What Is UGC in Social Media Marketing?

Want to boost your reach and engagement? User-generated content, also known as UGC, can help skyrocket awareness for your brand across every social media platform.

user-generated-content - two women holding mobile phones

When you’re selling a product or service, spreading the word about your company is one of the biggest priorities of any marketing activity. Whether you’re investing heavily in paid advertising or planning events to attract your target audience, acquiring new customers can be costly and time-consuming. Why not get your customers to help you, using UGC?

Not all campaigns should have to wipe out your marketing budget. It’s possible to create a successful campaign based on user-generated content that your customers create for you — just because they love your product.

If you’re wondering, “What does UGC mean?”, you’re in the right place. User-generated content (or UGC) means that the content was created by a normal person – a consumer, a fan, or maybe a social media creator. The image or video created by a “normal person” isn’t professionally made or shot in a studio and that makes it more authentic, more realistic, more relatable and less staged and less promotional.

Younger consumers can see right through photoshoots and professional ads — they don’t trust messages that are coming directly from brands. Using UGC for your campaigns is a marketing trend that is growing in popularity by the day. The growth of social media platforms and picture-sharing apps is driving the desire more honesty and authenticity. And nothing is better than a recommendation of a product by a real person. UGC has made it easier for customers to share their opinions online, and that content can be re-used by brands (with their permission) to great effect.

Let’s explore “What is UGC?” further. User-generated content works much like word-of-mouth referrals – we know it works but we can’t see it happen. We’ll explain how you can incorporate a unique UGC strategy into your brand and social media marketing efforts for maximum success.

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What Does UGC Mean?

Simply put, user-generated content is any content online that a user or customer has been involved in creating. At Greenfly, we also call this media FGC, or Fan-Created Content.

Today, you’ll most commonly see UGC campaigns on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Customers are encouraged to post photos of themselves holding products, attending events, or enjoying a company’s experience.

UGC is marketing content your online community of real customers creates for you. It’s based on their opinions, ideas, feedback and experiences related to your brand’s services or products. This content can come in the form of online reviews, TikTok videos or Reels, photos, customer feedback or more. 

User-generated content plays a vital role in your marketing funnel. And, it can influence other consumers, inform purchasing decisions, and increase brand awareness on social media significantly.

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Why Is UGC Important?

Any content customers have created is a vital addition to any marketing campaign or marketing strategy. It has the power to create social proof, engage with prospective customers and create brand advocates. These evangelists will spread the word about your brand on other social media platforms and in real life. And social media users trust UGC because it’s created by peers, it looks authentic (because it is) and a non-paid endorsement goes a long way.

Marketing strategies aim to increase brand awareness and exposure. These are two things that consumer-generated content can help achieve quickly and effectively. Encouraging existing customers to share content on their social platforms can accomplish many goals. This activity can help make a branded hashtag go viral, bring more followers to your Facebook page, and bring in a new audience of loyal customers.

Another benefit of user-generated content is that it can give your brand access to a range of diverse and creative media. This may be content that you may have never thought of creating yourself. Your customers can be very influential and engaging, coming across as more trustworthy and reliable than your average social media influencer. This quality makes them ideal for promoting your product. They can develop new, fresh ideas without a marketing team’s typical constraints.

When creating content in-house, you’re limited to the ideas and resources that you have within your team. But, when you open this content creation up to a larger audience, you can include various ideas from people worldwide. This capability can help you develop much more interesting and engaging content.

Finally, user-generated content is important as it will give your brand access to an unlimited flow of content. Once one customer has posted about your product or service, it can be a domino effect to get even more customers talking about you. This momentum will eventually lead to an unlimited resource of content you can repurchase on your own social media channels.

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Types of User-Generated Content

Most of the time, you’ll find that user-generated content can be grouped into three categories: text, pictures and videos. All of these categories can be equally as beneficial to a brand. But they each can serve a different purpose and should be repurposed appropriately.

Here are some of the different types of user-generated content that your brand could make use of in your user-generated content strategy:

  • Instagram post, reel, or story
  • YouTube video posted on a YouTube channel
  • Website product page review
  • TikTok video
  • Text update like a Facebook status or a Tweet
  • Testimonial on a review site
  • Blog post
  • Live stream
  • Q&A forum
  • Case study
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UGC Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

As the growth of user-generated content continues to make a splash online, many brands are starting to rethink their approach to traditional marketing.

A traditional marketing strategy is something that brands have followed for years. It essentially consists of content created by an in-house marketing team. This content is not attributed to a specific person. A team of professional photographers, designers, or copywriters usually creates it.

This conventional marketing approach has been extremely effective in the past. However, with the growth of social media, it’s no longer as impactful as it once was.

The fall of traditional ads is multi-faceted. They’re not personal and hard to relate to, and consumers are beginning to lose trust in the voices of large companies. Instead, they’re far more likely to trust the opinion of someone just like them. They trust a person taking a photo or video in a relaxed environment away from all the professional lights and video scripts.

This is where UGC content marketing comes in. It includes the user-generated content marketing campaigns created for you by your audience. The content is publicly available, made by the average person, and is less polished and more authentic. And it doesn’t feel like the content creator is just reading from a script the brand has provided them.

Ultimately, consumers trust content created by people who are just like them. The celebrity influencer is not the most trusted source and will usually command an extremely high price for their content. These factors make them an expensive marketing tool.

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Examples of User Generated Content

The average American now spends 39% of their weekly media time with user-generated content. For teens, that figure jumps to 56%. So, if you’re not using this type of media as part of your content strategy, you could be missing out on some important promotional opportunities.

User-generated content can come in many different forms. Here are some user-generated content examples that showcase just how valuable they can be on different UGC software platforms:

  • A customer who has used your product writes a public review on your website explaining exactly why they enjoy using it.
  • A new customer who has ordered from you for the first time posts an unboxing video on their Youtube channel where they test your products.
  • A customer films a haul for their TikTok page, which includes showing some of your products.
  • A customer attends one of your live-streamed events and showcases it to all of their followers.
  • Customers participate in a Q&A forum where they discuss your services and why they would recommend them to other people they know.
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How To Incorporate User-Generated Content Marketing Into Your Business

Using authentic user-generated content in your marketing plan is becoming a very important factor in getting your business to its goals.

Valuable user-generated content has the power to do several things:

  • Boost engagement on your social media posts
  • Improve influencer marketing campaigns
  • Increase conversions
  • LIft brand loyalty
  • Drive sales

This type of content marketing strategy can achieve all of these things much faster than any other digital marketing tool.

If you’ve thought about incorporating user-generated content into your content strategy to increase conversions for your brand, you may have relied on many manual user-generated content tips and steps for searching media and securing approvals for use. These include individually searching for comments about your brand and tagged photos and hashtags; Googling your brand’s name; and then tracking down explicit permission for each piece of content you want to use.

Searching for UGC content is NOT the best way to find UGC that works. To get exactly the UGC you want (and get it without the hassle of searching) just ask your customers for it! You’ll need a simple service like Greenfly +Engage to do this, but you’ll never ever have to search hashtags again or ask creators for permission. All UGC submissions are rights-cleared so you can edit and use however you see fit.

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What is UGC?

User-generated content (UGC) is a popular way to boost engagement and create a loyal customer base in the digital age.

Creating UGC involves your customers creating content for you, whether through blog posts, videos or social media updates. It’s an effective way to get more users talking about your brand and creating content related to your products.

The key benefits of user-submitted content include higher conversion rates, more authentic content and enhanced brand loyalty.

What is UGC in social media?

Social media is a popular place for UGC content. It offers an accessible forum for people to share videos, stories and photos that can showcase different brands’ products or services.

Social media content can come in many different forms and is extremely accessible. If you successfully use your customer’s content for marketing your business, you can drive users to your website, increase sales and maximize profit opportunities.

What are some UGC examples?

Your user-generated content, important for growing your fan engagement, does not just have to be text and photo content. It can be dynamic and incorporate many different forms of media that interest your customers. These include:

  • Blog posts
  • Live streams
  • Q&A forums
  • Tiktok videos
  • Instagram stories

Many brands have taken it upon themselves to reach out to customers in new and exciting ways, with excellent results. Take Doritos, which created its own design site where customers can create branded images and videos.

Similarly, Glossier, a beauty brand, fostered an entire community of loyal fans willing to post photos of their products. This activity forms a large part of Glossier’s Instagram content strategy.

Finally, many sports brands such as Lazer Sport and OSPREY have used user-generated content to their advantage. They’ve employed it as a method of social proof and to celebrate their fans.

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Kick Start Your User-Generated Content Creation Journey With Greenfly +Engage

Using user-generated content in your marketing strategy has the power to engage your fans and connect with them on a whole new level.

However, crowdsourcing is a much better solution than manually searching for content yourself if you want to find the most appropriate content for your social platforms.

With this in mind, the Greenfly +Engage platform was designed to rewrite your UGC playbook. Social media teams can simplify and automate the process of sourcing rights-cleared user-generated content while maximizing reach and impact.

Ask your followers for specific photos, create an easy process for submitting content, and bring your audience engagement to a whole new level with Greenfly +Engage.

Want to find out how you can find success with your new social media strategy? Request a demo and find out how Greenfly can set you up for success.

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