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User-generated content is the new frontier of digital marketing.

Why? Because consumers trust peers more than they do brands and even influencers. In fact, visitors to a site are 3.8% more likely to convert once they’ve interacted with UGC. 

User-generated content can be thought of as the modern-day version of word-of-mouth marketing, which is one of the most powerful and persuasive forms of marketing to exist.

Let’s take a look at how you can utilize this tool in order to seriously elevate your marketing game.

What is user-generated content (UGC)?

User-generated content (UGC) is as simple as it sounds. It is any type of content that is authentically created – and shared – by consumers and customers online. Most often found on social media, UGC can also appear on blog posts, website product pages, podcasts and more.

UGC fits perfectly in with 2023’s top 10 social media trends, which highlights the fact that consumers are now looking for authenticity. This is because UGC is a great way to exhibit your company’s transparency and value.

User-generated content comes in many different forms, including:

  • Reviews, either as text or video
  • Blog posts (essentially, a long-form review)
  • Testimonials, in which customers endorse products
  • Images, often of the consumer using the product or service
  • Social media posts, using hashtags or brand mentions
  • Unboxing videos
  • Challenges and competitions (e.g. a fitness brand may do a fitness challenge. Wishpond is a really useful tool here, as it will let you create and manage your own contests, landing pages, and website popups, for ultimate reach).
  • Influencer partnerships
  • E-commerce product pages (psst…if your website isn’t getting as much traction as you’d hope, try techniques to elevate the SEO value of your content such as reviewing keyword rankings and evaluating competitor performance).



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It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that UGC and sponsored content are not the same thing. Sponsorships involve some level of transaction, which itself needs to be clearly stated in the post or review (look out for a ‘Paid partnership’ or ‘Paid ad’ hashtag or statement). Though a useful marketing tool in themselves, sponsored posts go somewhat against the notion of authentic, genuine reviews.

UGC can find itself in the most unlikely of places. Take the example of footwear company Cole Haan, who found a unique way to combine UGC with chatbots. If a customer views a product on their website but leaves the page before making a purchase, a Facebook messenger Cole Haan chatbot can then contact the potential customer. The message would ask if the consumer is still interested in the viewed product, and crucially, uses UGC images to show the styling of the garment.

This method relies on the customer linking their social media account with their company account, but it still shows an unmatched level of creativity! Just be sure to use technology like conversational AI solutions; customers respond better to natural, flowing conversation rather than stilted, robotic speech.

With the development of UGC, it’s clear that consumers are no longer passive, but rather active participants in the marketing process. This is important to bear in mind, as brands all across the globe are battling to dominate the attention economy. With high competitiveness and eye-popping marketing costs, turning your attention to the consumer might be the extra boost that your business needs.

How user-generated content can benefit your brand

User-generated content (UGC) has some strong advantages that will, without a doubt, be of benefit to your brand.

1. Improves brand authenticity

As we saw in the introduction, consumers are more likely to trust peers than they are influencers or brands.

With that in mind, UGC such as reviews or testimonials are worth their weight in gold (if they’re positive, of course). With objective, third-party consumers offering their praises, without any compensation, this highlights your brand as trustworthy and valuable. 

With that said, you need the right tool to utilize this content. Taggbox, for example, lets you aggregate and share UGC on all your favorite marketing channels.


Gopro UGC

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Of course, having a strong brand starts right at the very beginning – an iconic and memorable business name makes it that much easier for customers to fall in love with your brand! Use a business name generator to figure out the best one for your company.

2. Enhances user engagement

UGC is a powerful tool when it comes to building user engagement and creating strong bonds of loyalty. This is because UGC creates an interactive community where customers feel listened to and respected. By being inherently user-centric, UGC puts your audience in focus, which helps build engagement in the long term.

UGC in the form of testimonials is also a great way of calculating CSAT – that is, a customer satisfaction score. Normally, CSAT is calculated using data from customer satisfaction surveys, but testimonials give you more in-depth and personal responses. These responses can help you build user engagement even more, if you apply what you learn from customer feedback.

3. Works as social proof

Social proof is closely linked to brand authenticity. In essence, social proof in marketing means that consumers opt for products with better reviews and recommendations.

Think about it. If you’re buying a new pair of jeans, would you opt for a pair with thousands of 5-star reviews, or the ones lacking a solid online reputation?

However, social proof only works if people are seeing your content. If you want to get ahead of the game and up your views, we recommend that you get your social media posts indexed by Google.

This includes optimizing your content for search engines, a practice known as search box optimization (SBO). 

This sounds complicated, but it simply means that your social media content is searchable, using the same SEO strategies that you use for your website. It’s a simple and easy way to extend your social media outreach – allowing that social proof to work its magic.

4. Quantifies the ROI of campaigns

The Return on Investment (ROI) of UGC campaigns can be easily tracked. Cover data such as conversion tracking, cost-efficiency, customer lifetime value (CLV) and engagement. Being easily quantifiable means you can see the direct impact of UGC (hint: it’s very often positive!).

Best practices for using user-generated content (UGC)

Having waxed lyrical about the benefits of UGC, there are also some best practices to keep in mind when using this powerful marketing tool.

1. Have a proper strategy

No matter the size of your business, it will be overwhelming if you approach reposting or retweeting on an ad-hoc basis.

It’s therefore a good idea to implement some kind of strategy, of knowing when and how often to repost. This should be aligned with your social media content calendar, which Synup Social can help you with! Their calendar lets you determine objectives, set engagement goals, decide on the right platform and create a posting schedule. Easy-peasy!


(Free to use image sourced from Pexels)

2. Ask for permission

Never assume that a customer wants their content reposted, no matter how satisfied or loyal they may be. Make sure to always ask permission before sharing their content, either by reaching out in comments, DMs or emails. This gives you a written record and protects you from any backlash.

3. Always, always credit

It’s a tale as old as time, but creators will almost always want to be credited (with good reason!). Attaching their social media handle or name shows that you respect them as a creator and as a customer. Trust us – this move will definitely be noticed by others.

4. Be diverse

One of the upsides of modern life is the celebration of diversity. Marketers are slowly catching on to the fact that the general public wants to see themselves reflected in campaigns, and not just impossibly beautiful models.

With that in mind, make sure to repost consumers from all walks of life. This is a surefire way of indicating how much you respect your customers.

Finally, though you should be focusing your attention on UGC, don’t neglect other areas of your business. Having a strong, customer-centric brand with impeccable products means nothing if, for example, your customer service stinks.

Offering strong customer service is another way to place customers in focus and make them happy. One way of doing this is by providing round-the-clock, 24/7 customer service – if you use a cloud based phone system for business, this also means you can have remote customer service teams spread over the world. Ingenious!

How to make the most of user-generated content (UGC)

There are numerous ways of implementing UGC! Why not try:

  • Starting a trend, challenge or content. Keep your ear to the ground for trending topics and social media templates.
  • Creating a hashtag. Keep it simple, but effective: Urban Outfitters, for example, uses the hashtag #UOCommunity to share UGC (P.S. Looking to track that almighty hashtag? Use Hashtagify to do that all-important, comprehensive research).
  • Including UGC requests on your website or app
  • Rewarding customers for sharing (think discount codes, offers, or prizes)
  • Involving staff, for example with behind-the-scenes content about the workday or creation process. This underlines your authenticity as a brand
  • Using UGC for ads (social, web or other format)
  • Using UGC for product pages or email campaigns



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UGC: The future of social media

User-generated content has clearly emerged as a powerful force in the realm of digital marketing. 

Thanks to its many benefits – enhanced authenticity, boosted user engagement, strong social proof and quantifiable ROI measurement – UGC presents marketers with a dynamic avenue for connecting directly with their audience. 

Just remember to use this tool wisely and responsibly, by asking for permission, crediting users, and sharing a diverse range of UGC. Other than that, the only way is up!


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