User-generated content (UGC) has become a critical part of digital marketing strategies today. UGC refers to any form of content created by unpaid contributors, including social media posts, reviews, images, videos, and more. With proper utilization, UGC can provide businesses with credibility, customer insights, brand advocates and valuable organic marketing. Here’s how to effectively leverage the power of user-generated content.
Table of Contents
Why UGC Matters
UGC has grown rapidly in influence in recent years. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other buyers over branded content. In fact, over 50% of people trust UGC more than other information on a company website. UGC’s authenticity gives it high value for modern consumers.
This makes UGC an extremely effective marketing tool. Displaying user reviews, social posts and other UGC signals social proof of quality to potential buyers. It builds credibility and trust.
UGC also costs little compared to generating original content. It provides free high-quality marketing materials from engaged customers. Furthermore, UGC contains valuable insights into consumer preferences and interests. It serves as a form of free, ongoing market research.
Key Types of UGC
UGC takes many forms, including:
- Product reviews and ratings
- Social media posts with images, video and text
- Customer case studies and testimonials
- User-submitted FAQs and forums
- Blog comments
- Podcast reviews and reactions
- Crowdsourced content projects like wikis
The most effective types provide useful information to potential customers while showcasing authentic experiences. Review sites, forums and social media are especially influential channels.
Best Practices for Utilizing UGC
Here are some tips for harnessing UGC as part of your marketing strategy:
- Make it easy for customers to submit UGC through review forms, social media and other channels. Ask for reviews, images and content at key touchpoints. Use text moderation to filter out inappropriate language or content. Text moderation is a method of using AI technology to detect and remove profanity or offensive content. This helps maintain the quality and brand integrity of the UGC being shared.
- Moderate UGC to remove inappropriate or promotional content. Maintaining quality and relevance is important.
- Obtain creator consent to reuse UGC in your own marketing materials. Give them credit as well.
- Share UGC far and wide on your website, social platforms, ads and email marketing. The broader the reach, the better.
- Curate and feature quality UGC prominently across landing pages, product pages, and anywhere credibility matters.
- Encourage UGC with giveaways, rewards and by recognizing contributors publicly. Gamification drives participation.
- Analyze UGC for sentiment, keywords, and insights to guide marketing and product decisions.
To maximize impact, UGC should be distributed across as many channels as possible. Some ways to expand UGC reach include:
- Showcasing curated UGC on website pages like testimonials sections or reviews areas.
- Sharing positive reviews, reactions and images from social media on your own social channels.
- Embedding UGC like video reviews or testimonials in blog posts and articles.
- Including UGC excerpts and quotes in email newsletters and promotions.
- Featuring UGC in ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- Repurposing UGC for use in presentations, sales materials, and external communications.
The broader the distribution, the greater the influence on consumer decision making.
User generated content should be a core component of modern digital marketing. With proper curation and distribution, UGC can convey social proof, improve SEO, provide market insights, attract brand advocates and much more. To harness its power, make UGC submission easy, moderate carefully, obtain rights, and share it far and wide. With an effective UGC strategy, any brand can leverage authentic customer voices for marketing success.
I’m a writer, artist, and designer working in the gaming and tech industries. I have held staff and freelance positions at large publications including Digital Trends, Lifehacker, Popular Science Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, The Xplore Tech, and others, primarily covering gaming criticism, A/V and mobile tech reviews, and data security advocacy.