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Everything to Know about User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) has reemerged as a buzz-worthy topic on social media recently — especially with the rise of UGC creators (more on that, later).

Creators aside, traditional UGC is still a killer asset for brands looking to grow and make sales online. Case in point: in a 2021 study, 80% of respondents said UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.

Why? Because UGC is the social media equivalent of a word-of-mouth recommendation.

But how can you leverage the power of UGC marketing? We're breaking down what it is, how to find great UGC, plus some tips to get you started.

What Is User-generated Content?

In a nutshell, user-generated content (UGC) is content created organically by a brand’s followers or consumers — which is then shared by the brand on its own accounts. This means no money is exchanged! It’s simply a genuine and honest recommendation system that brands are no doubt, huge fans of.

It can be as simple as someone tagging a product in an Instagram feed post, reviewing a brand on TikTok, or creating a Reel.

Types of User-generated Content

User-generated content can come in various shapes and forms, and will generally include:

  • Images (e.g. photos on Instagram)

  • Videos (e.g. TikTok or YouTube content)

  • Blog posts

  • Tweets

  • Testimonials and reviews

  • Case studies

What Is a User-generated Content Creator?

The difference between UGC and a UGC creator is simple: $$$. A user-generated creator is a content creator who specifically creates content that looks like UGC — but it's been paid for.

Unlike influencers who need to grow their community before they start working with brands, UGC creators don’t need tons of followers nor are they obligated to show their face.

6 User-generated Content Best Practices

To help you strategically think about UGC, we’ve outlined six tactics to serve your audience in the best possible way:

  1. Set Goals

  2. Credit the Source

  3. Strive for Authenticity

  4. Encourage Video

  5. Share a Variety of Users

  6. Make it Memorable

#1: Set Goals and Be Strategic

There’s no point in sharing UGC just for UGC’s sake — you need to be strategic and considerate with your UGC delivery.

Start by outlining your purpose — whether it’s being inspirational, showcasing how to use a product, sharing IRL reviews, or helping followers make informed purchasing decisions.

Once you have a clear idea of your UGC purpose, you can better cement your UGC goals.

#2: Credit the Original Source

Before you share your next piece of UGC, make sure you’re ticking all the required boxes.

Start by sending the creator a DM or message to ask if you can reshare their content — this goes a long way in building lasting relationships and a stronger community.

And according to a study, 72% of users are more than happy to accept a brand’s request to repurpose their content, so you’re most likely always going to get the green light.

From there, it’s best practice to credit the original source by tagging the creator and including their handle in your caption. This way, anyone looking at your post can easily visit the OG creator’s profile, too.

#3: Strive for Authenticity

Social authenticity is a growing trend online, and sharing honest user reviews through UGC will keep your brand ahead of the curve.

Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by a brand. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to strike a balance between your product shots and UGC.

This helps you sell in a less “salesy way” (especially for Millennials and GenZers) while encouraging a sense of community.

#4: Encourage Video-focused UGC

If a picture can tell a thousand words, a video is worth at least a million — making it a powerful UGC tool. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that video content typically performs best, garners the most engagement, and captures a user’s attention for longer.

The result? A chatty comments section and engagement galore!

#5: Share Content Created by a Variety of Users

Encouraging a diverse range of voices in your user-generated content makes your brand and products more relatable and accessible to a wider audience.

PSA: Showcasing diversity in UGC cannot be a token gesture, it needs to be embedded in your overall marketing strategy and company ethos.

#6: Make it Memorable, Entertaining, & Shareable

It goes without saying that UGC should be entertaining for your followers — and not all UGC has to be product-related either.

In fact, one of the biggest UGC trends we’ve spotted this year is reposting Reels to your Instagram feed!

And that’s it — you’re officially equipped with everything you need to understand user-generated content.

Whatever your social media goals, you can benefit from including UGC in your content strategy.

Whether you plan on sharing UGC to your Instagram feed or integrating product reviews into TikTok posts — sharing UGC is an effective marketing tactic. And with the right UGC strategy, you can boost sales, grow your online community, and build a level of trust far deeper than any paid marketing campaign.

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