User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content that is voluntarily created and shared by individuals, fans, or consumers of a brand who are not associated with said brand. This content may range from social media posts to reviews on third-party websites, and is typically perceived as more trustworthy and authentic than traditional marketing materials due to its unbiased nature. UGC can be classified into three categories: text, pictures, and videos.

Some examples of UGC include social media content, reviews and testimonials, blog posts, video content such as live streaming and augmented reality (AR) lenses or filters, and content shared in Q&A forums and comments sections. For instance, if someone posts a tweet or Instagram post about a brand, that is considered UGC. Similarly, if a beauty blogger features a brand’s lipstick product in a tutorial or blog post, that is also considered UGC. Video content, including natively shot video and content created using AR lenses or filters, is another type of UGC as long as it is not paid for by the brand.

There are numerous benefits to utilizing UGC in marketing efforts. For instance, UGC can act as social proof for a brand’s message; a brand promises, consumers independently verify. UGC can also be more influential on purchasing decisions compared to traditional marketing materials, as it is perceived as more authentic and trustworthy. Furthermore, UGC provides brands with access to a larger pool of visuals for marketing purposes, as millions of UGC content pieces are created and shared daily on platforms such as Instagram. This can be particularly valuable for brands looking to showcase their products or services in action, as UGC often features real people using the products in a more authentic and relatable manner than high-quality photoshoots with professional models.

Brands can encourage the creation and sharing of UGC through the use of hashtags, hosting contests, and responding to and sharing UGC on their own channels. It is essential for brands to consider the type of UGC that will be most effective for their specific audience and preferences. For example, if a brand’s target audience is active on social media, visual UGC may be particularly effective, as 85% of consumers find visual UGC more influential than brand-created photos or videos. Alternatively, if a brand’s audience trusts review websites, reviews and testimonials may be a more effective type of UGC to use.

Incorporating UGC into a marketing strategy can provide numerous benefits to a brand. It can help build trust with potential customers, increase conversions, and generate more engagement with the brand. However, it is important to ensure that UGC is used ethically and respectfully, only using content that has been shared publicly and has been properly licensed or permission has been granted by the creator. Brands should also respect the creator’s intent and not alter or manipulate the content in any way that may change its original meaning or context. By adhering to these principles, brands can effectively leverage the power of UGC to enhance their marketing efforts. Want to encourage and in turn take advantage of UGC for your brand? Get in touch with us today!