• Gabrielle Woolley

The Basics of User-Generated Content

User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like it is: content created by consumers, not by brands.

For marketers, UGC is pretty cool. Their audience is essentially doing their work for them. Better yet, the content is authentic, credible, and free.

If your brand is on social media and not sourcing UGC, you're doing it wrong. It'll take your social media game to the next level and allow for more brand-consumer interaction.

Getting to Know UGC

UGC refers to photos, Tweets, blog posts, videos - basically any digital content that gives hype to a brand or a new product. It's the most trusted form of marketing by millennial audiences, which makes sense. UGC gives realistic, relatable portrayals of products and services.

Instead of marketing with paid-for models, sets, or services, brands can take advantage of how social media connects them to the people who are actually using their products.

Social media platforms facilitate close brand-consumer relationships that allow for a creative, interactive UGC process.

Brands Who Thrive on UGC

The bedding and home decor brand, Parachute, has an incredibly aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed curated almost entirely by UGC.

Check out this picture they sourced from someone who bought one of their quilts. Followers can see what the quilt will look like in a real, lived-in space instead of a carefully created set or studio. It's authentic, making the product more accessible to customers.

Do you see their cute shout out in the caption to the user who took this photo? By using UGC, Parachute home can interact with followers in a fun way. This gives the brand personality and allows them to be friendly, creating a stronger relationship with customers. Three emoji hearts is a lot of brand love.

Another brand killing it with the UGC is the skincare brand Summer Fridays.

The models on their feed are truly radiant and will definitely make followers wonder what magical, glow-inducing ingredients are in their face products. However, they also source a ton of UGC.

In this post, a Summer Fridays customer shows off the jet lag mask in a very candid, less filtered moment of use. She's not a fancy model, her hair is up in a towel, and she's wearing a bathrobe instead of a carefully planned outfit. It's authentic and extremely relatable.

By using UGC, these brands not only show-off their products in a realistic, relatable way, but also connect with their followers. It creates a collaboration between the brand and consumer - it's a connection of shared love for the product. This authenticity unique to UGC makes it more trustworthy and reliable content.

As millennial and Gen-Z marketing audiences become more interested in brands they feel like they can connect with and trust, UGC is a great way for brands to show how relatable they are.

Get that Content

With the right social media strategies, sourcing UGC can be simple and fun. It's collaborative and allows for a lot of creativity. Here are some tips for getting started on the UGC journey.

  • Create a brand hashtag. Plan a hashtag that people can tag in photos relating to the brand so that it's easier to track and see content.

  • Engage with influencers. Social media influencers are the ideal people for brand-hype and a great first step to getting quality content from users.

  • Run a photo submission, content, or challenge campaign. If people have an exciting incentive to post brand-related photos, they're definitely going to put out some quality content. Check out this list of some successful campaigns for inspo.

  • Just ask! Why not be up-front and ask followers to send content? It's certainly the most efficient way to source UGC.

If your brand is on social media, you should start exploring UGC to get even more brand exposure and relevance on your platforms.

User generated content is the way of the social media marketing future. It's a reliable and fun way for brands to engage and be more authentic with followers. Curious to learn how to get the most out of your social media platforms? Check out our article on more Instagram strategies here.

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