User-generated content (UGC) is brand-based content that’s created or shared by your loyal customers. UGC is often compared to sponsored posts, as examples require the user to share their opinions, ideas, experiences, or feedback, except users aren’t paid to create UGC.

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Why Brands Need to Post or Share User-Generated Content

The perfect website or social media profile requires a balance between content, design, and functionality. UGC is an important part of this equation for the following impactful reasons.

Improved Reach, Exposure, and Engagement

When users use campaign-focused hashtags, logos, and colors in their content, they’re able to amplify your brand’s reach. When someone you trust uses or promotes a product, you’re more likely to use it or engage with the post, meaning more people will be exposed to your brand.

Access to an Unlimited Flow of Content

UGC is free, consistently produced content that can keep your marketing campaigns alive for much longer. Plus, you’ll gain access to various forms of user-generated content, such as videos produced via a video platform or voice clips that feature short-form product reviews.

Increases Social Proof and Brand Advocacy

Social proof can’t be manufactured because it’s reliant on how your customers perceive your brand. However, UGC can make your brand look more trustworthy, reliable, and authentic, as it doesn’t involve self-promotion or paid brand advocacy. Thus, UGC builds organic social proof.

Attracts a Loyal Customer/Fan Community 

It can be difficult to build a loyal following, especially with young consumers. But, UGC can bring like-minded people together because it builds an emotional connection with your audience. These communities can increase your traffic, brand advocacy, desirability, and bottom line.

How to Encourage User-Generated Content on Social Media

According to Adweek, 85% of users find user-generated content more persuasive than brand photos, posts, or videos, but how do you encourage users to create it? 

Let’s take a look.

Create a Share-Worthy Campaign

Your followers won’t talk about your brand on social media unless you give them a reason to do so. For example, Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign was successful because users would post a photo of their name on a Coke bottle. Then, they would tag their friends to do the same.

Run Contests and Offer Rewards

Contests are the perfect way to encourage UGC because you’re asking fans to create great-looking content quickly. However, if you’re able to offer a reward, such as the chance to be featured on the homepage of your website, you could receive thousands of quality responses.

Ask Your Audience Questions

Simply asking your audience a question can encourage fans to create content as long as it’s relevant to your brand. For example, Barnes & Noble could ask their followers about their favorite books. Be sure to consider the potential negatives of any question, or it could turn ugly.

Leverage the Power of Hashtags

Content consumers will often look up keywords to interact with the type of content they want to consume. Hashtags, when used strategically, can increase your content reach by distributing it across the internet. If your hashtag is popular enough, other people will use it for their UGC.

Ask Creators and Give Shoutouts

Always ask UGC creators before sharing their content or giving them a shoutout. While some people appreciate the free publicity, others won’t. Taking that extra step will help you build your reputation as a caring company, which encourages other creators to post their own content.

In Conclusion…

User-generated content can improve your brand’s reach, give you access to an unlimited flow of content, and garner social proof. However, you must encourage your fans to create UGC if you want to post it. You can do this by using hashtags, asking questions, and running contests.