What Is UGC Marketing? (With Types, Tips, and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 11, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies use various marketing strategies to achieve their goals, which often include attracting new customers, retaining existing clients, improving brand awareness, and increasing profit. One approach is user-generated content (UGC) marketing, which involves using consumer-created content in a company's marketing efforts. Learning more about this strategy can help if you're part of an organization's marketing team or want to pursue a career in this industry. In this article, we define UGC marketing, list the types of UGC, provide tips for using this approach, and discuss its benefits.

What is UGC marketing?

UGC marketing involves consumers creating content about a brand by using images, videos, and audio on social media. This method is usually a cost-efficient marketing strategy and can be very effective, which is why many organizations use it. While customers posting about a product on their platforms can influence the purchasing decisions of others, the impact depends on who's posting the content and their methods. Learning to use this marketing strategy can help a company reach its goals.

Related: What Is Digital Marketing? (Types of Marketing and Tips)

Types of UGC

The three main categories of UGC are photos, videos, and text. Each of these possesses unique advantages that can help a company in its marketing endeavours. The type of UGC an organization chooses to share mainly depends on their target audience, the product or service's nature, and its goals. Here are some of the different types of UGC a company may use to promote their brand:

  • Surveys: These are a form of review regarding products or marketing campaigns. Companies can display answers to a survey as graphs or statistics to capture the interest of consumers.

  • Hashtag campaigns: These promotional events ask users to feature a product on their platform using the company's hashtag in their posts. There's a general understanding that participation may lead to the organization reposting or sharing select users' content, which encourages more people to participate in the campaign.

  • Videos: These are often clips that review product features or specific services, highlight their benefits, or provide instructions on how to use them. Many companies use videos to show their audience what the product can do from the perspective of an actual user.

  • Interactions with customers: Companies may conduct interactive sessions with consumers to generate different content, including product reviews and demonstrations, testimonials, and product recommendations. Some events they may organize include webinars, social media events, and pop-up stores.

  • Blog posts: These posts often appear on various social media platforms and contain text-based content about a company's product or service. Like videos, these may include reviews, product instructions, or testimonials for products or services.

Related: Common Advertising Testimonials and How to Use Them

Tips for using UGC marketing

This type of marketing is similar to word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers may also talk about a brand, product, service, or marketing campaign with others when they share the content they create. If you plan to employ this marketing strategy, here are some tips you can consider to ensure its success:

1. Ask for permission to use content

Requesting permission to share content is important because it enables the company to create a relationship and build trust with the content's creators. It also allows companies to ensure the creator's content is appropriate and ensures it complies with any relevant laws or terms and conditions of use. When asking for permission, it's important that you mention how the organization plans to use the content.

2. Give credit to the content creator

After receiving permission to repost content on the company's social media platforms or use it for advertising, it's advisable to credit its creator. Naming the creator is a positive way to show the organization's gratitude and encourages engagement from other consumers. To do this, you can include a link to the original post or user profile. You may also tag them on the social channel where you share their content.

3. Be active on social media platforms and forums

There are many platforms and forums where content creators share their work. They may publish their content on social media platforms, comment on the company's posts, reply to other users, or participate in forums and provide their opinion on the company's products and services there. It's also possible to post a short clip that's only available for viewing for a limited time, usually 24 hours.

It's important that you're active in online platforms that your target market frequents and monitor any mentions of the company's brand, products, and services. Watching this activity may involve searching for the organization's name and using keywords related to its product or service. You may also use tools that can help you follow any mentions about the company on the web. These enable you to find UGC you can use for your marketing purposes more quickly and easily.

Related: 15 Top Social Media Marketing Courses to Improve Your Skills

4. Let users know the type of content the company wants

Letting users know the type of content the company wants makes it easier for them to create relevant and suitable posts. Sharing this information can save you time and effort when searching through posts to find those that are interesting to the organization. To do this, you can launch a campaign that uses a specific hashtag and specifies the kind of content the organization's looking to share on their social media accounts. You can also contact creators directly to create relevant content about the company's product or service.

Related: Complete Guide on How to Become a Brand Ambassador

5. Analyze content

While consumer-generated content is a free advertisement, it also provides you with customer feedback that may help the company. By analyzing UGC with the marketing team, you can gain insights into how consumers react to the company's brand, product, or service. This information, including what products they like most, their experiences, and suggestions for improvements, is valuable because it can help the organization make the necessary changes and achieve its goals.

Related: The 14 Best Social Media Management Tools for Businesses

What are the benefits of user-generated marketing?

Many organizations employ UGC marketing because of the many advantages this approach provides. For consumers, it's a way to connect with a company or brand and an opportunity to build their reputation and gain popularity online. For businesses, this strategy may offer the following benefits:

1. Improves an organization's reputation

This type of marketing is an endorsement from real customers, making it a great way to improve a company's credibility. The strategy allows consumers to express their opinions and experiences with a brand, product, or service and share these with other people. This freedom can turn consumers into brand advocates who can vouch for the trustworthiness of a company and the quality of its products and services. Reviews and testimonies from customers can help a company gain a positive reputation and increase awareness of its brand.

Related: What Is Reputation Management? (Plus Why It's Important)

2. Helps develop a brand community

This marketing approach encourages customer participation and engagement, which may develop into a strong brand community. A brand community is a group of people who are interested in a brand, product, or service and want to learn more about it. These individuals may also share their opinions, experiences, and content with other people. The sense of belonging to a community and connection with the organization can increase brand loyalty, which may benefit a company in the long term.

3. Reduces marketing cost

Marketing using UGC is cost-effective because it uses available content and an existing social network of consumers to achieve its goals, which may include attracting new customers and improving the visibility of its brand. Compared to other strategies that may require substantial investment in human and financial resources, this form of marketing is often less expensive. This cost efficiency makes it an ideal approach for small businesses with limited resources. It also allows the company to interact with customers, gather information about its target market, and improve its products and services at a low cost.

4. Makes content creation easier

It's important for a company to expand its customer base as it grows. One way to achieve this is by remaining active on social media. You can do this by regularly sharing news and updates about the company and its products or services. Maintaining an online presence often requires a lot of content creation, which may be time-consuming and costly. UGC marketing allows companies to save time and money by using customer-created content.

Related: How to Improve Social Media Engagement in 9 Steps

5. Provides material for various marketing channels

Companies often use UGC in their digital marketing channels, such as social media, e-mails, and websites. They may also include content their customers created in their offline marketing efforts, such as advertising materials, brochures, and signage. Using this strategy across multiple channels is a dynamic and effective approach to marketing, which means you can reach a large audience and increase brand awareness.

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