How To Utilize User-Generated Content in Social Media Marketing

Hannah LushinMarch 16, 2022Tips

Although not a new concept, User-Generated Content has seen a resurgence lately and in new formats, with social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook making this type of content a priority on their newsfeeds . As a social media manager, User-Generated Content, also called UGC, is an important concept to grasp and incorporate into your 2022 campaigns. Read on for a breakdown of the basics and how to best utilize this content for your social media marketing strategies. 

What is User-Generated Content?

UGC is defined as any form of content related to your brand, created by someone who’s not an official representative of your business (e.g., a consumer). An early example of UGC is unboxing videos, where consumers create their own review videos as they opened the product’s packaging. These unboxing videos, which originated on YouTube and then spread to the rest of the social media sphere, started as a fun fad, but as this trend hit its peak in 2016 , brands took great care to include this type of video content into their marketing strategies. 

Today, UGC spans beyond videos to photos, memes, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, dances (thank you TikTok!), online reviews, podcasts, songs, and more. And it doesn’t just come from average consumers, but can also be created by brand loyalists, or even employees.

Is UGC for Me?

Thinking about incorporating UGC into your 2022 social media strategy but still on the fence? Here are some stats that might change your mind

  • The global user-generated content market size is expected to reach $18.65 billion by 2028.
  • 93% of marketers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than that created by the brands themselves.
  • Over 90% of consumer purchasing decisions are being heavily influenced by UGC. 

While there are always setbacks that can occur when using content created by someone outside of your organization, with UGC, the benefits tend to outweigh the risks. In general, consumers are willing to trust other consumers , the unbiased, third-party, or word-of-mouth endorsement, more than they will trust a brand message. In 2022, it really comes down to authenticity, which is something UGC has in spades. Gone are the days where posts could only include shots from a professional photographer. Now, UGC has paved the way for mobile phone-quality snaps and videos , and social media audiences are here for it in a big way (a reported 80% of consumers found photos from other customers more valuable than those from brands or retailers). This not only saves a marketing department valuable time but is an extremely cost-effective strategy (especially considering influencer marketing can run your business into the millions in 2022).

So how do you incorporate UGC into your regular social media calendar? 

Who’s Excelling with a UGC-Strategy?

While consumers do a lot of the UGC creative legwork, social media managers still play a role in overall UGC strategy, posting (and giving credit to original creators !), and more. 

One of the best ways to learn how to incorporate UGC into your marketing strategy is to see who’s currently succeeding at it! Here are a couple great examples:

GoPro Gets Creative

 GoPro’s UGC strategy is multi-faceted: The company hosts consumer awards, daily content challenges and more on their YouTube channel, constantly encouraging their audiences to up the creativity in their content. 

LuluLemon Sweats It Out

LuluLemon asked their consumers to share #thesweatlife, encouraging them to post workout pictures (while wearing LuluLemon of course). This campaign had great success for the brand, creating more awareness and helping to strengthen the company’s brand ambassador program. 

Coca-Cola Shares a Coke

A classic UGC campaign example is when Coca-Cola released limited edition bottles featuring over 1,000 names way back in 2011, inspiring “shared moments of happiness”. The company had such great success with this UGC campaign that they revived it again in 2016, this time using popular song lyrics. Both of these UGC campaign iterations brought the company a surge in awareness as well as increased revenues.

User-Generated Content can be a great way to increase brand awareness, up your ROI, and create a community of invested consumers, all in a cost-effective way. Now is the perfect time to figure out how it fits into your brand’s social media marketing strategy!

How are you using User-Generated Content in your 2022 marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments!

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