How to harness the power of user-generated content

How to harness the power of user-generated content

You’ll boost your business when you let your customers speak for you

User-generated content is everywhere. What’s more, it’s an incredibly valuable asset that you should be taking advantage of, if you’re not already.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (or UGC) is any form of content — such as photos, videos, blogs or reviews — created by users and consumers about a brand or product. Because UGC isn’t paid for or sponsored, it’s a great way for customers to get a real feel for what you’re all about. According to the Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, 92% of consumers trust organic UGC more than they trust traditional advertising [1].

You should use user-generated content. Here’s why:

  • Build trust

Consumers trust other consumers, so why not let them promote your products and services for you? By utilizing UGC, you give real users the opportunity to tell real stories about your brand. You’ll humanize your brand when you give your customers the opportunity to become advocates. You’ll also build trust with your audience and reassure their purchasing decisions.

  • Get a different perspective

Take advantage of the point of view your customers can give you. See your business through their eyes: UGC is a great way to see what your customers like — and what they don’t like — about your product or service. You can use the insights you gain from your audience to influence future promotions and marketing campaigns.

  • Keep things fresh

Content marketing is all about the power of now. Keep things relevant for your audience: with UGC, there’s a wealth of already-created content waiting for you, available in real time. By finding and sharing it in the moment, you’ll boost engagement and give your audience the fresh, relevant content they crave.

  • Get personal

UGC makes your marketing more genuine, personal and relatable. Build an emotional connection with your audience by showing real people doing real things — show them using your service to make their lives better, easier or more productive. By using UGC to learn what resonates with your customers, you can market to them more effectively than ever.

  • Boost SEO

A study by Kissmetrics recently found that 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content [2]. The more people that tag your business or link to your website, the better: backlinks like these tell search engines you’re trusted and this can help to boost your ranking in search results.

So how do you use user-generated content?

UGC should be one of the cornerstones of your content curation strategy. On social media, consumers are turned off by brands that continually share the same, repeated marketing message. By tapping into user-generated content, you let your customers tell the story.

  • Start sharing!

User-generated content is easy to find. Search your custom hashtags, look for your location being tagged, or just search your company name on social platforms. You can also search hashtags or keywords relevant to your product to find great, share-worthy content. Make sure you credit the original creator. You could also consider creating a document to keep track of users who frequently share relevant, high-quality content you may want to use in future.

  • Think fresh

Interactions are growing shorter all the time, so you need to make your content count. According to a recent Facebook Insights survey, Facebook users spend an average of 1.7 seconds with any piece of mobile content on the platform [3]. Keep things fresh by sharing recent, relevant UGC that speaks both to your brand values and your audience.

  • Encourage new content

Engage with your customers and generate great content at the same time! Think about running contests or challenges on social media with custom hashtags, with prizes as an incentive or the chance to be featured in your next marketing campaign. Encourage users to share freely and tag their friends to maximize your reach.

  • Keep learning

Use UGC as a tool to see what customers get excited about, and what they don’t like. Without them having to directly reach out to you, you can gain valuable audience insights this way. Need inspiration for a new campaign? Take a look at what people are getting excited about, and study your reviews. Also, take the time to respond to your followers — this is a great way to further deepen those all-important customer relationships.

When you begin to utilize your user-generated content, you’ll tap into a wealth of information. Don’t keep repeating the same promotional messages — instead, work on curating your UGC to promote your business in a more organic, authentic way.
Businesses that embrace the power of UGC will be rewarded with increased customer loyalty and the competitive advantage over other brands. So what are you waiting for?
If you need help understanding how to use user-generated content for your business, the team at Different Perspective can help. We specialize in helping people like you enrich customer relationships and make meaningful connections with a social media marketing strategy that’s tailored to you. Contact us to get started today.

Read more:
Online reputation — what are your clients saying about you?
Why your B2B company needs a social media strategy, and how to do it
Google AdWords or Facebook Ads: which is right for your business?


  1. Nielsen Consumer Trust Index
  2. Kissmetrics Social Media Growth Statistics
  3. Facebook Insights Survey
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