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User-contributed content, also known as user-generated content (UGC), is a hot commodity among marketers for good reason. Because consumers generate it, typically without influence or involvement from a brand or company, the content is more authentic. 46% of U.S. consumers surveyed report that they’re more likely to trust a brand if an online content creator they trust has reviewed it, according to eMarketer.

Marketers looking to boost their brand’s credibility, audience engagement, brand loyalty, and prospects’ perceptions of a particular product or service turn to user-contributed content.

Read up on examples of user-contributed content and how brands can initiate UGC campaigns to gather content that can be repurposed in countless forms of promotion.

What is user-contributed content?

In general terms, UGC is unsolicited promotional content created and shared by someone other than the brand. Creators might include brand advocates, customers, your brand’s social media followers, or even employees who share something about the brand on their personal accounts.

Although user-generated content can come in a multitude of formats, here are some of the most common:

  • Testimonials and reviews
  • Videos (unboxing videos, product demos, in-store shopping, real-time experiences)
  • Blogs and articles
  • Photos (branded selfies with products or branded backdrops, before-and-after shots)
  • Contests (often hosted by brands to encourage the creation of UGC)
  • Interviews/podcast conversations (discussing products, services, or brands)
  • Survey results and comments
  • Branded hashtag campaigns
  • Social media posts

Regardless of the type of user-contributed content, your brand will benefit from this authentic and humanizing word-of-mouth marketing strategy.

How to get more UGC

Ready to beef up your assets with some UGC? Start with these simple methods.

Track brand mentions

Tagged mentions of your brand are great, but you’ll catch far more UGC with social monitoring tools. If the content is something you want to use for promotion, you can ask the creator for permission to repost it or reuse it on your website, in newsletters, or other marketing collateral.

Hold a contest

Contests are a great way to earn UGC in ways that align with your desired goals at the moment.

Simply encourage customers to tag your brand in their product, service, or brand-specific post with your chosen campaign hashtag. Then, invite your audience to vote for their favorite UGC, awarding the winners free products, deep discounts, or gift certificates.

When Adorama Camera held its solar eclipse photo contest with prizes, they chose not only a winning image but also three honorable mentions, tagging all four creators on Instagram. The brand earned a significant amount of UGC, as well as nearly 2,000 likes in the first 48 hours on the post announcing the winners.

Gather customer reviews

Unsolicited positive reviews are always prime UGC, but you can also ask satisfied customers to leave a review. Using an advocate marketing platform like Zuberance, you can ask customers to leave a review and reward them for it, in addition to creating other forms of UGC.

Created branded hashtag campaigns

When your marketing campaigns are paired with unique hashtags, it’ll be easy to find any UGC with a quick search on your social channels. Ask the content creator for permission to reuse their asset with a promise to tag them for credit and exposure.

Makeup giant Sephora encourages customers to share their purchases on social media with the hashtag #SephoraHaul. The brand reposts the UCG images on its official accounts to promote its products, boost loyalty, and build trust with consumers. The hashtag has more than 350K posts on Instagram alone.

Launch an always-on ambassador program

Reward your brand’s most loyal promoters with the gift of a VIP membership in your ambassador program. In exchange for creating genuine content for your brand, these advocates can earn a variety of privileges and/or payments, such as gift cards to your e-commerce store, free products or services, early-access shopping, deep discounts, or free shipping. You build a long-term relationship with these brand advocates and reap the benefits by using Zuberance’s platform. Plus, you’ll be provided with comprehensive analytics to track and learn from your campaigns.

Try these strategies to collect user-generated content that stands out for its authenticity and trustworthiness. You’ll not only elevate your marketing efforts with this effective word-of-mouth marketing, but you’ll also contribute to the brand’s overall success.

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Businesses leverage Zuberance to fuel their advocacy programs, integrating them into their overall marketing programs. The outcome? Lowered marketing expenses, enhanced customer engagement, improved retention rates, and most importantly, positive ROI.