User-Generated Content: A Beginner’s Guide

User-Generated Content: A Beginner’s Guide


What Is Person-Generated Content material (UGC)?

Person-generated content material (UGC) is any type of promotional content material created and shared by unsolicited contributors or customers of a model moderately than the model itself.

Widespread kinds of UGC embrace buyer opinions, social media posts, pictures, movies, and weblog posts referring to the model or its merchandise.

For instance, a buyer shared a picture of the latte they bought from a espresso store, Chalk Espresso, to Instagram, with a caption about how good it’s.

That is user-generated content material.

Customer's Instagram post of a latte from Chalk Coffee

By tagging Chalk Espresso of their put up, utilizing the “#chalkcoffee” hashtag, and writing a constructive evaluate, the Instagram person @havingabrew_ promotes the espresso model to their followers. 

Chalk Espresso will get free publicity consequently.

Who Creates Person-Generated Content material?

UGC is free promotion that may assist manufacturers develop their attain. 

Right here’s a have a look at who creates user-generated content material:

  • Clients 
  • Social media followers
  • Model advocates

What about if workers create content material in regards to the model they work for? That is known as employee-generated content material (EGC). It’s a subset of UGC so long as the posts are genuine and never solicited by the model. 

For instance, a retailer employee exhibiting off their firm’s new merchandise on a private social media account can be thought-about EGC.

Nevertheless, if somebody is paid to create sponsored content material (known as a UGC creator) designed to seem like genuine UGC however is promotional, this isn’t user-generated content material. 

Forms of UGC

UGC is available in extra types than you may understand.

Every kind is a chance for a model to get talked about, shared, and advisable on-line—and in the end construct consciousness or belief amongst their audience.

The principle kinds of user-generated content material advertising are as follows: 

  • Video content material: Unboxings (when customers report themselves opening new merchandise), model tributes, and product demonstrations that actual individuals share on social media assist construct consciousness and belief
  • Branded selfies: Selfies that prospects take with merchandise or branded supplies (e.g., posters, storefronts, and branded backdrops) assist improve model consciousness on social media
  • Opinions and testimonials: Person-generated opinions on platforms like Yelp, Google, and your web site present genuine suggestions from prospects. This will additionally embrace product evaluate movies.
  • Podcast conversations: Podcast hosts and visitors typically talk about their experiences with manufacturers and merchandise, producing brand awareness and constructing belief amongst listeners
  • Articles: Customers and workers could write articles or weblog posts about their experiences with a model or matters that relate to it. Some publish these on private blogs as opinions or in suggestion lists, whereas others share their views on neighborhood boards and journals (e.g., Quora or Medium).
  • Contests: Contests encourage customers to create and submit content material, corresponding to pictures or movies, for an opportunity to win prizes. This UGC serves promotional functions whereas fostering engagement and creativity inside an viewers.

So, which sort of UGC do you have to encourage? 

All of them. 

Quite a lot of UGC will enchantment to totally different segments of your audience.

U.Ok. clothes model Beaufort & Blake makes use of UGC to interact individuals who browse its on-line retailer. It encourages prospects to share photographs of their outfits on Instagram, then reveals the newest contributions on its web site beneath the heading, “Our favourites, styled by you.”

Beaufort & Blake's “Our favourites, styled by you” section of the website

Picture Supply: Beaufort & Blake

By asking followers to tag @beaufortandblake of their Instagram pictures, the model expands its attain and sources genuine, relatable content material that it will possibly use to advertise merchandise on its web site—all for gratis.

Seeing customer-featuring content material on a web site or social profile can encourage different guests and followers to get entangled. This type of natural momentum is one in every of UGC’s many advantages.

Additional studying: 11 Ways to Create Engaging Social Media Content

Person-Generated Content material Advantages

UGC supplies endorsements instantly from real-life customers, which helps manufacturers acquire prospects’ belief.

That form of social proof is highly effective.

A Brightlocal research discovered that almost half (46%) of consumers belief on-line enterprise opinions as a lot as private suggestions from pals or household.

Listed below are UGC’s key advantages in additional element.


While you leverage free content material created by your viewers, you may cut back paid content material manufacturing.

Because of this, you’ll have room in your funds for different promotional actions and campaigns, corresponding to search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising, which generally value extra.

For instance, WebFX reported {that a} pay-per-click (PPC) on-line advert marketing campaign can value wherever from $300 to $100 million (or more) per month

And if you happen to’re outsourcing PPC administration to an company, you’ll must think about labor prices, too ($350–$5000 / month).

Utilizing free or low-cost UGC as a part of your advertising technique helps to liberate funds for these paid channels, which may develop your attain even additional. 

Viral Potential

Whereas most user-generated content material doesn’t go viral—there’s all the time the potential of it. 

Warner Bros.’ and PhotoRoom’s Barbie Selfie marketing campaign is a primary instance of UGC going viral. 

The corporate’s easy picture filter permits followers to show themselves into characters and share the outcomes on social media.

Right here’s what it seems like:

Warner Bros.’ and PhotoRoom’s Barbie Selfie campaign filter

Picture Supply: PhotoRoom

The software solely took an hour to implement and was used more than 13 million times in 4 months, producing cost-effective, world consciousness for the “Barbie” film.

Even when UGC doesn’t go viral, it has the potential to succeed in many individuals past those that observe you on social media or already find out about your model. 

Model Loyalty

Encouraging prospects to create content material to your model (permitting them to turn out to be a part of your model story) can assist you construct a extremely engaged on-line neighborhood of loyal followers.

This will result in repeat enterprise and profit-boosting advocacy. Over half (52%) of PwC’s Buyer Loyalty Survey respondents stated they categorical model loyalty by recommending firms to others.

For instance, UGC advertising has helped meals model Huel construct a loyal neighborhood of followers. It’s even coined a brand new identify for these individuals (“Hueligans”), giving them a fair stronger sense of id and serving to them really feel nearer to the corporate.

Huel shares followers’ tales on-line to foster a way of neighborhood amongst its prospects, like this one that includes Asha Pancholi:

Huel followers’ story with Asha Pancholi

Picture Supply: Huel

By sharing these tales, Huel says to its prospects, “You’re a valued a part of our model,” making them extra doubtless to purchase merchandise and advocate for the corporate.

Social Proof

Optimistic UGC influences buying choices by demonstrating to potential prospects that others have had constructive experiences together with your model.

Many individuals must see social proof like this earlier than committing to an organization or product for the primary time.

The perfect kinds of UGC for offering social proof are testimonials and product opinions, as they let potential prospects see how their expertise together with your firm may go.

Right here’s an instance from, a expertise evaluate web site. In it, a person describes her constructive expertise with the undertaking administration software Asana.

User's review of the project management tool Asana on

Asana’s potential prospects who’re in related positions to this reviewer (i.e., enterprise customers at firms with fewer than 1,000 workers) can use their feedback to precisely assess the product’s suitability, with out concern of bias.

Opinions like this are additionally precious for product improvement.

They provide help to perceive what your audience does and doesn’t worth. So you may refine your providing and enhance buyer satisfaction.


The natural nature of UGC usually makes it extra plausible than firsthand gross sales and advertising content material.

Ecommerce personalization platform Nosto found that individuals are over thrice extra more likely to say UGC is extra genuine than brand-created content material. And 88% of shoppers say authenticity is necessary when deciding which manufacturers they like and help.

For instance, anybody available in the market for enterprise software program is unlikely to search out lists of “downsides” on distributors’ web sites, and but it’s regular to examine customers’ challenges in third-party opinions.

Take the Asana evaluate we included earlier, which features a part titled “What do you dislike about Asana?”

“What do you dislike about Asana?” section of Asana's review

In it, the reviewer discusses minor issues she’s encountered that would assist different customers’ shopping for choices.

3 Examples of Person-Generated Content material

Large and small manufacturers use UGC. When you begin on the lookout for it, you’ll see it all over the place.

Listed below are a few of our favourite examples.

1. “Shot on OnePlus”

Tech firm OnePlus asks prospects to share photographs and movies they create with OnePlus merchandise on Instagram utilizing the hashtag #ShotOnOnePlus. 

Via this marketing campaign, the model collects a lot of unique content material that organically demonstrates its smartphone’s images credentials. 

Its UGC contains images of individuals, vegetation, and surroundings—all widespread topics for individuals who could be excited by shopping for and utilizing a smartphone digicam. 

Instagram page with posts using #ShotOnOnePlus hashtag

Curating and selling the #ShotOnOnePlus hashtag on Instagram provides the model:

  • An unlimited library of high-quality UGC for its social media platforms and web site
  • Extra visibility on one in every of its audience’s favored social channels
  • A loyal neighborhood of engaged creatives, guaranteeing its boards and social media accounts buzz with exercise
  • A technique to display its product’s capabilities extra convincingly than it might have completed alone

What began as a social media advertising marketing campaign has turn out to be a key a part of OnePlus’ broader content material technique, because it contains UGC contributions in its neighborhood and weblog posts alongside captions and different textual content.

Right here’s an instance of OnePlus using existing UGC to entice extra contributions from its neighborhood:

OnePlus uses existing UGC to entice more contributions from its community

And one other of it utilizing UGC in blog content:

OnePlus existing UGC to create blog posts

All this further protection provides the corporate’s UGC marketing campaign further momentum, guaranteeing customers maintain getting concerned and supporting OnePlus’ advertising efforts. 

2. Vans’ “Customs”

Vans permits buyers to design custom shoes and share their distinctive creations on-line.

Vans's "Customized by you" section of the website

This empowers individuals to turn out to be co-creators of their merchandise.

The result’s a stronger emotional connection between model and purchaser that may result in natural word-of-mouth advertising and higher model consciousness.

Customers can showcase their creativity and individuality by sharing designs on social networks. All whereas organically selling the Vans model. It’s a win-win.

Vans's "Get inspired" section of the website

This type of product personalization is a well-liked technique amongst trend retailers, with good cause. Different manufacturers that use user-generated content material like this embrace Nike and Dr. Martens.

3. Slack’s “Buyer Tales”

Slack options Customer Stories to spotlight how totally different groups and industries leverage its collaboration software program.

These genuine use instances and testimonials show Slack’s utility, instilling confidence to assist web site guests make shopping for choices quicker.

Many firms publish case research, however Slack is de facto nice at incorporating feedback, photographs, and video content material from the companies concerned.

For instance, in one article in regards to the monetary companies model Stripe utilizing its “Shared Channels” function, Slack contains an natural tweet from the corporate’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield, giving the story further weight.

The tweet (highlighted within the article snippet beneath) reads: “Certainly. I do know a deal is on observe once we transfer to shared channels. We iterate quick, construct belief, and get all the correct people concerned. Excited for what’s to come back.”

A tweet from the company’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield highlighted in the section of the article about Stripe

Picture Supply: Slack

Incorporating UGC alongside different advertising content material—just like the Stripe CEO’s unique tweet inside a broader case research—can add authenticity to any promotional web site content material. It makes readers much less more likely to dismiss content material for being biased.

UGC Greatest Practices: 7 Ideas for Price-Efficient Advertising and marketing

Person-generated content material is totally different from different content material advertising varieties as a result of you’ve got much less management over the top outcome.

Nevertheless, you may nonetheless use the next techniques to information content material and maximize your returns.

1. Prioritize Related Content material Channels

Determine the platforms the place your superb prospects are most energetic. Then you may encourage individuals to share UGC the place it’s almost definitely to spark precious engagement.

To do that, think about your goal demographic and social media engagement metrics, together with follower counts, clicks, feedback, and shares.

As an example, if you happen to work in a inventive {industry} concentrating on individuals who take pleasure in visible content material, Instagram and TikTok are superb locations to encourage UGC.

As a B2B firm, you’ll in all probability discover LinkedIn works higher. Particularly if in case you have extra followers there than wherever else.

Take into account industry-specific boards, blogs, and evaluate websites too. Platforms like Quora and Reddit can spark product-based conversations and provide help to construct communities.

Like this put up in regards to the best tools for tech project management:

Reddit post about the best tools for tech project management

Nonetheless uncertain the place to start out?

Nosto discovered that Instagram, Fb, and YouTube are the social platforms individuals look to most for buying inspiration.

2. Set Targets for Your Marketing campaign

Set up clear and measurable aims to your UGC marketing campaign.

These objectives will information your technique (i.e., the kinds of content material you encourage) and provide help to measure the outcomes.

Examples of UGC objectives might be:

Say your purpose is to spice up model consciousness to your small enterprise.

You possibly can goal to gather 10 user-submitted tales that includes your product that you may share on social media channels. Then, observe clicks and likes to gauge effectiveness.

If you wish to develop web site site visitors, you possibly can encourage customers to share their takes in your current weblog posts or visible content material. And observe the variety of first-time guests to your web site to see if the tactic works.

Maintain your broader advertising aims in thoughts when setting UGC objectives. Finally, your chosen tactic ought to contribute to what you wish to obtain together with your content material and social media methods.

3. Let Customers Be Artistic (and Maintain the Entry Barrier Low)

Don’t impose too many restrictions or tips on UGC submissions. In any other case, you’ll exclude customers and restrict engagement.

The extra inventive freedom you supply, the extra enthusiasm you’ll construct. And it’ll provide help to get genuine content material from varied views and backgrounds.

For instance, OnePlus’s #ShotOnOnePlus marketing campaign encourages customers to share themed smartphone pictures of their community forum

Content material creators worldwide can take part, no matter ability stage, so the model will get a variety of content material to showcase its product’s versatility.

A post on OnePlus Community site using the #ShotOnOnePlus campaign hashtag

Permitting free creativity like this allows you to faucet into your prospects’ need for self-expression. It’s notably efficient for firms concentrating on teenagers and younger adults.

OCAD University report discovered that 73% of Gen Z (individuals born between the late Nineteen Nineties and early 2010s) imagine they want extra self-expression to reside a contented, wholesome life.

Furthermore, a New York Instances research revealed that 68% of social media users share content material to offer individuals a greater sense of who they’re and what they care about.

So, enabling self-expression by UGC campaigns is a good way to spice up on-line engagement.

4. Tie UGC Campaigns to Your Model Story

Encourage content material that ties intently to your model, product, or {industry}.

This fashion:

  • The concept might be likelier to resonate together with your goal prospects, which will increase the probabilities they’ll have interaction with the marketing campaign.
  • Your UGC will keep constant together with your different content material campaigns, so web site guests and social media followers get a constant expertise of your model

For instance, in case your model stands for environmental sustainability, you may encourage customers to submit tales or photographs associated to their eco-friendly practices or experiences.

Patagonia will get prospects to share tales about having gadgets repaired by its Worn Wear service.

"The Stories We Wear" section of Patagonia's site

These experiences align completely with Patagonia’s stance on sustainability. In addition to publicizing the restore service (a value-add for potential new prospects), they permit followers to interact with like-minded individuals and really feel a part of a neighborhood.

5. Get Permission (When Acceptable)

If somebody publishes content material about your model with none encouragement, ask for permission earlier than reposting it in your social media accounts, web site, or different advertising supplies.

This lets you:

  • Construct trusting relationships together with your followers
  • Keep away from copyright complaints
  • Get a chance to ask additional contributions

When asking, be trustworthy about how you propose to make use of the content material (e.g., in an internet advert or on a product web page) so the person is aware of what to anticipate.

And if you happen to’re assured their content material will provide help to generate a revenue, supply to compensate the creator.

You may embrace consent within the entry situations for organized user-generated content material initiatives, like giveaways. 

Then you definately received’t must contact every particular person individually. While you ask followers to share content material utilizing your branded hashtag or social media deal with, their participation is authorization sufficient.

6. Monitor Model Mentions to Discover Alternatives

Use model monitoring instruments to maintain tabs on feedback and user-generated content material about your organization and merchandise.

It lets you have interaction with customers promptly, reply to their feedback or questions, and tackle any issues. It additionally helps you determine alternatives for collaboration or additional engagement.

You’ll robotically obtain notifications when somebody tags your organization in social media content material. You should use Media Monitoring from the Semrush AppCenter for updates on untagged social mentions and references elsewhere.

Media Monitoring tool dashboard

Designed that can assist you observe your model’s popularity throughout the net, Media Monitoring can inform you about mentions in social media posts, information articles, blogs, and extra.

You may even filter mentions by sentiment (i.e., constructive, unfavourable, or all) to fit your aims.

For instance, if you wish to enhance your popularity, deal with addressing unfavourable UGC. Need content material to reshare? Search for constructive mentions as an alternative.

7. Measure and Refine Your UGC Technique

Usually analyze the efficiency of your UGC campaigns to be taught:

  • The kinds of user-generated content material your prospects and followers wish to contribute
  • The perfect user-generated content material for sparking engagement (e.g., likes, feedback, and shares)

While you perceive these factors, you may curate campaigns that resonate together with your viewers (i.e., get a lot of contributions). It’ll additionally assist encourage kinds of content material which are helpful to your broader advertising efforts.

For instance, if you happen to run a images contest that generates a lot of curiosity in your model, think about the most well-liked themes. You possibly can create spin-off campaigns to keep up the momentum.

If the submissions had been too low-quality to make use of in your web site, you possibly can refine your entry situations to filter out low-resolution photographs.

Semrush and Google Analytics home most of the metrics you’ll must measure and tweak your UGC technique, corresponding to click-through charges (CTRs), conversion charges, and buyer sentiment.

For instance, you should use both of those instruments to observe natural site visitors to your web site. Any site visitors spikes that coincide with UGC campaigns indicate your efforts are producing extra curiosity in your model.

Right here’s the best way to discover web site site visitors information in Semrush’s SEO Dashboard:

Step one, if you happen to haven’t completed it already, is to arrange your URL in Semrush. Do this by heading to the “Tasks” web page and choosing the blue “+ Create undertaking” button on the prime of the “My Tasks” part.

“+ Create project” button highlighted at the top of the “My Projects” section in Semrush

Add your organization’s URL into the subsequent field, give your undertaking a reputation, and click on “Create undertaking.”

"Create project" pop-up window in Semrush

The following display screen you’ll see is your “Mission Dashboard,” with varied widgets from instruments you may arrange.

For now, we simply wish to see natural site visitors information to see if encouraging UGC has elevated curiosity in your model. To get that, scroll to “Area Analytics”:

“Domain Analytics” section from the "Projects Dashboard"

Scroll once more to get extra element on the place your site visitors’s coming from. You may filter the “Site visitors Analytics” chart to point out solely Direct, Natural Search, and Natural Social site visitors.

“Traffic Analytics” chart in Sermush, with "Direct," "Organic Search" and "Organic Social" selected

For instance, if a bit of UGC goes viral on TikTok, you possibly can search for spikes in “Natural Social” site visitors to measure the content material’s effectiveness.

Click on “View full report” beneath the Site visitors chart for extra particulars on guests’ gadget varieties, prime pages, international locations, and extra.

“View full report” button highlighted below the Traffic chart

This information will provide help to perceive which kinds of individuals your UGC content material attracts and what they worth most. Then you may create extra tailor-made content material to enchantment to them.

You may also use your social media platforms’ analytics options for engagement metrics corresponding to likes, follows, shares, and feedback.

Share analytics insights together with your advertising workforce to make sure the entire workforce advantages from any classes discovered.

Construct UGC into Your Advertising and marketing Technique

Now that you understand how to do UGC, you may create a method to your model. 

Genuine, consumer-generated content material lets you save on advertising manufacturing prices and construct stronger, extra worthwhile connections together with your audience.

UGC all the time works greatest as a part of a broader omnichannel advertising technique. Discover ways to construct one from the bottom up with our complete Marketing Strategy Guide and observe metrics utilizing instruments like Semrush for greatest outcomes. 


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