User-generated content – for beginners and masters

Discover the impact of user-generated content on brands. Leverage authenticity for marketing success.
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Table of Contents

Learn how to leverage user-generated content for your digital marketing campaigns with this ultimate guide.

With brands constantly looking for new ways to stand out, businesses of all sizes are turning to user-generated content (UGC) to boost engagement, build brand loyalty, and drive sales by influencing the buying decisions of social media users. UCG reaches wider audiences than branded content and studies show that it gets up to 50% more attention and leads to a 29% increase in web conversions.

What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?

User-generated content is the term used to describe any content, i.e. text, images, videos, reviews, testimonials, etc, that’s created and shared by customers and individuals rather than brands themselves. It’s an essential element of social media and content marketing, as it provides authentic and relatable content that resonates with audiences. It can come from various sources, including customers, brand loyalists, employees, and UGC creators paid by brands to emulate authentic content.

Difference between UGC and IGC (influencer-generated content)

User-generated content (UGC) and influencer-generated content (IGC) are both powerful and effective marketing tools that can help businesses reach their target audience. But they do differ slightly in how they’re delivered.

As we’ve shared throughout this article, UGC is content created by customers, employees and other people who want to talk about a product or brand, usually without any financial compensation. UGC is highly valued by businesses because it’s perceived by consumers as authentic and trustworthy. When customers see other people using and loving a brand’s products or services, it builds trust and makes them more likely to do the same.

IGC on the other hand is content created by influencers who are paid by brands to promote their products or services. Influencers typically have an engaged following on social media, which gives brands the opportunity to reach a ready-to-buy audience with their campaigns.

Both UGC and IGC can be used to build brand awareness, drive traffic to websites, generate leads, and boost sales. But they can also be used to achieve other marketing goals like educating customers, building relationships, and creating a sense of community around a brand.

 User-Generated Content Types

UGC isn’t just adaptable in terms of who can create it, but also in the type of content that they can make. Here are just some of the ways that UGC content can be created:

  • Images – sharing photos using or enjoying products to help other potential customers visualise how they might use the product themselves
  • Unboxing videos – creating videos opening and trying out new products as a more in-depth and informative way to showcase a product
  • Product review videos – creating videos to share their thoughts and experiences with products
  • Live streams – streaming live video of themselves using or enjoying products which is a great way to answer questions in the moment
  • Social media content – posts can include reviews, testimonials or answering questions about a product
  • Hashtags – UGC creators can use hashtags to build momentum and help brands track content being shared about their products
  • Product reviews and testimonials – leaving product reviews on websites or third-party review sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor
  • Blog posts – reviews and tutorials posted by bloggers that can be linked to by the brand in their marketing content
  • Q&A forums – public forums where people share their thoughts about products and brands
user generated content stats infographic

User-generated content statistics

Now of course we’re pro UGC content because we see firsthand how influencer UGC campaigns delivered through Vamp can drive business growth. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some statistics that highlight just how effective UGC is in modern marketing strategies:

  • 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know
  • 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support
  • Brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to a mixture of professional marketing content and user-generated content
  • UGC-based ads get 4x higher click-through rates
  • 70% of consumers will consider UGC reviews or ratings before making a purchasing decision

Benefits of User-Generated Content

The benefits of User-generated content include:

Authenticity –  UGC brings authenticity to your brand by showcasing real experiences and opinions of customers, building trust among potential buyers

Brand loyalty and community building –  encouraging customers to participate in creating content fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty to your brand. This in turn leads to a strong and engaged community

Trust signal –  consumers are more likely to trust UGC created by fellow customers than content produced by brands, making it a powerful trust-building tool

Influence on purchasing decisions –  UGC acts as social proof, influencing consumers’ purchasing decisions by showcasing real people using and enjoying your products

Cost effectiveness –  UGC is more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods or influencer campaigns as it leverages existing customers to create content

Flexibility –  UGC can be used across various marketing channels, including social media, email, landing pages, and more, making it a versatile component of your marketing strategy

SEO boost –  as part of your UCG strategy, positive customer reviews and surveys enhance a brand’s search engine optimization (SEO) by generating backlinks to product websites, improving keyword optimization, and increasing website traffic

Engaging community –  UGC provides an opportunity for healthy discussions and interactions between brands and customers, fostering a sense of community 

User-generated content marketing – how to integrate It into your strategy

In order to implement UCG into your digital marketing campaign, you should do the following:

  • Set clear goals –   define your marketing goals and align your UGC campaign with them. Whether it’s brand awareness, increased conversions, or community building, understanding your objectives will guide your UGC strategy
  • Request permission and give credit –  always ask for permission before using UGC and give proper credit to the original creators when sharing their content on your channels
  • Be specific – provide clear guidelines and instructions to users on the type of content you are looking for. It will lead to more relevant UGC that fits your brand vision
  • Utilize UCG tools –  invest in UGC management platforms like TINT, Hootsuite Streams, or Chute to uncover relevant content and insights for your campaigns

How to encourage UGC 

To really feel the benefits of UGC, brands need to think strategically about how they can encourage users to create product-focused content for them. Here are a few popular ways to do so:

  • Offer incentives – encourage customers to leave reviews and share photos and videos of products by offering incentives, like coupons, reward points, or prizes
  • Run hashtag contests – create unique and memorable hashtags for contests that encourage followers to share content related to the brand
  • Gamify UGC – make UGC more fun and engaging for customers by gamifying it and awarding badges or points for sharing a photo or writing a review
  • Share UGC videos – use UGC videos to show real people using and enjoying the products

Using UCG on TikTok

UCG dominates TikTok where it performs 22% better than regular ads.

If you can build a network of trusted UCG creators on TikTok, you can repurpose the content for YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about digital marketing on TikTok, check out our simple guide along with our article on everything you’ll ever need to know about the platform. We’ve also got a handy guide on how to avoid TikTok trolls and another to understand the TikTok algorithm.

User-Generated Content examples – brands doing it well

Want to know what great UCG content looks like? Here are some brands who have smashed it.

GoPro –  the action camera brand GoPro sustains its YouTube channel primarily through UGC with top-performing videos created by customers, garnering millions of views.

LuluLemon  the Canadian athleisure brand LuluLemon encouraged followers to share photos of themselves using the #thesweatlife hashtag, expanding their brand reach and awareness.

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Coca-Cola’s share a Coke campaign –  Coca-Cola produced bottles with names on the front and urged customers to share pictures of their personalised drinks on social media. They kicked it off by giving out free samples in cities across the world which prompted a slew of UCG which then snowballed into the #ShareaCoke viral sensation. The brand claim it boosted US sales by 2%.

Belkin Lego iPhone cases  Belkin partnered with Lego to inspire customers to create cases for their iPhones using Lego pieces, sharing photos on Instagram with the hashtag #LEGOxBelkin

Copa90 soccer media company Copa90 leveraged UGC on Snapchat during the 2018 FIFA World Cup to connect with younger fans and drive traffic to other channels.

How Influencers Help Your UGC Strategy

Influencers can play a vital role in amplifying your UGC strategy. By collaborating with influencers, brands can reach a broader audience, gain exposure to new markets, and enhance the credibility of their UGC campaigns. Influencers act as a bridge between brands and their audience, making UGC more relatable and engaging.

To learn more, take a look at our guide to TikTok influencer marketing.

Get Started with Vamp

Ready to leverage the power of user-generated content for your brand? Sign up for Vamp’s influencer marketing platform, where you can source and work with creators to generate compelling UGC for your campaigns. With Vamp’s tools and partnerships with major social media platforms like TikTok, you can streamline your content creation process and maximise your marketing efforts. There’s a pricing band to suit businesses of all sizes. Let Vamp to take your brand to new heights in the digital landscape.

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