Let Them Create: Harnessing User-Generated Content For Marketing

In most marketing campaigns, you create the content. However, giving your audience the opportunity to come up with content for you can help you create something truly interesting. Learn how to effectively leverage user generated content and attract more engagements to your brand’s social marketing.

The benefits of user generated content

Encouraging user generated content (UGC) has some very important benefits you should be aware of:

  • Increased engagements: A study by market research firm comScore reveals that audience engagements increase by 28% with user generated content.
  • More credibility: More than half of consumers trust content created by their fellow consumers over brand-prepared ones. Adding plenty of user generated content to your marketing will improve your perceived credibility.
  • Improved SEO rankings: According to Kissmetrics, 25% of the traffic search results generated for the 20 biggest brands lead to user generated content. This can build brand recognition significantly.
  • Greater conversions: Consumers who view UGC while doing their transactions are 4.6% more likely to purchase the products featured.

All of these benefits highlight the significant impact that user generated content can have on your marketing campaign.

Planning your UGC campaign

Just like other marketing campaigns, you need to have a clear set of goals for the user generated content that you want to have created. This not only sets the kind of content to ask your audience for, but also how you will use it. Examples of goals that you might want to set are:

  • Connecting with your customer base deeper.
  • Improving the performance of your ads.
  • Increasing traffic to your product pages.

Flesh out these goals further to give yourself a better picture of what you need to accomplish for your UGC.

User generated content for each platform

Once your goals are set, you can start deciding on the kind of user generated content you want, and what platform to ask for them on. These issues are closely related to each other as different types of UGC work best with specific platforms.


With its 140-character limit, short text content works best on the platform. The idea here is encouraging your audience to use the limited character space in a creative manner such as sending jokes.

You can also call for visual content like images and short videos to add flexibility to your user-generated campaign.


Videos are some of the most popular user generated content shared online. YouTube will be your main hosting site for all video content.

Since it is compatible with other social media platforms, your audience will be able to quickly share their content with you. Creating a dedicated hashtag campaign will help you manage cross-promotions between it and other platforms.

Instagram and Pinterest

If you are looking for purely visual content, Instagram and Pinterest are the best platforms to use. Just like YouTube, it can be easily integrated with other social media sites. This allows users to quickly share their submissions.



It might surprise you but LinkedIn can also be used to call for user generated content. Unlike other platforms, UGC on the site follows stricter rules. Particularly, the content that they create and send to you must closely align with your brand’s presence on the platform.

The type of user generated content you call out for should also closely associate with the product or services you offer. Tangible products are best showcased using visual content like images and short videos. On the other hand, your followers’ written anecdotes work great for customer services.

Getting your audience to share their content

The most common way of getting your audience to share user generated content is by creating an initial buzz around your brand. The idea here is to intrigue them enough that they check your product and eventually create content in support of it. The strategy hinges on your product and can easily make your content plan go viral.

The trick here is to come out with shareable content that will serve as an example for your audience to follow. Make the content easy to replicate and interesting for your followers. Having a dedicated hashtag for the content also helps make it more visible, and to better coordinate the flow of your UGC campaign’s story.

Choose one that will pique the interest of your audience and incorporate it creatively into the content. You can increase the prominence of the hashtag and the content by using services like Devumi’s Twitter Retweets on Twitter, or our Pinterest Repins Service if your hashtag campaign is on Pinterest. Highlighting this important content from your fans is vital. It makes them feel valued. This will lead to them sharing even more content.

Creating contests and promotions

Another way to convince your audience to send in their user generated content is by offering a reward. This is where contests come into play, adding a fun factor to the campaign. In this one, the content your participants produce become their entries.

Ensure that the entries are easy to create. As is with the above, you can provide a template to further facilitate this.

You also need to make entry submission easy. Create a dedicated landing page which:

  • Explains the contest rules.
  • Tell them what, and how, they will win.
  • Shows examples of the content you are looking for.
  • As any additional information that will make their content better.

Be sure to send people to this landing page from social media as a way to generate website traffic. You will also need a plan for a landing page to display the content that wins. Your end goal with all social marketing should be a landing page on your website.

Calling for feedback

A clever way to get your audience sending the content they create is by asking for feedback. People are always enthusiastic when given the opportunity to share their opinions. Ask them about their experience with your brand or what their opinions of it are. Make the activity more interesting for them by finding creative ways for them to send the feedback.

One thing to watch out for with these are the possible negative responses that you might get. If you get swamped by these, be ready to respond to them and their concerns. Don’t try to backtrack and abandon the campaign, as it could end up being hijacked by irate customers.

Getting the help of influencers

Trying to convince people to send the content they created on your own can be tough. Make things easier by getting the help of influencers. Look for the ones that your audience look up to a lot and ask for their assistance.

You also need to consider how these influencers align with your brand. Ask yourself whether or not the particular influencer is someone who would use your brand. This helps make the call for UGC you made through them more convincing to the audience, increasing the likelihood they will follow suit.


Choosing and using user generated content

To make it easier to sift through the dozens, or even hundreds, of pieces of content sent to you, there needs to be clear criteria:

  • Ask whether they will be able to catch the attention of other people in the same way that they caught yours.
  • Consider how the given content presents your brand.
  • From there, flesh out the points that would define the best ones to choose.

Make sure the criterion is known for your audience so that your selection process is more transparent. Include it in the list of instructions that you post at the beginning of the campaign.

Dealing with UGC copyright

Copyright concerns are also something that you need to sort out early with your audience. A common misconception here is that anyone can freely use content shared on social media. Note that, under copyright laws, the original creator of the content still retains legal rights. The various social media platforms also have their own terms of services that protect their users’ copyright ownership.


To know when to ask permission from your participants when using their content, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you going to profit from the content?
  • Is it going to be used for an ad?
  • Are you taking the content off of the platform that it was first shared on?

If your answer to either question is yes, you are required to seek permission from the creator before using it. Also, properly credit them whenever you use their content for anything outside the original campaign.

Showing appreciation for your audiences

While followers would wholeheartedly share their content with you, it is still a good gesture to show appreciation for their efforts. Come up with a creative way to reward your participants. This could be some discount coupons, customized freebies, publicly acknowledging them, or any trinkets that they would find rewarding.

Highlighting their work for others to see is also a great way to do this. Create a dedicated page on your site to display the works, with a separate section for the best ones. Share this on your social media pages for increased mileage.

User generated content can also be leveraged to band your followers together into a community. Use some of the best content you get as conversation starters, encouraging the creators to join in the discussions. Get involved and share your own ideas. This helps give your brand a more human touch.

Gain more engagements with user generated content

User-created content is great for getting people to interact with your brand. Effectively leverage this user generated content by:

  • Choosing the right kind of content: Consider the overall purpose of the user generated content you want to get. Consider the platform that you are going to use it on.
  • Creatively encouraging participants: Come up with contests or other fun activities that will get them involved. You can also initiate it by sharing your own content as an example to follow.

  • Showing your appreciation: Give your participants simple rewards that show them how you value the content they created for you. Use this as an opportunity to bring them together into a community.

Follow these reminders and you can significantly boost engagements by just calling your audience to submit their user generated content, And it could quickly become part of your overall brand advocacy campaign.