The power of user-generated content (UGC) is real. Now that nearly everyone has the power to embrace their creative passions (thanks to smartphones and editing software), more consumers are creating unique content than ever before.
There’s a good reason why so many brands are sharing user-generated content – it works. People trust other people more than they trust brands, so it makes sense that social media posts, videos, and product reviews created by consumers drive more results than polished visuals and professional marketing.
If you’re looking for new ways to amplify your marketing strategy and connect with your audience, user-generated content marketing will be your MVP. Here’s how to get started.
UGC Meaning: What Is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content is original, brand-specific content created by consumers. Chances are, if you follow popular brands on social media, you’ve already seen user-generated content marketing in action.
When you have a strong brand with loyal fans, your UGC is invaluable. Why? For one, there are some pretty creative people who find innovative ways to spotlight your products. The artistic genius of user-generated content is unlimited. Even high-end marketing agencies would be hard-pressed to compete with the creativity of your top fans.
User-generated content marketing can help you get a buzz going about your brand by tapping into your consumers’ creativity. The best part? You’re letting your fans do the work for you. And that can take a load off of content creation, especially if you’re running the show by yourself.
Benefits of User-Generated Content
There’s a real temptation for business owners to jump on the latest trends as soon as the opportunity arises. You’ve used your creativity to build a brand, so it makes sense to keep up with the latest marketing craze. Of course, this can be problematic when the latest trends don’t actually drive results.
The good news? That isn’t the case for UGC marketing. Here’s how user-generated content can help you grow your brand and give your audience a voice.
It Builds Community
UGC gives your consumers an opportunity to participate in your growth instead of watching from the sidelines. It’s one of the best ways to build brand affinity. People thrive to be part of something bigger than themselves, and UGC builds a loyal community of creators.
UGC marketing isn’t reserved for social media. You can use UGC in your marketing efforts across multiple channels, including your website. Need some inspo? Try adding user-generated product pictures to your landing pages to boost conversion rates.
It’s Social Proof
If you read reviews before you order something online, you’re probably already aware that the best reviews come with pictures. UGC plays the same role. It’s social proof that your product is worth buying. When your audience sees people like them using your product, they’ll be that much closer to hitting Buy Now.
It Works With Social Commerce
The future of eCommerce? Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops. Let’s say you notice user-generated content on Instagram of a cute dress. You can tap to learn more, decide to purchase, and checkout, all without leaving the app.
It’s More Affordable Than Influencer Marketing
Everyone loves seeing their favorite influencer using a product, but influencer marketing isn’t within every brand’s budget. UGC marketing is a cost-effective strategy to scale your business with unique content. Implementing a social wall to curate and showcase this content amplifies its impact.
User-Generated Content Types
All user-generated content falls under three main categories: text, picture, or video. Some common forms of USC include:
- Social media: When it comes to products, seeing is believing, especially when it’s someone you know and trust doing the showing. People are constantly sharing pictures and videos across social media, all while tagging brands to show off outfit details, home décor, unboxing videos, and more.
- Blog posts: Let’s say you sell jewelry. Whenever a fashion blogger (that you’re not sponsoring) mentions your products in a blog, it’s UGC. If your product or brand is featured as an example in round-up content (i.e., “10 cutest gold rings”), that counts as UGC, too.
- Reviews and testimonials: When your customers write reviews on your website or use third-party review sites (like Google), this type of feedback is also UGC.
UGC Best Practices
You’ve learned what user-generated content is and how it works in brand marketing, but how can you use it to grow your brand?
It’s not enough to just post UGC and hope for the best. You need to use it right. Here’s how:
Know What to Share on Certain Channels
It doesn’t take a seasoned marketer to know that different types of content perform differently on different channels. Facebook is ideal for sharing customer videos, while your user-generated content Instagram strategy might include product pictures. Use your best judgment to share relevant content across different channels.
Make Sure Your UGC is Valuable
Just like any other form of content, UGC should be valuable to your audience. Think about how you present UGC and figure out how you can make it relevant to your brand mission. Let your UGC highlight your product, inspire, and help potential consumers make an informed decision.
Offer Something in Return
To inspire your followers to create user-generated content, do your best to incentivize them. Most brands organize social media contests with prizes, but your reward can be anything from an Instagram feature to a gift card.
Always Ask Permission
When people tag your brand, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want you to repost their content. It’s always a good idea to ask the original creator for permission first. Plus, it’s a surefire way to turn followers into brand advocates.
Examples of User-Generated Content
At Picsart, we highlight standout creators across the globe, including designers, musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs. Let’s look at some examples of our user-generated content in action:
1. TikTok: Whether it’s funny, satisfying, interesting, or entertaining, the message of TikTok remains the same: Everyone can be a creator. We love sharing user-generated content across Tiktok, from before-and-after edits to how-to guides.
2. Instagram: We feature UGC on Instagram by encouraging creators to use our #heypicsart hashtag. The Picsart Instagram page features everything from creator edit inspo to user-generated reels.
View this post on Instagram
3. Facebook: The Picsart Facebook page features beautiful designs from Picsart creators.
Launch Your Own User-Generated Content Marketing Plan
Ready to ignite your marketing strategy with user-generated content? Here’s how to spotlight your biggest fans and upgrade your content with your own UGC marketing strategy.
1. Know Your Goals
Even though countless brands have UGC at their disposal, few actually have plans to use it. Consider what you want to get from a UGC marketing campaign. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Are you trying to promote a specific product? With clear goals in mind, you’ll be able to organize UGC to work toward your desired outcome.
2. Think About Your Style Guide
Define what UGC looks like for your brand. Do you want images with a specific color palette for certain channels? When you can keep your user-generated content consistent with your branding, you’ll create a cohesive brand image that makes your brand more memorable.
3. Build a Creator Community
What’s the best way to drive long-term UGC? Create a centralized destination for your creators, then ask them to create content for your brand. Not only will this help grow your content library, but it’s also a great way to form connections with your biggest fans.
4. Be Specific
Sometimes, all you need to do is ask and ye shall receive. Now that you know exactly what kind of visuals you’re after, you can make content guidelines to help push creators in the right direction.
5. Start a Contest
Contests are one of the most effective ways to drive UGC. Be sure to request content that aligns with your visual identity. A little incentive can go a long way in driving quality content from your audience.
6. Track Your Efforts
The only way to know whether UGC is working is to track your efforts. Be sure to review your social media engagement and landing page conversion rate so you can understand how UGC influences your brand growth.
Picsart is a full ecosystem of free-to-use content, powerful tools, and creator inspiration. With a billion downloads and more than 150 million monthly active creators, Picsart is the world’s largest creative platform. Picsart has collaborated with major artists and brands like BLACKPINK, Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, Sanrio: Hello Kitty, Warner Bros. Entertainment, iHeartMedia, Condé Nast, and more. Download the app or start editing on web today to enhance your photos and videos with thousands of quick and easy editing tools, trendy filters, fun stickers, and brilliant backgrounds. Unleash your creativity and upgrade to Gold for premium perks!