In the digital marketing world, user-generated content is a hot topic. Not only does it give you the chance to collect content from a variety of different users, but it also makes your products a little bit more relatable to mass audiences. 

There are plenty of ways in which a brand can get user-generated content, but not all of them are effective. As with anything, there are best practices to follow to ensure you get the results you’re looking for. 

In this post, you’ll learn all about the different types of user-generated content, as well as how it can benefit your business when used in a creative campaign that suits your brand. 

1. How does user-generated content work for brands? 

User-generated content (UGC) is a challenging but hugely rewarding tactic for both small and large businesses. It can help boost engagement with your customers and make them feel like an integral part of the brand. 

Consumers are keen to share their experiences of the products and services they use, and most people choose to do this through visual content. By collecting UGC, you have the chance to display your brand authentically and tap into new audiences. 

UGC can lead to customers spending more time on your page, reduced bounce rates, and higher conversion rates. Not to mention increased social shares – giving your brand the chance to become viral. 

While many businesses focus on UGC for social media, it can also be handy for website and blog content. These consumer-created images are perfect for adding to your product pages rather than only ever using stock photography. 

2. Why you should use user-generated content

Collecting UGC can save you a lot of time. Rather than schedule photoshops for your products or writing up blogs, you use content created by others. That also means you can spend less time on your creating a content strategy as a whole. 

UGC helps you to create sentiment behind your products, making it a potent tool for advertising. It adds a genuine and achievable feeling to your brand by using content from those already invested in your business. 

It also inspires your customers to get involved – meaning you can create new, improved products or services while they feel like they’re making a difference. 

With digital asset management, brands can manage UGC campaigns incredibly easily. You will also have the chance to run reports, monitor reviews, and gain critical insights into how your products are used. If you want to get started with digital asset management, check out this guide

Another benefit of UGC is that it can go viral pretty fast. Making viral content is a crucial focus for marketing teams, as it allows you to reach as many people as possible in as little time as possible. 

As user-generated content can reach mass followings, it is often a much quicker way to get your message out there than traditional advertising techniques. 

3. User-generated content: How to get started

a. Start small 

UGC can work for small and large campaigns, so you don’t need to overwhelm yourself if you’re starting. 

The key is consistency. If you’re a small business, try to collect and publish one piece of UGC a month. Once you gain a little more traction, you can up the quantity. 

b. Make your requests logical.

Users can only create relevant content if they ask.

If you’re looking for a visual review video to post on your socials but don’t provide requirements, the user may send a written review instead. Be clear in your guidelines and requests so that you can gain exactly the type of content you’re looking for. 

c. Integrate UGC into your overall marketing strategy

UGC is only one piece of the puzzle. To make it as successful as possible, you need to incorporate it into your larger marketing strategy. Committing to a consistent stream of user-generated content helps your customers build trust with your brand

Asking your customers for visuals, written testimonials, and videos helps keep your finger on the pulse regarding what they think of your products while also giving you fresh and engaging content. 

d. Choose the right users.

Not every customer is going to offer high-quality content that you can use for your brand. You first need to scope out the correct type of user for your campaign. 

Once you’ve got more of an idea as to who you’d like to use and what you’d like them to do, you’ll be able to create guidelines that work for both you and their audiences. 

4. The best user-generated content strategies to try

If you’re looking for business growth (and really, who isn’t?), the best way to get UGC and customer engagement is through a contest. You’ll need some enticing prizes to compel users to enter. It’s a good idea to create a mixture of rewards from your product line and generally aspirational items like an iPhone or an experience voucher. 

Another strategy is to promote your customers on your social channels. Everyone loves to take snaps with their new clothes, accessory, or gadget. All you have to do is promote these pictures on your socials.

This is a crucial part of influencer marketing. A user will present a product to their following and give their honest opinions about it – all tied in with a high-quality visual asset.

This can be a great tactic if a user’s current audience isn’t affiliated with your brand. Those engaging with the content with likes, shares, and comments are more likely to tap through and take a look at your business. 

A final option is to create a survey that can be given to consumers. The data from their answers can then be used to create content that appeals to these audiences. 

Final thoughts

There are so many reasons to use UGC as a business. Not only does it give your customers a chance to have their say, but it also can be a cost-effective way to get beautiful content to promote your brand. It helps with engagement and conversion, meaning it’s a real win-win marketing strategy.