that changed her looks will now be far more convincing than any TV ad with a famous actress.
The girl next door feels relatable, objective, and importantly, honest. That’s what gives her power to influence other girls purchasing decisions as well.
Builds a brand community
Having a brand community of loyal and active followers on social media is the ultimate fantasy of a social marketer.
User-generated content helps in establishing a bond with your community, as people share their experiences through posts. And they exchange their sincere opinion and feedback in the comment section.
This interaction builds a tied community and keeps your customers and prospects engaged. That will result in brand loyalty and even advocacy.
Gives invaluable feedback
User-generated content can provide valuable insights and feedback for your brand.
By listening to your customers’ experiences, opinions, suggestions, and monitoring their reviews through the content they create, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences.
This feedback can guide product development, marketing strategies, and your overall brand improvement.
Leveraging UGC marketing can significantly reduce the cost of content creation on your brand.
Instead of solely relying on in-house production or influencer marketing, user-generated content marketing allows you to tap into the creativity and resources of your customers.
This results in different types of content that can be used across various marketing channels. And that will save you time and resources in content creation.
Enhances your brand’s narrative
UGC brings a diverse range of creative perspectives to your brand.
Users have different backgrounds, experiences, and ways of expressing themselves. They share stories, photos, videos, and testimonials that provide an authentic and relatable narrative about your brand’s impact on people’s lives.
This storytelling approach creates a deeper emotional connection with your audience. It helps humanize your brand and enrich your overall content strategy.
All these user-generated content marketing advantages can impact your performance and overall marketing strategy in many aspects.
As we’re on the subject, let’s analyze some powerful strategies you can apply to start building the UGC portfolio of your brand.
5 Strategies for a Successful UGC Campaign
User-generated content marketing must be strategically planned and executed to drive effective results for your brand trust, awareness, and ultimately sales.
So, here we’ve got some tips for you to plan and implement user-generated content campaigns wisely.
1- Find ALL user-generated content
In case your brand is around for some time now, chances are you already have some user-generated content published somewhere on social media platforms and the Internet. And this is the perfect starting point for your UGC marketing endeavors.
You should find every little piece of UGC out there featuring your brand and examine it closely. See what people love to share about your product or service and listen to their feedback.
One of the most interesting user-generated content statistics out there is that 56% of consumers say they want to see mostly user-generated photos and videos from brands. And that’s why they create the content they seek from them.
But you must be wondering now how to find all the user-generated content of your brand without spending precious time searching through social networks and scrolling endlessly.
This is where social media monitoring tools, like Mentionlytics, come to play. These tools can help you collect all the user-generated content available out there without much effort and give you clear performance metrics.
Find any piece of UGC for your brand with Mentionlytics.
We analyze how to use social media monitoring to launch user-generated content marketing campaigns in the next section of this article.
2- Create UGC-style ads
On the other hand, if your brand doesn’t have any user-generated content yet, because you’re now building brand awareness on social media, here’s something you can do: Create UGC-style ads.
Just to clarify things, user-generated content advertising isn’t considered as trustworthy as the original UGC which inspires authenticity.
However, it’s an appealing alternative for your social media ads that can differentiate your brand from others that follow traditional ad formats.
For example, UGC TikTok ads look native to that platform and blend nicely in your audience’s feed. That gives them a higher chance to be viewed by users.
3- Run a hashtag campaign on social media
A great approach to encourage users to create content featuring your brand is by running a hashtag campaign on social media.
It’s quite simple how to start a user-generated content hashtag campaign. The best way is to create a dedicated campaign hashtag, like the all-time classic #ShareACoke. Then, ask users to post their content using this hashtag.
For the record, 500K photos were posted on social media using this hashtag in the first year of this campaign. Also, Coca-Cola gained 25 million new Facebook followers. Is this success or what?
4- Interact with your community
Now, this is a strategy you should apply not only for your user-generated content marketing efforts but universally on social media: Interact with your brand community.
Whether it’s answering comments under your posts or — regarding UGC — commenting and thanking users for featuring and showcasing your brand. Interacting with your community will make your brand look human, approachable, and likable.
In addition, it’ll strengthen the bond between your brand and your community members. You can show your gratitude for people taking the time to advocate for your brand online.
Meanwhile, in case you get a UGC piece with a negative review, answering that bad feedback will reassure your audience that you pay attention to them. And that you’re doing the best for your customers.
5- Measure UGC’s performance
A crucial part of your user-generated content strategy is how you measure the success of it. So, you must keep track of your UGC performance metrics the same way you do for your brand’s original content.
We mean check out UGC’s engagement metrics, reach, sentiment, and others.
You can use Mentionlytics for this as well. After tracking down all your user-generated content, Mentionlytics analyzes it automatically and provides you with KPIs to see how well it performs.
That’s how you can gain insights, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your future campaigns.
So, these are 5 key strategies for UGC in marketing to spark excellent content from your customers.
If you want to learn a step-by-step process to launch incredible user-generated content campaigns, read along!
How to Launch UGC Marketing Campaigns?
You just reached our step-by-step guide on how to start UGC marketing campaigns with social listening.
Τhere are so many ways to launch a user-generated content campaign.
However, here we’ll show you how to use social listening platforms, like Mentionlytics, as user-generated content tools to come up with your campaign’s ideas and manage user-generated content effectively.
Step #1: Scan social media and the web for existing UGC
First, create an account in Mentionlytics and set it up with your brand name, hashtags, and important keywords to monitor.
The platform will start scanning all social media and the web for mentions of the given keywords. Whether it’s your brand name, branded hashtag, or an important keyword in your niche.
These mentions can also be user-generated content pieces, like videos and posts, or anything in the digital world.
After scanning, you’ll be able to see all user-generated content collectively in your dashboard.
Did you know you can use Mentionlytics for free? Sign up for a two weeks of free trial and enjoy the full features!
Step #2: Define your campaign’s idea
Browse this user-generated content and figure out what people love to share about your products and services.
Do some brainstorming based on what people are already sharing on social media for your brand. And see which user-generated content platform they prefer to share their content on.
Then, define your campaign’s idea based on this preexisting content.
A UGC campaign can be an Instagram contest, a giveaway, a shareable real-world experience, and anything.
The important thing is to ask for user-generated content which people may be intrigued to create and give something in return.
Clearly outline the guidelines and rules for participating in your UGC marketing campaign. Specify the content formats, submission methods, and any limitations. Share clear instructions and provide examples to inspire creativity.
A nice idea is to give a prize to encourage people to participate in your campaign. This can include discounts, exclusive offers, or even the opportunity to be featured by your brand. That will make your campaign more appealing.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to set specific goals for your campaign. That’s how you can compare the actual results with your objectives and define whether it was successful or not.
Step #3: Create social media buzz to promote your campaign
Activate your audience. Launch your user-generated content marketing campaign by announcing it across your social accounts, website, and other marketing channels.
Encourage your audience to create and share UGC with campaign-specific hashtags. Or by mentioning your brand and tagging it in their posts.
Create compelling, eye-catching promotional materials to spread the word. These include social posts, newsletters, website banners, videos, or even influencer collaborations.
Additionally, craft messaging that highlights the benefits of taking part in this campaign and creates a sense of excitement.
Step #4: Run your UGC marketing campaign
After your campaign will take off, make sure you actively engage with participants who contribute user-generated content.
Respond to their content by liking and commenting on their posts. Express gratitude for their participation.
You can leverage Mentionlytics to track down all new UGC and keep it organized. That way you can make sure no mention or comment goes unanswered. And you monitor your campaign’s performance continuously.
Encourage ongoing engagement throughout the campaign and show your brand’s human face.
Pro Tip: Use the best user-generated content to promote your brand. We’ll explain this in the next section of this article.
Step #5: Collect all UGC of your campaign
For this step, all you need is lay back and let Mentionlytics do the hard work for you.
From the very beginning, the platform will keep collecting and analyzing all user-generated content.
So, you just need to log into your Mentionlytics account, choose your campaign’s keyword trackers, and voilà! All your UGC is in one place, ready for your reports.
Step #6: Evaluate campaign performance
After having all user-generated content at hand, it’s time to evaluate the overall results of your campaign.
Track metrics such as:
- UGC submissions
- Engagement rate
- Reach and impressions
In Mentionlytics, you’ll find all these KPIs ready for you to read and analyze. You don’t have to bother with calculating and counting metrics.
Once the campaign concludes, evaluate its overall success and impact. Assess how well it aligned with your initial objectives and whether it generated the desired results.
Identify areas for improvement and apply those insights to future user-generated content campaigns.
That’s it! You’re ready to launch your UGC campaign. But before you go, take a look at the next section to see how to make the most of your brand’s user-generated content.
How to Use User-Generated Content
After you run your campaigns, the next step is how you can use it to get maximum results.
So, here are some ideas from us.
Share it through your brand’s official accounts
UGC marketing and social media go hand in hand. So, you should share the best user-generated content through your brand’s official social accounts to enrich your content and express gratitude toward the creator.
Mixing user-generated and official brand content increases engagement by 28%.
That way user-generated content can spare you time from creating, for example, new Instagram posts. Not to mention, it’ll diversify your social media content.
Incorporate it into your ads
Additionally, you should blend UGC into your ad campaigns, not only online but also in the physical world!
UGC-based ads have a 400% higher click-through rate than traditional ads.
For instance, you can use posts from users that praise your new products to create visuals for social media ads. Or you can use it even for billboards and out-of-home ads.
Post it on your website
Another effective way to leverage user-generated content is to include it in your website. That way people can see why your customers love your products and services and get triggered to buy.
You can create a UGC portfolio on your website for your prospects to have a look at. Or just incorporate it into your customer reviews and product page.
Use it for offline marketing materials
Blending UGC into your offline marketing materials, such as brochures and in-store posters provides social proof.
A good idea is to feature real customer quotes, images, or stories in your print marketing materials to build credibility.
Pro Tip: Remember to always ask for the creator’s permission to use their content. Then, if they agree, make sure you give credit and thank them kindly.
Despite the importance of user-generated content marketing to brand trust and new sales, a massive 93% of marketers aren’t maximizing it yet. Will you do the same mistake?
Say no! Get started with UGC marketing right away by following the strategies and processes we analyzed above. And pick Mentionlytics to help you deal with gathering and analyzing it. Give it a try now!
What’s UGC video meaning?
A UGC video is any kind of brand-specific video content created by a user who isn’t necessarily affiliated with the brand they created the video for. It can be anything from TikTok videos, to Instagram reels, or even a YouTube unboxing video.
Is UGC an affiliate marketing strategy?
User-generated content marketing and affiliate marketing are distinct strategies. However, they can work complementary by leveraging the trust and engagement fostered by user-generated content within affiliate promotions. UGC is created by users regardless of their affiliation with a brand. In contrast, affiliate marketing specifically focuses on partnerships with individuals or other companies that actively promote brands for a fee.
What is a UGC creator?
A UGC creator, also known as a user-generated content creator, is an individual who actively generates and shares brand-specific content on various platforms. They don’t have an as large following as micro-influencers. Their content appears authentic, although it’s staged to promote a specific brand.