Picture this: You’re scrolling through your social media feed when you come across a post from a friend.

They’re raving about a product they’ve just tried, complete with photos and a glowing review. Intrigued, you click through to the brand’s page, and before you know it, you’re checking out their products, too.

This is the power of user-generated content (UGC) in action.

UGC, a form of content created and shared by users on platforms like social media, is transforming the way brands market themselves online.

It’s authentic, relatable, and trusted by consumers, making it a potent tool for businesses of all sizes.

But how can your company tap into this trend and use UGC to supercharge your social media marketing strategy in the UK?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of UGC, from its benefits to how you can create a successful UGC strategy.

We’ll also delve into real-world examples of brands that have effectively harnessed UGC to boost their online presence and engagement.

So, whether you’re new to UGC or looking to refine your existing strategy, this guide is for you. Let’s dive in.

The Power of User-Generated Content

To understand the power of UGC, we must first answer the question, what is user-generated content in social media marketing? UGC is essentially word-of-mouth advertising in the digital age.

It’s authentic content created and shared by your customers, fans, and followers. This authenticity makes UGC incredibly valuable.

It’s seen as more trustworthy and relatable than branded content, making it a potent tool for building brand trust and loyalty.

Creating a User-Generated Content Strategy

Now that we understand the value of UGC, the next question is, how do I create a user-generated content strategy for social media?

The first step is to encourage your audience to share their experiences with your brand. This could be through reviews, testimonials, photos, or videos of them using your products or services.

You can incentivise this sharing through contests, giveaways, or simply by featuring their content on your own social media channels.

Related: What Are Nofollow, Sponsored, and UGC Tags?

Leveraging User-Generated Content for Marketing

Once you have a steady stream of UGC, the next step is to use this user-generated content for marketing.

This can be done in several ways. You can share UGC on your social media platforms, website, and other marketing channels.

You can also use UGC in your advertising campaigns.

This not only increases the reach of this content but also enhances its credibility, as people tend to trust content created by other consumers more than content created by brands. However, it’s important to consider the costs associated with social media marketing.

You can learn more about how much social media marketing costs in the UK here.

Leveraging User-Generated Content in Your Content Marketing Strategy

UGC can also be a valuable part of your content marketing strategy. By featuring UGC in your content, you can create a sense of community around your brand.

This can increase engagement and loyalty, as consumers feel more connected to a brand when they see that real people are using and enjoying its products or services.

Is UGC More Effective Than Branded Content?

The question often arises, is UGC more effective than branded content? The answer is, it depends. Both types of content have their place in a comprehensive social media strategy. However, UGC has been shown to be particularly effective at building trust and driving engagement.

This is because consumers often perceive UGC as more authentic and relatable than branded content.

How to Leverage UGC on Social Media

So, how do you leverage UGC on social media? One effective strategy is to create a branded hashtag and encourage your followers to use it when posting about your brand.

This not only helps you easily find and share UGC, but also helps to spread awareness of your brand as more and more people use your hashtag.

Another strategy is to host contests or giveaways that encourage users to create and share content about your brand.

This not only generates a wealth of UGC, but also increases engagement as users are incentivised to interact with your brand.

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for brands to increase engagement, build trust, and drive sales. 

Real-world Examples Of Brands That Have Effectively Harnessed UGC

Here are some real-world examples of brands that have effectively harnessed UGC:

  1. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign: Coca-Cola printed popular names on their bottles and cans, encouraging customers to share photos of themselves with their personalised drinks on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke (12).
  2. Apple’s #ShotoniPhone campaign: Apple encouraged customers to share photos taken with their iPhones on social media using the hashtag #ShotoniPhone. The best photos were featured in Apple’s advertising campaigns (1).
  3. Starbucks’s #WhiteCupContest: Starbucks asked customers to decorate their white cups and share photos of their designs on social media using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The winning design was used as a limited edition Starbucks cup (3).
  4. Glossier’s UGC Instagram Hashtag Campaign: Glossier encouraged customers to share photos of themselves wearing Glossier makeup on Instagram using the hashtag #glossierpink. The best photos were featured on Glossier’s website and social media channels1.
  5. GoPro’s ongoing hashtag campaign: GoPro encourages customers to share photos and videos taken with their cameras on social media using the hashtag #GoPro. The best content is featured on GoPro’s website and social media channels (4).
  6. Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins campaign: Calvin Klein encouraged customers to share photos of themselves wearing Calvin Klein underwear on social media using the hashtag #MyCalvins. The best photos were featured in Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns (5).
  7. ASOS’s #AsSeenOnMe campaign: ASOS encouraged customers to share photos of themselves wearing ASOS clothing on social media using the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe. The best photos were featured on ASOS’s website and social media channels (3).
  8. Pottery Barn’s UGC product styling: Pottery Barn encourages customers to share photos of how they style Pottery Barn products in their homes on social media using the hashtag #mypotterybarn. The best photos are featured on Pottery Barn’s website and product pages (5).

These examples show how UGC can be used in various ways, from promoting personalised user reviews to creating engaging social media campaigns that increase brand awareness and customer engagement.

By leveraging UGC, brands can create authentic and powerful images that resonate with their audience and drive sales.

Getting Started with User-Generated Content

If you’re ready to harness the power of UGC in your social media marketing strategy, you might be wondering, how do I get started with user-generated content? The first step is to set clear goals.

What do you hope to achieve with UGC? Increased brand awareness? Higher engagement rates? More conversions?

Having clear goals will guide your UGC strategy and help you measure its success.

Next, identify your target audience and understand what type of content they are likely to create and share.

This will help you tailor your UGC prompts and incentives to your audience’s preferences and behaviours.

Finally, make sure you have a system in place for monitoring and managing UGC. This includes tracking mentions of your brand, moderating user submissions, and obtaining necessary permissions for using UGC in your marketing efforts.

In Summary

In conclusion, user-generated content is a powerful tool in social media marketing. By harnessing UGC, brands can enhance their authenticity, foster a sense of community, and boost engagement and conversions.

Whether you’re a small business or a large organisation, implementing a UGC strategy can significantly enhance your social media marketing efforts in the UK and beyond.

About the Author

Des Dreckett

Des Dreckett is the eCommerce and growth Marketing Director of XenMediamarketing.co.uk: a writer, blogger and a paid media specialist.

Writing content to help you grow and build your business.

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