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How to Create User Generated Content (UGC)

As a business when you are posting user-generated content it’s important to understand the audience’s needs from their perspective. The key is to connect with them with the content that’s being published. An audience values content that is relevant to them, engages with storytelling and posting
Parker Dietz
June 7, 2021
April 11, 2024

As a business when you are posting user-generated content it’s important to understand the audience’s needs from their perspective. The key is to connect with them with the content that’s being published. An audience values content that is relevant to them, engages with storytelling and posting things that would trigger a response. You can post a mix of brand-generated content as well as user-generated content so you are not relying on one source. If this is new it can be overwhelming how to approach user-generated content. Cohley is here to help you understand how to create user-generated content with examples to leverage it for your business. 

What is user generated content? 

User-generated content is content created by people instead of the business. Types of content people make include: videos, pictures, testimonials and more. Even though brands aren’t creating this content, it’s often used and shared on a variety of marketing channels. A great way to encourage followers to create content is through a branded hashtag, tagging the brand, submitting their story on your website and a specific campaign. These different mediums will provide your brand with content you can repurpose and post on different platforms. Three things user generated content can do for your business is: it provides authentic content, can help build up trust and increase sales. 

Provides authentic content 

People love user-generated content because it’s authentic and coming from customers, not the brand. There’s a disconnect between what brands are creating and how they think it resonates vs user-generated content. 92% of marketers believe that the content they are publishing connects with their audience. On the flip-side 51% of customers said that less than half the content they are seeing from brands feels authentic. Most brands generated content is not resonating with the audience and may be too sales heavy. Not only are customers reacting better to content from other followers and customers. They are 2.4 times more likely to see user-generated content as a piece of marketing material that is authentic vs branded content. As a brand you should encourage your audience to create content for you. Customers and potential customers are engaging better with user-generated content because it feels authentic which is important for your business. 

It can help build up trust

The internet and social media is at your fingertips and that is affecting people’s trust about brands and businesses. A Nielsen study found that worldwide 70% of people trust the opinions of other customers online. This could be in multiple mediums, but people are paying attention to what others are saying on the internet. Online reviews and recommendations of a product help build up trust and credibility for your business. Whether it’s an influencer making a video trying out a new line of products or a mom writing how your product made their life easier that builds up your brand image. Customers are engaging people and showing support ensuring other people that your product or service is great. People will be saying similar things about your brand and that continues to build trust.

Increase sales 

By letting your customers help create content it will result in an increase of sales. But how much does user-generated content affect sales or people’s perception of a product? To put it into perspective almost 80% of people said that it’s a big factor in their decision to purchase a product or not. In contrast the same people said that only 13% of content from a brand is impactful to them. This emphasizes the extent to how much power user-generated content truly has for a customer's purchasing power. As a result of incorporating a mix of customer and branded content in your marketing sales will be positively affected. 

User-generated content examples

Now that you know what user-generated content is, how can you motivate customers to make content for you? It needs to align with your marketing strategy and be treated like another campaign you’re running regardless of the medium. Here are a few recommendations you can make as a brand to encourage user-generated content. 

Contests

Contests are a great way to have something that aligns with your strategy and brand while being fun. Ipsos found that 52% of customers say that contests help motivate them to build a connection to the brand. They are meant to create social sharing, reach a new group of people, get people excited, build relationships and encourage user-generated content. Have a strategy and plan about who you want to target for the contest. Understanding your audience will help your brand reach the right people and increase engagement with the right people. For example, your brand can do a contest on Instagram and the giveaway could include people creating videos, writing about the product or sending in photos in order to have a chance to win.

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A great example of a successful contest was #GoproMillionDollarChallenge where their customers would film the commercial for their #GoProHERO7. People submitted videos around the world and it helped people connect with a brand. Not only did people have to own a HERO 7 Black which is making money for GoPro, but they were creating free content for them. Lots of user-generated content was created and someone won a million dollars as a result! While a smaller brand won’t have the budget to do something this big you can create a content to engage your audience. 

Customer Reviews 

Reviews are a helpful resource that comes from the customer, not the business that can be a motivation to purchase a product. One time or another you probably have bought a product when you’ve seen a positive review. Whether it’s a review for a restaurant, product online, service or a new movie that came this form of user-generated content can push a sale to happen. 

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The picture from an Etsy listing above is from BlissfulBohoDesigns that has positive reviews and multiple photos from happy customers. Photos in reviews help even more to confirm that the photo of the listing is what the product really looks like. 

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Customer reviews can come in multiple formats like a tweet! In the picture above, Shuan T wrote a positive tweet with their experience with American Airlines with several hashtags to catch their attention. Your brand should respond to reviews and acknowledge your customers on multiple formats. Something small like this can help create a positive brand association and have customers feel more connected to the brand. 

Read about other assets you can create and use in UGC marketing.

Share Testimonials from your customers

After a customer buys a product, their story with the brand can continue through testimonials. Stories are a great way to have customers share how a product has impacted their life. Testimonials are a form of user-generated content that you can add to your website to highlight the great things people are saying about your brand. This creates more trust between the customers and brand as well as encourages others to share their story.

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BioClarity is a plant-based and cruelty-free skincare line. The brand emphasizes creating real results and they share images online. They created a proven-results section on their website with testimonials picture above along with data and reviews. Pictures and written testimonials are a great mix to back up the brand’s statements and create more trust. 

See more brands using UGC here!

How to leverage user-generated content

Your customers are making content showing off your product and raving about the services you offer. Use the content they are posting by highlighting it on multiple marketing mediums and credit the creator. You can encourage people to create content for you by creating a hashtag campaign, reposting photos from your audience and utilizing TikTok. 

Create a hashtag campaign 

A hashtag campaign promotes your followers to share images of them holding or using your product. It’s a great way to see how people incorporate your brand in their life. Ask users to submit content through a branded hashtag so you can easily track photos. This will be a long-term way to engage with people. Another way you can create a hashtag campaign is through a contest or giveaway. If you want user-generated content on a specific line of products that came out that’s a successful way to engage people. This is another method that’s easy to track photos and videos for a short-term campaign. 

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Apple is a successful brand incorporating hashtag campaigns. One of their most popular ones is #ShotoniPhone where people all over the world share their high quality photos and memories they’ve created with the brand. It reinforces their camera quality in their phones while sharing cute photos from their customers. 

Repost your audience’s photos 

Social media is a platform where people share their life as well as experience with products. Customers tag companies in this photo and caption to catch their attention. When people are showing off a product online and reviewing the product, that's something your brand can repost on your feed. The user-generator content is rewarded through likes, comments and followers if they get reposted. Showing off the product creates more trust and authenticity that can motivate someone to purchase. Encourage user-generated content so you can show off real people who love your products!

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Burt's Bees does a good job reposting it’s customers and utilizing user-generated content on their feed. They find a balance between branded content they make themselves and reposting a diverse group of customers. The company not only posted the photo, but talked about the product and inserted a short testimonial. This is a great way to leverage user-generated content that any brand can do.

Read all about the myths of UGC!

Utilize TikTok 

TikTok is a great platform where anyone can be a creator and make user-generated content for a business. The main focus of the app is user-generated content and targeting content they’ll engage with on their for you page. No matter what product they are sharing they love or reviewing it’s helping the content creator and business. As a result the creator is gaining likes, followers and comments on the app while the business is getting earned media. The content is authentic and people purchase products as a result. If your target audience is Gen Z you need to get on TikTok to engage with customers and repost content. Gen Z makes up 41% of the users and invests a lot of their time on this app. Products sell out overnight due to raving reviews and recommendations on TikTok thanks for user-generated content. There’s a hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt and people try the product for themselves to see if it’s worth the hype. The app will continue to elevate your brand and create sales. 

Read more about high quality UGC partners.

Mikayla Nogueira, a famous beauty influencer, stitched a TikTok on a KVD foundation she reviewed. The internet immediately sold the product out seeing how full-coverage and high quality the product was. KVD was a brand that used to be a top in the beauty industry, but lost the hype over the years. Now the hype is coming back after the rebranding and new ownership. User-generated content on TikTok helped elevate the brand to a new level thanks to customers raving reviews.

User-generated content is any created by the customers, not the business. It’s a useful asset to incorporate in your business because it shows brand authenticity, builds trust and increases sales. You can encourage content creation through contests, reviews and testimonials. Don’t overwhelm your customers with only brand-generated content, but incorporate a mix of user-generated content. A few ways to leverage content from your customers is through hashtag campaigns, reposting customers, and using TikTok. These are a variety of things your brand can do to help your overall business growth and connect with your customers. If you need help encouraging user-generated content contact us to see how Cohley can help!

Parker Dietz
Head of Content
With a wealth of knowledge about competitors and pricing, Parker is all about exploring the best way to communicate Cohley's benefits. Outside of work, Parker enjoys poorly playing guitar at parties, watching every Adam Sandler movie ever made, and eating Arabic food.