User-Generated Content

Discover the power of user-generated content (UGC) in your marketing strategy with our comprehensive guide.

Sprinklr Team
May 2, 2023
3 min read

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Table of Contents

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created and shared by a brand's fans, such as text, images, videos or reviews. 

Brands can leverage UGC to showcase what their fans are saying and to increase customer engagement with their services. For instance, many people share their flight journeys on social media, which brands can collate with user permissions and use to create a live gallery or post that showcases these stories. This helps to highlight the ease of traveling with the brand and how many people are enjoying its services.

However, UGC is often scattered across multiple channels, making it challenging to track and find the best content to publish on social media. UGC can come from customers, brand advocates and employees, and it may also include content from UGC creators.

Why is user-generated content important for your brand?

User-generated content is incredibly important for your brand's social media marketing strategy. It allows you to showcase your best services and products through the eyes of your fans, highlighting how your products are being enjoyed by your audience. When used strategically, UGC can improve your social media following and even motivate dormant customers to make a purchase.

UGC can be particularly effective in converting customers who may be hesitant to buy a product. By creating galleries of live feedback and authentic customer experiences, brands can build trust with their audience and convince potential customers to make a purchase. The inclusion of UGC in your brand's social media marketing can help customers relate to other users and develop a deeper connection with your brand.

5 Benefits of user-generated content with examples

Here are some benefits of user-generated content with examples:

  1. Builds brand credibility: UGC is often viewed as more authentic than brand-generated content, which can help build trust with potential customers. For example, Airbnb showcases user-generated photos and reviews to showcase its properties, which helps build credibility and increase bookings.

  2. Drives engagement: UGC can lead to increased engagement with a brand's social media channels. For instance, Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" campaign encouraged fans to share photos of personalized bottles of Coke, which generated a significant amount of UGC and helped boost engagement.

  3. Increases reach: UGC can also help expand a brand's reach by tapping into its fans' networks. GoPro encourages users to share their action-packed photos and videos on social media, which helps promote the brand to a wider audience.

  4. Cost-effective: UGC can be a cost-effective way for brands to generate content for their marketing campaigns. For example, Starbucks' White Cup Contest asked fans to decorate their white cups and share their designs on social media, which generated a wealth of UGC that the brand could use in its marketing.

  5. Encourages loyalty: By showcasing UGC, brands can make their fans feel valued and recognized, which can help build loyalty. For instance, Lululemon's #TheSweatLife campaign encourages fans to share photos of themselves practicing yoga, which helps create a sense of community and loyalty among its fan base.

User-generated content vs Influencer marketing

When it comes to promoting products or services, brands often face a dilemma in choosing between user-generated content (UGC) and influencer marketing. While both techniques have their advantages and can be used together, there are key differences between them.

Here are some points to consider when comparing UGC and influencer marketing:

  • UGC is generated by a brand's fans and customers, while influencer marketing involves collaborating with popular social media figures who have a large following.

  • UGC is often more authentic and trustworthy since it comes from real people, while influencer marketing can sometimes come across as forced or inauthentic.

  • Influencer marketing can be more expensive since brands need to pay the influencers, while UGC can be gathered and shared for free (with proper permissions).

  • UGC can help build a strong community around a brand, as fans feel valued and recognized, while influencer marketing is more focused on reaching a wider audience.

  • Influencer marketing can be more effective for reaching new audiences who are not yet familiar with a brand, while UGC can be more effective for nurturing existing relationships and increasing engagement.

Both UGC and influencer marketing can be valuable tools for social media marketing, and you should consider their specific goals and audience when deciding which approach to take. In some cases, a combination of both techniques may be the best option for achieving maximum impact.

How to execute a user-generated content campaign effectively

To execute a successful user-generated content campaign, you need to do the following:

Step 1: Develop a strategy

  • Define the objective of the campaign and the target audience

  • Identify the social media platforms that fit the campaign objective

  • Plan for the campaign timeline and content types

  • Determine the hashtag(s) to be used

  • Identify the metrics for measuring success

Step 2: Content shortlisting

  • Review and shortlist content that fits the campaign objective and aligns with the brand's values

  • Ensure the content is high-quality, engaging and relevant

  • Categorize the content for easy retrieval and future use

Step 3: Permission and legal compliance

  • Ensure that user-generated content complies with legal and privacy regulations

  • Establish a process for obtaining permissions from content creators

  • Vet the user's profile to ensure they align with the brand's values

  • Discuss terms and conditions with the content creator, including compensation (if applicable)

Step 4: Content modification and approval

  • Modify the content to align with the brand's voice and style

  • Ensure proper attribution to the original creator

  • Obtain final approval from the content creator before publishing

Step 5: Publishing and promotion

  • Determine the appropriate channels to publish the content

  • Choose the best time to publish to optimize engagement

  • Promote the content using various channels, including social media, email, and websites

  • Create a live gallery to showcase user-generated content and encourage engagement

Step 6: Leveraging user-generated content

  • Analyze the engagement metrics and audience demographics to identify potential customers

  • Use fan comments and reviews in sales collateral and other marketing materials

  • Use user-generated content to enhance brand credibility and trust

  • Design content to showcase products or services to a broader audience

How to leverage user-generated content to drive engagement & conversions on social media

Best practices for managing user-generated content

Here are some best practices for managing user-generated content:

  1. Have a clear UGC policy: Develop a clear and concise UGC policy that outlines what type of content is allowed, the platform(s) it can be posted on and any restrictions or guidelines for user-generated content.

  2. Monitor content closely: Continuously monitor the content being generated by users to ensure it adheres to the UGC policy. Brands should also be vigilant about any inappropriate or off-brand content that could harm their reputation.

  3. Obtain consent and rights: Before using any user-generated content, ensure that consent has been obtained from the creator and that the brand has the necessary rights to use and repurpose the content.

  4. Give credit where it's due: Always give credit to the creator of the content. This can be in the form of tagging their social media handle, displaying their name or including a link to their website.

  5. Engage with your community: Engage with your community and show appreciation for their content. Respond to comments and messages, share user-generated content on your social media pages and show that you value their contributions.

  6. Showcase the best content: Feature the best user-generated content on your website, social media pages and other marketing materials. This can encourage more users to create content and share their experiences with your brand.

  7. Encourage user-generated content: Encourage your audience to create and share content by running UGC contests or providing incentives for content creation. This can not only increase engagement but also generate valuable and authentic content for your brand.

By following these best practices, you can effectively manage and leverage user-generated content to build your brand, increase engagement and drive conversions.

The impact of user-generated content on SEO

User-generated content has the potential to significantly impact a brand's SEO efforts by improving search engine rankings, increasing website traffic and engagement, leading to longer website visits and enhancing the user experience. Brands that effectively leverage UGC in their SEO strategy can benefit from increased visibility and greater customer loyalty.

Here are some of the ways in which UGC can positively affect SEO:

  • Improved search engine rankings: When users generate content, it can lead to a wealth of unique and relevant content for a website. This, in turn, can improve search engine rankings for specific keywords and phrases related to the content.

  • Increased website traffic: UGC can also attract more website visitors and lead to increased website traffic. As users share their experiences and opinions about a brand, their content can draw in more people who are interested in learning more about the brand and its offerings.

  • Higher engagement: UGC can also increase user engagement with a website. When users see their content shared on a brand's website or social media channels, it can motivate them to continue engaging with the brand and creating more content.

  • Longer website visits: UGC can also lead to longer website visits. When users see UGC that is relevant and interesting to them, they are more likely to spend more time on a website and explore other pages.

  • Improved user experience: UGC can also enhance the user experience on a website. When users see content from other users, it can provide a sense of community and connection, making them feel more invested in the brand and its offerings.

How Sprinklr can help you with all things UGC 

Sprinklr offers comprehensive tools to manage user-generated content. With its AI-powered platform, brands can collect, curate and manage UGC across all their social channels. 

Here are some ways Sprinklr can help you with UGC:

  • Collecting UGC: Sprinklr enables brands to collect UGC from various social media platforms in real time. With its Social Listening module, you can monitor brand mentions and relevant hashtags across various social channels. It allows you to filter the content based on various parameters, including keywords, demographics and location, making it easier to find the right content.

  • Curating UGC: With Sprinklr's AI-powered Smart Compliance module, brands can easily curate and filter the UGC they collect. The tool uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to identify and remove spam or inappropriate content. Brands can also customize their moderation rules to fit their brand guidelines and ensure that only relevant and high-quality content is displayed.

  • Managing UGC: Sprinklr offers a centralized platform to manage and organize UGC. With its Digital Asset Management module, you can store and organize all your UGC in one place. It allows you to categorize the content based on various parameters, including source, type, and format. You can also tag the content for easier retrieval and use in future campaigns.

  • Publishing UGC: Sprinklr makes it easy to publish UGC across multiple social channels. With its Social Publishing & Engagement module, brands can schedule and publish UGC across various social media platforms. It also allows you to customize the content for each channel and audience, making sure it fits the brand guidelines and resonates with the target audience.

  • Measuring UGC impact: Sprinklr offers a comprehensive Reporting & Analytics module to measure the impact of UGC on your brand's social media performance. With this tool, you can track the engagement, reach and sentiment of the UGC campaigns. It also offers insights into the user-generated content that resonates the most with your audience, allowing you to refine and improve your UGC strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

The types of user-generated content include text, images, videos and reviews. Text-based UGC involves users sharing their thoughts and opinions through written content. Image-based UGC includes user-shared photos or graphics related to a brand or product. Video-based UGC involves users sharing videos related to a brand or product. Reviews are also a form of UGC where customers share their feedback and experience with a brand or product.

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