User-generated content, or UGC, is essentially content produced by users, followers and subscribers to interact with a brand, which the brand can then reshare on its own channels. 
This might be a happy customer engaging through a review, a competition entry, the posting of a video showing them testing out a product, or simply posting photos of a purchase to their social media channels. What’s important is that by creating user-generated content, that enthusiastic individual is advocating for your brand and providing others with social proof. Think of UGC as the digital word of many mouths. 

User-generated content – the proof is in the pudding 

It’s this social proof that lays at the very heart of why user-generated content is so effective for businesses. UGC is far more authentic than anything a business might put out there itself. What would you trust more, a restaurant telling you how great its food is with a professionally shot set of pictures, or a handful of social posts showing exactly what gets served up to the punters? 
Whilst brands will try to convey perfection, user-generated content puts across what people really value: reality. From that authenticity comes trust in a brand, even from people who might never have interacted with it themselves. 

Cultivate a community with UGC 

When a business shares and reacts positively to the content its followers are posting, it creates a thrilling feeling that they’re active participants in the brand, sparks further engagement, and builds desire in onlookers who see that there’s clearly something worth getting involved in. After all, having your own content featured by a brand is always exciting, isn’t it? 

User-generated content sways potential customers 

Ultimately, the authenticity, trust and sense of comfort with a brand that user-generated content oozes does a great deal towards attracting more potential customers, or, at the very least, whizzing them into your marketing funnel. 
There’s plenty of research out there showing the boosts to conversion rates UGC can bring when shared alongside brand-created content, so it’s certainly worth making the most of it. 

How to encourage user-generated content 

It’s all well and good knowing the benefits of UGC but encouraging its creation is an entirely different ballgame. The most important thing is that you know exactly what kind of content you want from your followers to aid your marketing goals, and that you ask clearly for it in as many places as you can. 
Creating a unique brand hashtag is huge for UGC, which is one reason why Instagram is so strong here, another being the easy resharing capability of stories and highlights. Make sure any UGC is visible across your brand too, not just on your socials but on websites and email blasts for maximum appeal. 
If you have a bricks-and-mortar location with a monitorable geotag, running events with unique, Insta-friendly backdrops is another nifty technique that’s often seen in bars and clubs. 
Finally, if your followers need a little push, incentivising UGC with a competition is never a bad idea. 

Let’s talk content 

Interested in ecnouraging user-generated content but don't know where to start? We’re pretty handy with social media, so do get in touch for a chit-chat. 
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