What is User-Generated Content?

User-Generated Content, also known as UGC or consumer-generated content, is defined as any content related to your brand, posted to social media by an unofficial representative of your business. 

This will be original content, created by a customer. The content types can vary however, it mainly focuses on promoting, reviewing, or providing a testimonial for a product or service that your business provides. 

Many users on social media today like to hear personal reviews and opinions about products or services before buying them. Also, this can bring your brand down to Earth and allow for different audiences to become aware of your business. But, you may be wondering, how does UGC marketing work and should my brand partake in this? Keep reading to figure it out. 

The Value of UGC Marketing 

Since UGC content comes from an unaffiliated individual, you may be wondering, how does this work? Well let me tell you, it’s very different from normal marketing collaborations and content. In fact, UGC content is much different from sponsored content. 

UGC is a two-way street, allowing both the brand and fan to increase awareness, stay engaged and create relationships. These unpaid, unsponsored posts, allow any fan to join in and rave about your brand. UGC also creates an authentic buying experience and an unfiltered way to go about promoting your products. 

Let’s be honest, not everyone trusts marketers and is often skeptical about whether to trust them or not. So, this is where user-generated content comes in, allowing users to become more confident in your brand. But this doesn’t happen overnight and of course, not without a clear strategy and social media marketing strategy.

How to Create a UGC Strategy

Before diving into connecting with fans and users for content, there are some essential steps your brand needs to take to build a UGC strategy, and the general rule of thumb when stepping into the user-generated content world. 

Step 1: Choose the UGC platform 

It’s important to choose the right platform for both you and your audience before jumping into your UGC campaign. If you are aiming for a social media platform, note that each network is different and differs in terms of audience and content types. 

Say if you want to post high-resolution images or short videos, then Instagram may be your go-to. However, if you are looking for a review, tutorial, or behind-the-scenes, then maybe TikTok is best. If you want to know the general guidelines for which content to post for each social network here is a scope: 

  • Instagram: high-quality images and videos.  
  • Facebook: videos, links, events 
  • Twitter: links, gifs, videos, photos, memes, news
  • TikTok: informational, trends, story-telling, engaging 
  • LinkedIn: jobs, professional links, business/company news
  • Pinterest: infographics, step-by-step guides, photos, short-form tutorial videos

But, we won’t tell you what to do because, at the end of the day, you know your audience best. Go with the platform you feel most confident and comfortable in for this type of campaign. 

Step 2: Define your campaign objectives 

After choosing the platform, this is where you want to create objectives and goals for the campaign. These can be similar to objectives you’ve created for past campaigns, but you want to ensure that there are specifics underneath the overall objective. 

Here are some common campaign objectives: 

  • Increase brand awareness: social media is a major source for users to become aware of your brand and understand what it is that you do. UGC can help with this by allowing new communities to see your brand and become aware of who you are. 
  • Increase sales: if you are looking to increase sales, you’re in luck, because paying directly through social media is easier now than ever before. Utilize UGC to reveal new products, provide information about the product and conduct a review or tutorial. 
  • Increasing brand engagement: when it comes to being active on social media, staying connected with your audience is harder than it looks. User-generated content is a great way to gain new followers, likes, and mentions. Just make sure that you stay consistent with communicating to your audience in order to achieve this goal. 
  • Building trust amongst users: As mentioned earlier, it can be hard for users to trust brands, especially when it comes to selling a product or service. Therefore, having organic content from UGC, will help build credibility with consumers. 

Step 3: Ask for what you want 

Here comes the fun part, when you actually get to reach out to your audience and ask for content that you can share! This is where you activate that creativity and create a stream-lined message for the campaign. This can be through asking users to respond by using a hashtag, participating in a social media contest or submitting images or videos. Whatever route you choose, make sure it is on-brand and creative. 

Try incentivizing it, through an award, gift card, free trial, mention on their page, a “takeover”, etc. so users are more interested to participate. Also, look back at your objective and ensure that everything lines up to set your brand up for success. 

Step 4: Stay engaged during the campaign 

The most important part about this campaign is staying engaged with your audience while it’s going on, and when you decide which submissions to go with. This can mean thanking users for their participation, congratulating winners, crediting authors, and requesting permission for content. 

Being consistent on social media during this time will show users that you are engaged and committed. Create a story with your campaign and stay authentic to your audience.

Step 5: Measure your campaign results 

This is essential for measuring how well your campaign did, what did well, and what you can change for next time. With Metricool, you can use our Analytics feature to measure your accounts with in-depth metrics. With these numbers and summaries, you can use these to always improve your strategy and continue to grow. 

Now that you know all about user-generated content, how it works, how to create a UGC content strategy, and best practices for these organic collaborations. Consumers are attracted to real people. Your fans will help tell your story if you let them. 

Have you tried UGC yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Anniston Ward Anniston Ward , 19 January 2023

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