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What is user-generated content and how can brands use it?

User-generated content is cheap, engaging, and might just help your brand increase its organic reach on social media. 

Filling out your content calendar can be challenging, even for the most experienced marketers among us. That’s just one of the reasons why so many brands leverage the power of user-generated content.  

Whether it’s someone uploading a simple photo of themselves using one of your products, or even a video review, user-generated content is all around us in the world of social media. 

Let’s take a closer look at what user-generated content is, when you should use it, and why it should be a part of your marketing strategy.

What is user-generated content?

If you have spent any time at all online, you’ve almost certainly seen the acronym UGC thrown around all over the web, and there’s a good reason for it.

But what is user-generated content? 

Put simply, user-generated content (UGC) is any form of content created by people, not brands. This content can include videos, photos, blogs, reviews, testimonials, and so much more. 

When should you use user-generated content?

We’d love to sit here and tell you to use user-generated content at any chance you get, but that’s simply not the case. As with anything you do on social media, UCG is all about balance. Use it when you need it. Use it when you have a reason to use it. Use it when it fits into your overall marketing strategy. 

People have grown tired of seeing over-the-top branded content on their news feeds. UGC brings authenticity to your brand. You have real fans using your product, creating authentic connections with your audience. Embrace them. 

Why should you use user-generated content?

Instead of asking why you should be using user-generated content, you should be asking yourself why aren’t we using user-generated content?

We all know that social media is all about paid content these days, with organic content struggling to break through on most platforms.

So why are so many brands implementing UGC into their social media strategies? Well, the reason is quite simple: trust. People trust other people’s recommendations more than anything else on social media. 

Don’t believe us? Here are some impossible-to-ignore stats about UGC that might just change your mind: 

  1. 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other advertising sources.
  2. 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. 
  3. Consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.

Your customers voluntarily create content for your product/service because they genuinely feel like it has brought some value to their lives. As long as the UGC being created shows your brand in a good light, you have nothing to lose by embracing the content your community is creating.

Additionally, UGC allows you to:

  • Save resources
  • Increase credibility
  • Improve SEO
  • Develop authentic relationships
  • Build relationships with customers
  • Celebrate fans
  • Drive revenue
  • Save time 

Examples of great user-generated content 

Out of all the social media platforms in the world right now, none seem to embrace UGC quite like TikTok.

Let’s take a look at some of the best UGC we’ve seen on TikTok so far. 

Crediting user-generated content

When using UGC, it’s important to remember that you are using another person’s work, so you need to ensure you always give credit where credit’s due.

Most people who create UGC for your brand will be happy with being tagged or shared on social media, but it’s always a good idea to reach out and ask for permission. 

How are you implementing user-generated content into your marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below?