UGC

UGC Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to User-Generated Content for 2024 (+Examples)

David Morneau

By David Morneau
34 min READ | Apr 3 2024

Table of contents

UGC statistics show that 90% of consumers trust user-generated content over traditional advertising regarding their purchase decisions.

UGC also quadruples click-through rates, doubles engagement rates, especially when employees share it, and boosts awareness.

Besides, UGC ads are also 50% more affordable than traditional ads.

This article shows you how to implement an effective UGC marketing strategy from A to Z.

We’ll discuss:

  • What UGC is and how to get it
  • Best practices
  • In-home examples
  • And more

Let’s dive in.

TL;DR

- What Is UGC?

  • UGC is content customers create about a brand, including photos, videos, social media posts, and reviews.
  • UGC builds consumer trust, erases product hierarchies, and offers authenticity in a world of advertising skepticism.
  • 90% of consumers trust UGC over traditional advertising when making purchase decisions.

- Examples of UGC Done Right:

  • Powering Content Calendar: Bluehouse Salmon uses UGC to populate its social media content calendar.
  • Social Media Engagement: Brands like Phone Loops and FitnessBlender expand their audience and loyalty through UGC on social media.
  • Email Marketing: Kickstarter uses UGC in email marketing to boost click-through rates and conversions.
  • E-commerce Innovation: Brands leverage UGC for showcasing unique uses of products and building a stronger brand community.

- Collecting UGC: Strategies include reviews, hashtag contests, and gamification, with a focus on incentives, engagement, and customer interaction.

- Managing UGC: Respecting best practices such as obtaining permission, giving credit, and making UGC shoppable is essential.

- UGC Marketing's Impact: UGC is more authentic and persuasive than traditional advertising, fostering trust and community around your brand.

- Use UGC Platforms: Consider using UGC platforms like Inbeat to streamline and optimize your UGC marketing strategy.

- Sign Up for a UGC Marketplace: A modern UGC marketplace like Showcase stands out with its vetting process, ensuring that every creator meets your stringent standards for quality and performance.

- Pro Tip: Hire a performance-based UGC agency to ensure the best results.

What Is UGC?

UGC in marketing stands for user-generated content.

It defines the many types of content users create regarding your brand, company, products, or employees.

Pro tip: These people should give genuine feedback about your brand.

UGC is usually one of the key components of micro-influencer marketing strategies.

Learn more about how to build a successful strategy with our ultimate guide to micro-influencer marketing.

Insider Story

Many of our clients have tried building UGC campaigns before coming to us.

Unfortunately, they didn’t ensure their loyal customers created the right kind of UGC.

Warning: While the U in UGC stands for users, you can't expect them to produce stellar content that drives results without any input from your end.

That’s why you should give clear UGC guidelines to your customers.

Many companies hesitate to tell their customers the specific type of content they need.

However, more than half of your customers expect those clear guidelines.

Pro tip: Using creators can be simpler because they’re well-versed in UGC production, and you can include those helpful guidelines in your influencer contract or influencer brief.

Besides, this approach is easier than sharing the reins of your UGC campaign with thousands of customers from all walks of life.

That brings us to the next point.

What Is a UGC Platform?

Here are other problems our UGC clients have dealt with:

1. Scattered content: Your diverse audience creates and posts content on different social media channels, which may be difficult to find and curate. This content can be valuable for your library and provide unique brand insights. So even if other people create that user-generated content, you must organize it and repost it on your social media accounts.

2. Bad reviews: UGC comes with the risk of unflattering content from actual customers despite careful guidelines.

3. Low-quality content: You might need more than the content posted by regular social media users or existing customers. That content is excellent because it’s honest, unique, and intuitive. On the downside, many customers can post grainy or redundant images.

A robust UGC platform can help you manage that risk because it allows you to:

  • Find the content posted by your genuine customers
  • Curate it
  • Organize it
  • Reuse it
  • Find influencers that will post UGC
UGC platform example

inBeat is also an excellent tool for finding the proper influencers from Instagram and TikTok.

It helps you find the right people according to your brand’s personality and values, no matter your audience.

A screenshot of inBeat's UGC platform.
A screenshot of inBeat's UGC platform.

In return, you’ll get:

  • Stellar UGC that respects your strategy
  • Possible long-term partnerships with trustworthy influencers that have a lot of sway on their audience
  • All rights to the content thus created

Insider tip: From our experience, it’s best to ensure the platform has a dedicated server for hosting your user-generated content. This will provide enhanced security and reliable performance, guaranteeing a seamless user experience.

Problem: UGC created by influencers and brand ambassadors isn’t 100% user-generated.

Solution: Some UGC platforms allow you to focus just on content created by your happy customers so that you can use these tools to:

  • Find all content created by your brand on social media platforms
  • Select shoppable content
  • Use thorough search filters
  • Schedule your content
  • Engage with customers directly from the platform
  • See abandoned shopping carts
  • Get localized content

These software tools will help you organize and use your UGC content according to your campaign goals.

And we all know that having a plan is essential in marketing — you can leave little off to chance if you ultimately want to drive purchasing decisions and increase your sales.

11 Different Types of UGC

You can classify UGC content by its form into text, user-generated video, or images.

You can also organize UGC by its content into customer reviews, testimonials, or product featuring.

Insider tip: Knowing the best types of user-generated content helps you pick the right channel, so don’t skip this section.

For instance, you can’t publish lengthy product reviews on Instagram.

If that’s your plan, you can use blog posts, YouTube video reviews, or e-mail marketing.

Types of UGC by Content

1. UGC Reviews and Testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials are text-based, so they include specific arguments.

Whether in video or written form, these reviews:

  • Will present exact reasons why everyday people should buy a particular product/try a brand
  • Aim to clarify different uses
  • Are highly persuasive because they create FOMO
  • Can reappear in multiple campaign goals, such as raising awareness or determining purchase decisions

2. UGC Product Featuring

Product featuring is image-based, similar to traditional product placement in TV shows.

For example, loyal customers/influencers post pictures or videos using your brand with no other arguments.

Here are two examples of products featuring from one of inBeat’s campaigns for self-tanning products.

An Instagram UGC campaign for self-tanning products.
An Instagram UGC campaign for self-tanning products. (Sources: left and right)

This strategy:

  • Creates desire
  • Normalizes a specific product/brand/attitude and so forth
  • Takes advantage of people’s short attention spans
  • Allows you to create a community as you’re increasing your tagged photo library on Instagram, Facebook, or your website
  • Drive purchasing decisions

Types of UGC by Form and Channel

Here are five different types of user-generated content by form and channel, along with their explanations and best uses for businesses:

3. Social Media Posts

Social media posts are any content users create on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.

This type of UGC can include photos, videos, stories, or text posts that mention or feature a brand, product, or service.

For example, you can give followers something they can identify with by creating UGC templates at Wepik—an online editor tool that lets you craft original images from scratch.

With this tool, you can create images that are perfect for your brand and use them on social media or even print them out.

Best Uses:

  • Increasing brand awareness and engagement
  • Showcasing authentic customer experiences
  • Encouraging community building and loyalty
  • Generating social proof and trust

4. Blog Posts and Articles

User-generated blog posts and articles are written content created by individuals not directly affiliated with the brand.

These can include product reviews, how-to guides, or opinion pieces that mention or discuss a brand's offerings.

Best Uses:

  • Providing in-depth, informative content for potential customers
  • Improving search engine rankings through backlinks and content diversity
  • Establishing thought leadership and authority in your industry
  • Attracting new audiences through the writers' existing followers

5. UGC Videos

Video content created by users can range from unboxing videos and product demonstrations to creative shorts and vlogs that incorporate a brand's products or services.

Imagine the customers' feelings and reactions seeing their favorite brand's logo design, especially after they've contributed to your campaign.

Best Uses:

  • Showcasing products in action and providing visual demonstrations
  • Engaging younger audiences who prefer video content
  • Increasing brand visibility on video-focused platforms like YouTube and TikTok
  • Encouraging creative user engagement and viral content sharing

For example, Codecademy promises to help people learn how to code easily, even without prior experience.

The brand posts different UGC stories both on its website and on YouTube.

The real people featured in these video reviews share their life stories, explaining how Codecademy helped them make 180-degree turns.

In the video above, Christine explains how she went from medical professional to software engineer without formal education – just Codecademy courses.

You can see the video views jump over 1,110,000 at the time of this writing.

6. User-Generated Designs and Artwork

This type of UGC involves users creating original designs, artwork, or graphics that incorporate a brand's elements, such as logos, colors, or themes.

These can be shared on social media, submitted to contests, or printed on merchandise.

Best Uses:

  • Fostering creativity and engagement among artistic audiences
  • Generating unique, eye-catching visual content for marketing purposes
  • Creating a sense of community and collaboration around your brand
  • Sourcing new design ideas and inspiration for future products or campaigns

UGC Ads

User-generated content ads are a powerful way for businesses to leverage authentic, customer-created content in their advertising efforts.

Here are five types of UGC ads you can consider:

7. Social Media Ad Campaigns

Social media ad campaigns incorporating UGC involve using customer-created photos, videos, or testimonials in sponsored posts or ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Best Uses:

  • Increasing ad relevance and engagement by featuring real customers
  • Showcasing product benefits and experiences through authentic content
  • Targeting specific demographics or interest groups based on UGC creators
  • Boosting social proof and trust in the brand's offerings

8. Native Advertising with UGC

Native advertising involves placing sponsored content on platforms or websites that match the form and function of the surrounding editorial content.

Incorporating UGC in native ads can make them feel more authentic and less intrusive to the audience.

Best Uses:

  • Reaching new audiences through targeted placement on relevant websites
  • Providing valuable, informative content that resonates with the platform's users
  • Increasing click-through rates and engagement by featuring real customer experiences
  • Building brand credibility and trust through authentic, user-backed content

9. UGC-Based Video Ads

Video ads that feature user-generated content can be used on various platforms, including YouTube, social media, and streaming services.

These ads can showcase customer testimonials, product demonstrations, or creative content about your brand.

Best Uses:

  • Capturing attention and engagement with dynamic, authentic video content
  • Demonstrating product benefits and use cases through real customer experiences
  • Appealing to younger, video-centric audiences on platforms like TikTok or Instagram
  • Encouraging further user participation and content creation through inspiring examples

10. Influencer-Generated Ad Content

Influencer-generated ad content involves partnering with social media influencers or content creators to produce sponsored posts, videos, or stories featuring your products or services.

Best Uses:

  • Reaching targeted audiences through influencers' existing follower bases
  • Leveraging the influencer's credibility and authenticity to build brand trust
  • Showcasing products in relatable, real-life contexts through influencer content
  • Encouraging user engagement and participation through influencer-led campaigns

11. UGC-Based Display Ads

Display ads that incorporate user-generated content can be placed on various websites, apps, or platforms.

These ads can feature customer photos, testimonials, or creative content highlighting your brand's offerings.

Best Uses:

  • Increasing ad relevance and click-through rates by featuring authentic UGC
  • Retargeting potential customers with social proof and real customer experiences
  • Showcasing product benefits and versatility through diverse user-created content
  • Building brand credibility and trust through the endorsement of satisfied customers

Integrating UGC into your advertising strategies allows you to create more authentic, engaging, and persuasive ads that resonate with your target audiences.

This approach helps build trust, drive conversions, and foster a sense of community around the brand.

7 Examples of UGC Marketing with REAL RESULTS

The UGC examples below start from people’s need for authenticity from brands.

A personalized customer experience plays a major role in buying decisions.

Here are some things you can consider for your content marketing strategy for user-generated content.

1.  Power Your Social Media Content Calendar: Bluehouse Salmon

Bluehouse Salmon, one of inBeat’s clients, is the best example of powering your content calendar with UGC.

If you look at their Instagram page, you’ll see that they use UGC to create almost all their social media content calendar.

Here’s why UGC works for businesses such as this one in the hospitality industry:

  • Their inspiration, although probably teeming with ideas, is limited.
  • Their marketing team can only find so many angles to promote their brand.
  • They see their products and company through a very personal and highly tinted lens.

Results: inBeat Agency’s campaign for Bluehouse Salmon generated 200+ content assets that led to 500% follower growth.

The agency did:

  • Influencer sourcing
  • Creative direction
  • Content distribution
  • Logistics management

2. Create Desire: Deux Par Deux

Deux Par Deux Kids retails children’s clothes, focusing on kids and what they’re wearing.

Problem: Glammed-up kids’ photos can provoke a more massive cringe effect than those of glammed-up adults.

Remember that people nowadays crave authenticity.

Also, when you’re selling kids’ products, you have to be anchored into current parents’ mentalities and understand their needs.

Parents want:

  • Their kids to look well and feel comfortable
  • Easy-to-clean clothes so their children can explore as much as they want

Insider tip: Social media instills a huge coveting factor.

That’s why Deux Par Deux asked its influencers to post pictures of their babies wearing the brand’s trademark clothes.

This apparently simplistic strategy works because photos have a great advantage: they create desire.

Results: 200 unique assets; 10,000+ follower growth and 30% follower growth on Instagram, plus 500+ unique customers

3. Create Social Proof to Launch a New Product: Phone Loops

After working with over 350+ clients and thousands of influencers, we found this:

One of the most significant problems for brands is attracting an audience of non-customers who aren’t by nature interested in their products.

But here’s the thing:

Encouraging user-generated content can lead to unexpected product discoveries that provide value to customers and widen your pool of potential clients customers.

To achieve that, create brand desire on social media with UGC by using tactics such as repetition, eliciting envy, FOMO (fear of missing out), and a feeling of belonging to a certain group.

Phone Loops is an excellent example in this case.

Even if the product is pretty basic – just loops you attach to your phone so that you won’t drop it – the massive visual content around it has lifted its symbolic status.

So Phone Loops has moved up from a practical accessory that makes taking selfies safer.

Phone Loops UGC content

Now, this simple cord represents beauty, style, and fashion, but also traveling and adventure.

Results: inBeat Agency’s campaign for Phone Loops generated 250,000+ in engagement and 80% in ROAS through 300 unique content pieces.

4. Building Brand Loyalty: FitnessBlender

Fitnessblender is an outstanding example of building brand loyalty.

They started as a small team of two – husband and wife – posting free fitness videos.

Their unique selling proposition was to cut through fitness fads like fast diets, exhausting challenges, or 5-minute miraculous workouts.

Fitnessblender UGC content
Source

Thousands love their down-to-earth, work-smarter-not-harder approach.

People discouraged by aggressive approaches and false promises found a safe space in Fitnessblender.

This platform continues to evolve thanks to its community:

  • People get complete information and fitness education along with personalized workouts
  • They achieve goals they couldn’t reach before
  • They understand more about fitness
  • They share this transformative experience with their loved ones
  • They encourage each other in the Fitnessblender community

So, in the span of a few years, Fitnessblender has grown to offer paid subscriptions.

They also hired specialists with culturally and professionally diverse backgrounds that appeal to more communities.

Pro tip: They call their audience “Fitnessblender Family,” which shows you the importance of naming when building a brand community.

The idea of a family is compelling because you identify with the family members and subconsciously exclude those outside of the family.

Once you humanize a company and show it as an active community member, potential customers will interact with it as with an actual person.

Thus, they’ll trust the brand more and will probably choose to purchase from that brand.

5. User-Generated Content in e-Commerce Email Marketing: Kickstarter

Few companies use UGC in email marketing, although UGC stats show that this content strategy increases the click-through rate by 43%.

Also, your conversion rates can double or even triple.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Ask for customer reviews in your emails: Underline how important their opinion is for other people, but also don’t forget to thank them for being part of your tribe. Remember, you’re not asking them to donate to charity.
  2. Ask for customer photos: You can use customer incentives, such as making those photos part of a collage or automatically enrolling people in contests.

Kickstarter’s campaign is a great example because they’ve used this UGC request in their email marketing campaign instead of posting it on their website.

Kickstarter UGC ad campaign
Source

Insider tip: Don’t forget to add that content to your other emails.

E-mail marketing becomes more potent if you feature actual recommendations from real customers.

Here’s an example from Dollar Shave Club:

Dollar Shave Club ad
Source

6. Change Brand Perceptions: Hurom

Cold-press juice brand Hurom is another of inBeat Agency’s clients and they’re a prime example of how to use UGC in e-commerce.

They faced challenges with rising CPA, low profitability, and an over-reliance on promotional discounts to drive sales.

These issues stemmed from creative fatigue and outdated, overly promotional ad designs.

Solution: Hurom leveraged performance-optimized UGC creatives. The goal was to make the brand more relatable and increase its trustworthiness among potential customers.

The process involved a dedicated creative strategist who analyzed various factors of UGC, such as hooks analysis, variation of calls-to-action, and social proof.

Source

Insider tip: Hurom shifted its messaging strategy from an "always on sale" approach to a "health-focused" one. This new approach addressed key health concerns such as gut health and skin issues, making the brand more relevant to its target audience.

The results of implementing this UGC-driven strategy were significant:

  • Hurom reduced its CPA by 65%, making it more cost-effective to acquire new customers.
  • Over a 12-month period, Hurom reduced its overall CAC by 36%, further improving its profitability.
  • Hurom achieved a 2.5x increase in ROAS, meaning that for every dollar spent on advertising, they generated 2.5 times more revenue.

Genomelink, a company that likely offers genetic testing or analysis services, faced challenges with rising costs per acquisition due to creative fatigue and outdated image/carousel ads.

Due to tough economic conditions, the company's leadership also set tighter customer acquisition cost goals.

Additionally, Genomelink struggled with quickly dying creatives on content-hungry platforms like TikTok.

Solution: Genomelink implemented a comprehensive creative strategy that focused on testing various hooks, CTAs, spark ads, voiceovers, and actors.

The goal was to increase creative throughput and keep refreshing dying creatives to avoid creative fatigue.

Source

The process involved developing an ongoing creative production system where Genomelink maintained a pipeline of at least 5-10 performance-based UGC videos.

The company increased its chances of going viral and achieving success by having more video variations.

Results:

  • Within just three months, Genomelink decreased its average CAC by 3 times, making it more cost-effective to acquire new customers.
  • The ongoing creative production and testing system allowed Genomelink to scale its monthly budget to six figures, indicating substantial growth and success.

How to Create a Successful UGC Campaign on Social Media

Creating a successful UGC campaign isn’t as easy as copying what worked for other brands.

You will have to strategize your content plans, starting with your goals and finding a way to incorporate them into your content strategies.

Let’s begin:

1. Set Your Marketing Goals

  • Make sure these goals are aligned with your overall business goals.
  • Split a larger goal into more specific and measurable objectives.
  • Choose specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that show when these objectives have been reached.

2. Set Your Budget

Setting a budget is important because it keeps you in check.

It also forces you to choose the most effective strategies to reach your marketing goals and achieve business growth.

3. Understand Your Audience

Who are you talking to? Options include, but are not limited to:

  • Your existing, loyal customers
  • Prospects
  • Customers who prefer other brands
  • An audience who has never heard of you

It’s important to figure out who you are addressing because that will help you craft your message.

For example, you don’t have to build awareness with existing loyal customers through UGC; instead, you may use this tactic for upselling.

Pro tip: Use the right social listening tools to analyze different potential audiences.

Here’s what to focus on:

  • Audience features: Include all their characteristics, focusing on wants and needs. That way of thinking helps you figure out how to be persuasive and insightful when showcasing your products through UGC.
  • Channel engagement: Assess the channels your audience uses, when, and how by answering these questions:
  • When do they use this channel, and what do they do on it?
  • What type of social media content do they usually prefer?
  • What do they share, comment on, or like?
  • Do they take part in contests?
  • Do they search by hashtags?
  • How much time do they spend on average there?
  • UGC engagement: Each person interacts differently with UGC on social media. Again, answer the questions below to understand your audience better:
  • Do they specifically search for this type of content?
  • Do they engage with it? How do they do that (e.g., comments, direct messages, etc.)?
  • Have they specifically engaged with your Instagram account before? What about your competitors’ accounts?
  • What type of Instagram UGC do they usually prefer?

Understanding these factors will help you get social proof and boost engagement by becoming number one in their mental hierarchy of brands.

4. Set Your Strategy

Let’s start with this: you need a UGC strategy.

You can’t simply rummage through your tags or search by your brand keywords to find relevant content you can repurpose.

You need to be intentional about your Instagram UGC strategy, just as you learned in school about any product marketing strategy.

So, you need to:

  • Set specific guidelines: 53% of your customers want clear guidelines to follow in this UGC campaign.
  • Be specific about the hashtag they must use: This hashtag will help you identify and sort through the UGC faster.
  • Set deadlines: You need a timeline template for your campaign, a theme, or even specific props.
  • Choose the right campaign type according to the content you need.

Convincing Instagram UGC includes:

  • A contest with specific prizes
  • DIY ideas/ advice from your customers
  • Insider-type photos from your customers’ lives using your products
  • Pairing your product with other complementary ones in their routine

5. Collect UGC for Your Business

Now that you’ve seen great examples of user-generated content, it’s essential to know how to collect it.

Here are a few great ways to get started.

5.1. Get UGC Reviews

95% of people buy products based on reviews, and if a product has at least five reviews, people are 270% more likely to buy it.

Stats like these show that honest and competent reviews are the key to any purchase.

To get those reviews:

  1. Incentivize your customers to give you as many reviews as possible. Consider incentives like coupons, reward points, gift cards, and contests.
  2. Use incentive keywords and CTAs in your review requests.
  3. Organize and publish the most relevant comments:
  • On your website
  • In separate social media posts thanking the original commenters
  • In your email marketing
  • At the beginning of your YouTube videos
  • On Instagram with a specific hashtag
  • On flyers, banners, and other print media

Insider tip: You can even include negative reviews in your UGC strategy if you have a higher risk appetite. For example, you can point out that many people have highlighted a specific problem and how you plan on fixing it. That approach generates more buzz but can also increase awareness of your downsides. So, make sure you fix that “bug” quickly after first mentioning it.

5.2. Organize Hashtag Contests

A hashtag campaign elicits consumer engagement as it gets people hyped up about posting things about your brand.

The more people use this branded hashtag on social media, the trendier it becomes.

And, as you know, repetition and building a community lead to more conversions.

Pro-tip: You can easily calculate ER with our TikTok Engagment Rate calculator and Instagram Engagement Rate calculator.

Best hashtag contest practices to increase brand awareness and sales:

  • The hashtags have to be memorable
  • The hashtags have to be easy to read and write
  • The hashtags have to position your brand uniquely compared to your competition clearly

Pro tip: A larger prize helps you get more user-generated posts.

  • Studies show that incentives motivate 32% of people to post, though 60% are more motivated by recognition and status. 69% of shoppers also create and share UGC if they think it counts for something in the world.

For example, fashion designer Marc Jacobs ran a massive hiring campaign on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, asking people to post photos of them under the hashtag #CastMeMarc.

People felt the excitement, and so the UGC campaign saw about 15,000 social media posts within a day.

Pro tip: Real people are still using the hashtag, years later.

Source

5.3. Use Gamification

Gamification means asking people to complete some tasks to receive a particular reward.

As a result, you’re turning user-generated content into a game that has:

  • Levels
  • Scores – and obviously, high scores or the highest score
  • Badges
  • Points
  • Leaderboards
  • Achievements
  • Tasks
  • VIP clubs for winners

As people compete for more prizes, their brains release dopamine – the reward hormone.

That’s how you create easy customer engagement.

Besides, this technique can become a building block of your long-term relationship with your customers.

That means they’ll be more likely to think of your brand when they make their purchase decisions.

5.4. Collaborate with Influencers

Partner with influencers in your niche to create content featuring your products or services.

Influencers have a loyal following and can help generate authentic, high-quality UGC that resonates with your target audience.

Provide top content creators exclusive access to new products, behind-the-scenes experiences, or special events. In return, ask them to share their experiences and create content showcasing your brand.

For instance, inBeat worked with YouTube influencer Carter Sullivan to promote Mogo.ca.

Mogo is a mobile app targeting mainly Gen-Z-ers that allows people to budget their expenses, get out of debt, and win rewards in the process.

As you can see from the YouTube videos she created about Mogo, Carter is very passionate about this app.

You can sense that she used it, so she knows all the app’s features and intricacies.

As a result, she may recommend this app to her viewers.

Psst: you can read more about MOGO and other brand ambassador examples here.

5.5. Leverage Social Media Features

Useee social media features like polls, questions, and challenges to encourage user engagement and content creation.

For example, ask your followers to share their favorite ways to use your product or to post a picture of themselves with your product.

Pro tip: Regularly interact with your followers and customers on social media by liking, commenting, and sharing their content.

This shows appreciation and encourages them to continue creating content related to your brand.

5.6. Create a Branded Community

Build a branded community on social media or through a dedicated platform where customers can interact, share experiences, and create content related to your brand.

Encourage community members to share their stories, photos, and videos.

Pro tip: Incorporate user-generated content into your website, such as a gallery showcasing customer photos or a dedicated section for customer stories. This not only provides social proof but also encourages others to contribute their own content.

5.7. Provide Value through Educational Content

Create educational content, such as how-to guides or tutorials, that showcases your products or services.

Encourage customers to share their own tips, tricks, or results using your products, fostering a sense of community and generating valuable UGC.

You can address people with the same interests, build a strong network, and motivate your customers.

6. Aggregate and Adapt UGC to Different Channels

Once you get that user-generated content, you must organize it carefully.

Sure, UGC gives regular people a lot of freedom, but that doesn’t mean you can let your campaign unfold by itself.

That’s why you need a content calendar.

  • Decide what content is worth showing off, when, and where.
  • Crop images, add vector graphics and necessary icons, do your edits and make sure you’ve created a unique and cohesive campaign. Real users don't always have the best tools so you might polish the images to ensure they're persuasive.
  • Make sure you’ve created a unique and cohesive campaign.

Pro tip: Use every little tool your social media channel has to offer.

For example, the Tagembed Instagram Widget for website is a great all in one Instagram feed for website owners.

Repurposing content is an excellent idea because it’s an affordable way of attracting your target audience.

Here’s how you can leverage UGC on Instagram:

  • Instagram feed: Instagram posts are excellent to keep you top of mind, particularly if you’re using a memorable hashtag.

UPS’s #TheUPSStoreCustomer is a perfect example because it allows customers–in this case, B2B companies–to associate themselves with your brand. They’re entering this brand’s family and claiming their position in its community.

Source
  • Instagram ads: Ad recall on Instagram ads is 2.8x higher than ad recall from all other social networks.
  • Instagram Reels: Reels will drive engagement and mobilize conversions because videos strengthen trust. Also, videos allow people to see more about your products, which increases the feeling of authenticity. Alo Yoga offers an excellent example on its page:
Source
  • Instagram Stories: The Horse always has the best stories that showcase its products from different angles. As such, this brand can create a feeling of immediacy and will increase desire.
  • Instagram Shop: You can create an Instagram shop on the platform, then use UGC posts inside this shop to promote your products. That’s how you can validate your products and give people that sense of authenticity instead of a spammy ad feel. Here’s an excellent shot from El Cholos Kid’s Instagram page, showing photos of their customers sporting the artisan-made handbags:
Source

Pro tip: Add a quick button to allow people to buy your products immediately–you’ll see those conversions skyrocketing.

7. Monitor and Scale

Keep track of your campaign, ensuring you’re achieving the desired results.

If not, ask yourself what you can adapt, remove, or include to make things work your way.

Remember that you don't have to push your products to people; you must attract your audience to your brand.

Once you have a UGC library, you can scale up your content campaigns.

Remember that this awesome content is free and can be repurposed in any way you need to.

For example, you can leverage UGC in your email marketing campaign.

E-mail marketing has a lot of holes:

  • It’s tough to increase engagement rates.
  • Marketers are finding it hard to motivate readers to action.
  • Conversions are challenging.
  • Creating that personal bond with your subscribers is difficult.

Here’s how you can use Instagram UGC as a complimentary tool for your e-mail marketing:

Use e-mails to promote your Instagram UGC campaign

"#Overtone and show us your creations” is an excellent e-mail marketing example because the brand encourages people to connect to the Instagram community after using Overtone products.

Source

Basically, the brand doesn’t promise a good product; it promises a connection.

Of course, people must purchase conditioners to become part of that community and show off.

Source

Many other brands use e-mail marketing to promote specific Instagram contests that will bring loyal customers together.

Remember: You can also use this strategy because it allows you to connect authentically with your customers and makes content curation easy.

Include Instagram UGC inside your e-mails to drive up sales.

MeUndies has the #meundiesfam, under which people can post their photos, reviews, and videos over many social media platforms.

The company can repurpose some of these photos in their e-mails, giving credit to those who originally posted those pics.

Source

This strategy works for MeUndies because it’s a breath of fresh air:

People are self-conscious about buying lingerie, and they know most models in lingerie ads are heavily edited.

That’s why an e-mail posting regular people having fun and looking beautifully natural in their underwear can increase conversions.

Remember:

You can scale your Instagram UGC campaign on other media, not just email campaigns.

Consider adding the content you get from your happy customers to your:

  • Website (e.g., front page or galleries on product pages)
  • Blog posts
  • Ad campaigns
  • Other social media

10 Best Practices for UGC Content

User-generated content marketing starts by respecting some best practices.

If done incorrectly, it can go bad.

So, let’s see how you can build an effective UGC campaign:

1. Use a UGC Marketplace for UGC Videos

A UGC marketplace will help you source the most effective user-generated videos for your campaign.

inBeat’s UGC marketplace can connect you with the top 2% of influencers to create compelling UGC clips, such as product reviews, unboxing videos, and recommendations.

That authentic content will convince more people to try your products and create their own content about your brand.

Pro tip: Not all user-created content is amazing.

Instagrammable content requires multiple edits, and prospective customers usually lack proficient editing software. By comparison, a user-generated content platform can help you do that.

2. Align Your Incentive with the UGC Content You Want

For example, if you’re looking for customer reviews, offer a discount or free product as an incentive.

If you’re looking for social proof, give away branded products or experiences.

Ensure your incentive is attractive enough for people to create and send those videos.

3. Make It Easy for People to Participate

You need to offer your audience:

  • Clear rules and guidelines
  • A clear address where they can send you their content
  • A short, memorable hashtag they can use

4. Promote UGC Content on Social Media

Leverage your social media channels to:

  • Tease and promote hashtag contests
  • Re-explain the guidelines
  • Remind people about the campaign and the incentive
  • Create desire by showing other social content created by their peers

You must do this for all other UGC, paid ads, or influencer marketing campaigns.

Ensure your requirements, incentives, and framework respect the current legislation.

For example, you must:

  • Ask explicit permission for each piece of content.
  • Clarify that you have full rights to edit and repurpose this video content for future digital campaigns or email campaigns.
  • Check that you’re getting this content from real people.

6. Use Hashtags

A clear, memorable, and short hashtag will help people find your campaign and post their content in the right place.

That means you’ll also benefit because you can collect that UGC easier and keep track of all posts under that hashtag.

Even better, using hashtags means:

  • Leveraging social platforms’ algorithms: These algorithms make your content discoverable and help you rank higher.
  • Improving your SEO: That’s thanks to easier indexing, which leads to a more relevant ranking, getting you more organic visitors, therefore increasing your ranking, and so forth. Moreover, you can work with an professional SEO outsourcing company to optimize your strategy further.

7. Leverage Gamification or Rewards to Encourage Participation

Even your most loyal customers will hesitate to send you their videos unless you offer a big enough incentive.

Whether that’s recognition or cashback – it depends on your current audience and marketing goals.

But remember that specific UGC, like UGC videos, is hard to make and is more personal than other types of content.

Even photos are more impersonal because they lack sound and movement.

That’s why you need that strong reward and gamification to keep people interested.

8. Credit Users for Their Contribution

Crediting users may be legal in your area, but it’s also nice and effective from a marketing perspective.

Mentioning the original creator by name:

  • Strengthens your bond
  • Gives them an extra incentive to share your campaign with their loved ones
  • Creates desire because your other customers would want you to mention them

Ultimately, that’s how you get more UGC.

9. Analyze and Optimize Your UGC Strategies

Keep track of your results with an open mind.

Your campaign might not get the desired traction, but that doesn’t mean UGC isn’t the right strategy.

It may mean that you implemented it incorrectly.

So:

10. Use UGC Videos in Your Other Campaigns

Studies show that marketing e-mails with visual content like user-generated videos have:

  • Click-through rates: 300% higher
  • Open rates: 8-13% higher
  • Unsubscribe rates: Up to 75% lower
  • Chances to get shared: 40 times more

So, include your UGC photos and videos in paid ads, marketing e-mails, social media posts, and any other campaign you build in the future.

Pro tip: Use our free ad mockup generators to test different UGC ads before rolling them out.

Is User-Generated Content Free?

Yes, user-generated content is technically free when people create fresh content for you on their own accord.

These people can include your fans, employees, loyal customers, or even your company owners.

Here’s the problem:

You must use some resources to include UGC in your marketing efforts.

For example, you have to pay someone to:

  • Pick the best keywords/CTAs/incentives
  • Write emails asking for people’s reviews
  • Compress, crop, format and convert videos (e.g. from WebM to MP4), edit photos to include them in your content marketing and advertising
  • Build games with rewards
  • Post on various social media channels, like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or TikTok
  • And so forth

Consequently, strategizing and managing user-generated content is what will end up costing you.

That’s why it’s a solid idea to use content creators:

  • Top-notch content: They already know how to create high-quality content that fits your standards, with few creative directions.
  • Wide reach: Unlike your regular customers, these creators have wider reaches and more engaged audiences.
  • Cost-effective: Basically, for a similar price, you can quickly get your solid UGC to a wider, more engaged audience.

How Do You Manage User-Generated Content?

Here are our influencer platform’s top tips to manage user-generated content:

1. Find All Mentions of Your Brand on Social Media

Even if you’re not explicitly tagged, those posts can be gold.

That’s how you can find excellent posts that you can repurpose.

With the advancements in technology, many brands are also exploring the use of AI photo editors to enhance and curate user-generated images, ensuring they align with the brand's aesthetic while retaining the authenticity of the original content.

That brings us to the next point.

2. Repurpose UGC

The UGC library you’ve created will help you for years to come.

You can repurpose that content however you like within your website or social media channels.

You can also curate it to create infographics, e-mails, PowerPoint templates for your potential customers, ads, flyers, Instagram stories, jingles, and so forth.

Remember: don’t leave user-generated content to chance.

Ensure you have a thorough strategy and that you’re very precise about your goals.

You need to start with specific variables and follow clear performance indicators to evaluate the final results as you’d do for any marketing campaign.

By contrast, a poorly thought UGC campaign can bring you the other type of recognition—aka bad publicity.

To get the results you want, choose the best platforms and tools for the job.

You can try inBeat's influencer database for free and see for yourself.

3. Learn Something from Every Piece of UGC

Even if you don’t repost something, try to find its core unique insight or perspective. Every feedback is a lesson.

  • Language and values: Your audience’s language can teach you something about their values.
  • Product uses: Fans can teach you new uses for your product. Their photos can be completely opposite to what you’ve envisioned, proving your assumptions about your brand are different from their perspectives.

4. Make UGC shoppable

Enable two-step check-out because you want them to act on them quickly once people have made those purchasing decisions.

So, make sure that the check-out process runs smoothly.

Pro tip: You can evaluate collaboration cost with influencers with our calculator.

In Conclusion: UGC Marketing Can Take Your Content Strategy to the Next Level

Leveraging UGC in your marketing campaign helps you gain more recognition and awareness, creates loyalty, and improves product consideration.

All that leads to increased sales.

As you already know, the problem is knowing which strategy to use.

You will have to be very intentional in assessing your options.

For example, some people respond well to Instagram Stories, while others prefer Instagram Shopping & Feed.

You’ll have to understand very clearly what makes your audience tick.

Of course, you can and should scale up your UGC campaign once you begin producing results.

If you’re new to this, inBeat can help.

Our UGC marketplace saves you hundreds of hours you would otherwise spend with content discovery and curation.

Instead, we’ll give you access to our platform of 30,000+ creators plus a dedicated campaign strategist.

You will get access to your content library with one click and unlimited copyrights to that content.

inBeat, for free

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