What is User-Generated Content and Why Do You Need it for Your Business?

Post-it notes with letters UGC

Are you ready to fetch some customer-created content? It may sound like another little buzzword, but user-generated content (UGC) has the power to influence your business in a big, big way. That’s why on today’s blog, we’re talking all about what it is, how to gather UGC, and how to use this type of content for your business – regardless of the industry you are in. By leveraging customer-created content, you can expand your reach, increase sales, and build trust with your customers. This type of content is incredibly powerful because it helps others imagine using your product or service, which can help gain your business more exposure. Let’s dig in!

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content of your business, that is created and shared by users online, such as reviews, comments, videos, photos, blog posts, and more. It’s an effective way to increase engagement with your brand and build trust with customers. UGC can also be used to boost sales and establish a loyal customer base. 

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How Do I Get Customers to Create and Share User-Generated Content?

When it comes to UGC, there are many options to get your customers to create and share their UGC content. Here are our go-to methods. 

  1. Ask!
    1. If a customer is at your place of business and they are raving about your product or service, simply ask them to share a photo with their purchase, snap a picture or video with them at your place of business. You can even ask them to leave you a review on Google or Yelp! 
  2. Create a contest or host a giveaway.
    1. Everyone loves a good prize or some fun competition. Create a contest and ask users to share their experience at your place of business on social media and tag your business (brownie points if you have a #hashtag you want them to use). Make sure to engage with their post and even reshare it to your stories and feed (more on this later). Make sure to have a fun prize, a deadline, and don’t forget to announce the winner! 
  3. Launch a micro-influencer campaign.
    1. No need to go big! Find local influencers that use your product or service and ask them to collaborate. Remember to find someone who loves your brand and give them free items or negotiate compensation, and in return ask them to share a certain number of social media posts. We encourage video content (Reels or TikToks) and carousel posts. 
  4. Have a dedicated space that is “Instagram-Worthy”
    1. If you have something that is unique, upscale or simply an “Instagram-worthy” space at your location, customers visiting your place of business will naturally want to snap photos and share on social media. Added tip: have your social media handles (or QR codes) and hashtags around the office so it’s easy for the customer to spot and use.
  5. Money talks, so offer a reward or discount!
    1. Like tip #2, ask your customers to share their journey, rate or review their recent experience with you, or check-in at your location, and offer them a reward or discount on their next purchase! 
  6. Customers may already be sharing content about you organically!
    1. Do you ever wish you could get a shoutout from your favorite brand? Well, that’s how your customers may feel, so they might be posting about you when they visit your establishment! Make sure you aren’t missing these posts by checking your tagged posts and mentions, as well as social listening.

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How Do I Incorporate UGC Into My Social Strategy?

Now that we have strategies for gathering UGC content, what’s next? First and foremost, acknowledge, engage and thank your customer for sharing their experience with others. Next, you can automatically reshare the post to your Instagram, Facebook or TikTok story. This helps show others real-time content, and you don’t need to figure out a plan on the spot. Lastly, depending on how much UGC content you have coming in on a weekly basis, incorporate the posts to your social feeds. Maybe you have a roundup of posts you’ve been tagged in each week, or maybe you incorporate the UGC when talking about a certain product or service or upcoming sale or event!

P.S. it’s also important to ask others for their permission before sharing their content online and crediting the creator, especially when it comes to the medical world because HIPAA! We always recommend getting a signed consent or documentation that you keep that you have permission to share content. This is because when you reshare content from others, let’s say you’re a medical spa where HIPAA applies, when you share a customer review or photo, you’re essentially confirming that they come to your practice for XYZ services. Every industry is different, so ensure you have a process your entire team is familiar with and follows to protect both customer data and to ensure you’re following HIPAA laws. 

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However, you decide to incorporate the content, make sure to be consistent, because this creates a pattern for your community, and they know what they can expect from you if they create content! People enjoy posting their favorite moments on social media. Photos and videos help bring customers closer to your brand and make them feel more connected to you. This will help create a community of loyal customers who are more likely to spread the word about your brand. 

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