How to Use User-Generated Content (UGC) on Social Media

How to Use User-Generated Content (UGC) on Social Media

Social media experts have often quoted the 80/20 rule – a rule that states that only 20% of your posts should directly promote your business. While the 80/20 rule is less of a rule and more of a guideline, it really begs the question of where the other 80% of the content is going to come from. At least some of that can come from user-generated content, also known by the abbreviation, UGC.

In this post, you’ll learn how you can utilize this unique content type and why you should be doing so. Special thanks to Burst for the cover photo.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like. It’s content that is created by your customers that you are able to repost. This often takes the form of photos of customers using or interacting with your product or service in some way. It could also be reviews, testimonials, videos, or anything else that can be shared on social media channels!

Why Should You Promote User-Generated Content?

The main reason to use user-generated content is that followers are much more likely to engage with it than normal branded content. It comes across as authentic because it shows that real people are using the product, and it’s more akin to a friend or family member posting something than the brand itself.

It looks like normal content in someone’s feed, rather than high-quality studio photos that immediately scream “brand!”. People trust word-of-mouth and reviews more than just about anything. If a company had manufactured the great photos or reviews that real customers post, then the audience would see right through it.

user-generated content person taking photo of food with phone

Where Do You Find Content That Users Created?

Customers who have a great experience are likely to share that experience online. When you find out that you were tagged, or a user uses a branded hashtag, all you need to do is ask for permission to use it. The user will almost always be happy to oblige, and you can simply share the content! Sometimes a user may ask for compensation, so be prepared to either pay them money or to decline and ask someone else to use their content.

If you’re not getting any user content passively, then you can always ask for it! A good call-to-action asking for images of customers using the product or service can prompt a lot of great content. You don’t always need an excuse, but running a contest or using a branded hashtag for a new release are great ways to encourage user activity.

How to Use User-Generated Content on Different Platforms

User content works differently on each platform. Instagram is one of the best sources for user content because it is so image-focused, and because brands and individual accounts work the same way. Through hashtags, you’ll be able to find user content that you weren’t actually tagged in. However, since Instagram doesn’t let you download photos, you’ll need to use some third-party tools to do this.

For Facebook, you will need to rely on comments, because you won’t be able to see personal posts, but you will simple be able to download and post images that users leave in comments. Make sure you enable photos in comments first!

Twitter has built-in sharing tools with the Retweet button. This makes it incredibly easy to share text, images, videos, or links with added commentary, simply by pressing a button.

No matter where you share your customer’s content, it is best to add some commentary to it. Give context to the photo and be sure to tag them in it or at least mention their name.

person taking user-generated content photo of wall on phone

Learn From the Submitted Content

There is a lot you can learn from the content generated by your users. Perhaps they are using your products in a new way. You’ll probably see some trends that can give you more information about who your followers really are. You can learn about the language your customers use, see what combinations of hashtags they use, and notice what you don’t see just as much as what you do see.

Those who made a post just for their purchase are also likely to be super-fans. They are either repeat-customers or customers who had an amazing first-time purchase. Using their content only makes the experience even better for them, and lets them know that the brand cares!

User-generated content can be a powerful weapon in your social media arsenal. Like all good social media tactics, it should be used sparingly. Make it count when you use it! There are a lot of rules to using this type of content, so make sure that you always ask permission and compensate your fans and followers for their awesome content.

Read next: Most Useful Social Media KPIs to Track Infographic

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