User Generated Content: What It Is And How To Use It

We’ve covered numerous times on our blog how important content marketing is to your business goals. It establishes you as an authority in your industry, helps your audience, and makes it more likely that they become customers. 

But how about the kind of content that your audience inherently trusts and is more effective than almost any other type you can produce?

That’s where user generated content comes in. Today we are explaining what user generated content is, why it’s so effective, and how you can get more of it.

What Is User Generated Content?

It can be difficult to differentiate between more common types of content and user generated. Thankfully, user generated content is for the most part exactly what it sounds like: made by users. 

While there are many different types of this content, here are some examples to get you thinking:

  • Video testimonials of products posted by consumers
  • Instagram posts showing people using your products
  • Written reviews of your services
  • Comments on your social media channels by users happy with your brand

As you can see, the main point of user generated content is that it’s natural. It’s created by users themselves, and simply (if used properly) promoted by your company.

Why User Generated Content Is So Effective

People increasingly distrust companies. They don’t want to hear what a business has to say about themselves or their products and would much prefer to hear from real life customers.

This probably comes as little surprise. Think about your own purchasing habits. How many reviews do you read?

Thinking about my own buying trends, I know I personally read quite a few. And that’s in line with what most people do. In fact, most online shoppers will read at least four reviews before making a purchasing decision.

A review by another customer is more effective than the self serving promotion of a company could ever be.  That’s because it’s a form of social proof. We are more likely to buy something or take a chance on a product if we have seen that others have already done the same. 

This is the dynamic that all user generated content follows, from reviews all the way to social media comments.

Plus, user generated content takes much less time than your traditional content plan. That’s because happy customers are doing the work for you. You don’t need to hire an agency to create your content or spend the time doing it in house. 

Instead, with user generated content, you already have everything you need.

How To Get More User Generated Content

Now that you know why user generated content can be so useful…how do you actually get it?

Popular content types like writing blog posts or shooting videos is time-intensive, but it’s also something you can control. In other words, if your company needs it, they simply assign it to someone.

But user generated content? Well, that’s a different thing. This is a far more “natural” and spontaneous content style and doesn’t lend itself well to any sort of pre-planning.

Still, there are certain strategies you can implement to get more user generated content. Let’s cover some of them now.

1) Ask for reviews

That’s right: sometimes simply asking for what you want is the best strategy. No different here. 

You probably already have numerous customers who have had a positive experience with your product or service. These are your best opportunities to get convincing reviews. 

For the best way to ask for one, give this article a read. In it you will learn about some of the best strategies for capitalizing on the value of your customers even after they buy. 

2) Look online for usable content

Even if you haven’t seen them, it’s likely you already have testimonials.

These often pop up on a site like Amazon, but can be almost anywhere on the internet. It’s your job to find them and use them in your marketing material.

To effectively implement this tactic, consider a tool like Brandwatch. This makes it easy to discover anytime somebody mentions your brand.

3) Monitor your social media pages

You’d be surprised how often somebody says something about your company that can be used as a good testimonial.

Plus, as we’ve already discussed, testimonials are just one of many forms of user generated content.

Perhaps a customer left a nice compliment on your Facebook page, or maybe your product was tagged on Instagram. Either way, people are constantly interacting with your brand and the content they produce while doing it is everywhere across social media. 

Always be ready with a screenshot!

4) Run a contest

This takes some creativity but is well worth the effort. 

People love contests, and if they are a satisfied customer that has a chance to win something, are more than happy to take part.

Your contest can take many forms. For example, maybe you send a gift card to a customer that posts a picture using your product and tags you. This is an effective approach that can quickly build awareness of your brand.

Are you an enterprise, nonprofit or small business looking for help on your website? Give us a shout! We provide a free consultation. Email us at or call us at (718) 855-1919!

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