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What is User-Generated Content (UGC) and Why You Should Use It

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

User-generated content is one of the newest social media trends popping up. More and more brands are starting to incorporate user-generated content into their branding. But what is user-generated content? “User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands.” UGC is a vital tool to utilize because it connects with consumers in a way brand created content sometimes doesn’t. Today brands have to work hard to be noticed against their competitors and UGC is proving to be a great tool to help them stand out.

That brings us to the question of why UGC is important to use for your business. Most brands have established followings and don’t see the need to change tactics now. However, UGC is a powerful engagement tool. To get UGC you have to connect and interact with your followers who are posting the content. The State of User-Generated Content found 72% of consumers think customer testimonials are more credible than testimonials coming from the brand. People are more likely to follow a brand or buy their products if they can relate to the content because it establishes trust between the brand and the consumer.

UGC can also establish brand loyalty “64% of consumers are more likely to post about a brand that re-shares content by its audience” because it establishes a sense of community. Consumers like it when their content or other similar people’s content is shared and re-shared by the brand.

When using UGC, always make sure you ask the creator permission before using their content. UGC does establish trust and loyalty, but only when done correctly. Too many big brands are stealing content without giving proper credit which sheds a bad light on the brand. Also, make sure to do a little research before taking the content. Some creators could represent things that won’t reflect your brand well or contradict your core messaging, so always protect the overall brand image.

An important thing to note is UGC and sponsored posts are not the same. A sponsored post is when the brand sends a product or pays the person to post a review. While UGC is honest reviews of the product with no brand incentive. Many brands that use influencers will have sponsored posts or gather content from the influencers themselves, but since they paid for the content in some way it’s not considered UGC.

How does a brand get UGC? The easiest way to acquire UGC is to ask for it. The consumers wouldn’t post about the brand if they didn’t want it to be shared so sending a simple dm asking permission to repost their content will usually be successful. As a brand, you also need to be clear about the content you want to share. Once consumers know what type of content gets shared they’ll be more inclined to create that type of content. When selecting UGC make sure the content follows the social strategy set in place. UGC won’t be any help with increasing engagement to your social accounts if it doesn’t fit with your brand and the content already posted.

Another way brands obtain UGC is by creating shareable experiences. This includes competitions, storefronts, pop-ups, etc. Anything that will create buzz and excitement around your brand or product. If people are excited by the experience they will share pictures, videos, etc which are great marketing tools for your brand to use!

As always, make sure you understand what content will perform best on which platform. A picture may be best on an email thread or as an Instagram post while a video will probably perform best on Tik Tok. Tailoring the UGC you acquire to the platform your target audience frequents will show the best results.

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