Selecting a network with care and creating a social environment in which you can not only deliver content but also meaningfully engage with your customers helps you stand out from the crowd and cultivate long-term relationships.

What is the fantastic and extraordinary thing about UGC? It’s not the latest clog variation of UGG boots; it’s user-generated content!

Today we’ll look at various types of user-generated content, examples of user-generated content, where to find it, how to use it, and more!

What is user-generated content?

A user-generated content definition: UGC is anything on the web that users have a hand in making. Most of the photos, videos, and posts you see on the web are pieces of user-generated content. Basically, UGC is anything not made by a brand, though brands do leverage user-generated content for ranking.

What not to do with user-generated content?

Too often, brands take images shared online without giving proper credit or establishing an agreement with the creator.

Instead, make it a habit to reach out, ask permission and receive users’ consent before sharing their content. Whether it’s a casual snapshot or a perfectly curated piece of work, it’s not fair to the people behind the content to use it in any context when you don’t have permission. After all, building that trust is how you encourage the type of two-way relationship that benefits both brand and consumer.

Of course, this does not imply that you will pay for UGC. However, there may be times when a creator legitimately requests payment for a work of art or content that you share. Before finalizing any agreements, consult with your legal team.

And if you’re unable to compensate users, remove their content if you’ve already published it, and instead collaborate with users who are interested in sharing their content with you sans formal payment.

Now let’s dive into our five steps toward getting the most out of a user-generated content strategy.

Step 1: Choose networks most impactful to your campaign

It’s important to know not only where your audience lives on social, but where potential advocates have the most influence. Instagram is naturally great for sharing visuals, but first, ask yourself if that’s the network where your target audience lives.

Consider your audience and goals when choosing a social network.

Selecting a network with care and creating a social environment in which you can not only deliver content but also meaningfully engage with your customers helps you stand out from the crowd and cultivate long-term relationships.

Marketers should not only be looking at where they currently have a social presence, but where their consumers want them to engage more. For instance, when asked which platforms they use most, a majority of consumers point to Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram as their top three social networks in ranking order.

Facebook also happens to be where a majority of consumers (78%) say they follow brands.

Step 2: Set specific user-generated content goals

To be successful, your UGC plan, like any other aspect of your content strategy, requires specific goals and guidelines. Sure, user-generated content (UGC) is informal and spontaneous. However, brands can use it to make up a larger portion of their overall business strategy.

GoPro action cameras, for example, recognized quickly that their own take on UGC would rarely show the product because its users are out doing what they’re meant to do with the product.

This led the brand to develop clear goals and incentive programs to keep that content firehose on.

Everyone wants more likes, but setting engagement as a goal is a smart target for UGC campaigns. Influencers tend to spark conversation with their content. Seeing more comments, likes, and mentions toward your channels shows signs of success.

According to the State of UGC 2021 Report, 93% of markers agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands. People trust people. Whether you’ve had some bad press or you’re starting fresh, building credibility is a great goal.

So how do you measure it? UGC establishes credibility with consumers, so try to track keywords or phrases you know are associated with your brand.

If your team is in need of more social content, UGC can help save a lot of time. By aggregating hashtags, comments, and photos, you save time in the creation process.

Step 3: Tell your audience what content you want

Half of all consumers (50%) wish brands would tell them what kind of content to create and share.

How will your audience know if you don’t explicitly tell them to participate in user-generated content?

Whether you’re soliciting images or customer feedback, your advocates require proper direction. Be open and honest about your brand’s rules and regulations regarding UGC.

There are countless ways to encourage UGC — campaign hashtags, social media contests. With a single hashtag, you can build focused interest and guide your audience to create content inspired by your campaign.

For consumers, receiving a mention or repost from a brand can be just the right surprise and delight moment. One report cites 51% of consumers as more likely to engage with and/or purchase from a brand if it shared their social posts in its marketing.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to engage with your audience because you missed someone using your brand in a hashtag. UGC can be tricky, but if you follow the steps above, you can use it strategically.

Above all, use this opportunity as a chance to interact more with your audience and build a stronger community among your followers.

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