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User-generated content seems to be the latest buzzword in the world of social media. If you've scrolled through TikTok in the past month, you've definitely seen an account with 'UGC' in their bio and creators talking about it as both a tool for promotion and a revenue stream. Now, you might be wondering: what is user-generated content, and how can I use it to my advantage?

There are two forms of user-generated content– organic and paid. Both have their upsides.

Organic UGC is likely something you've created. Reviews, testimonials, sharing a product you love, or displaying your Stanley collection and posting it online all count as organic UGC. There's no incentive from the business to share this content; content creators are simply inspired to share their feelings on the product, for better or for worse. Organic UGC feels more authentic, and will lead to increased consumer trust and engagement for your brand. 

Conversely, paid user-generated content usually comes about in the form of brands making deals with influencers. In exchange for the product and payment, influencers will highlight the brand. This means the business has more control over the content and production of the UGC, but it also lessens the authenticity of the content.

Some examples of successful UGC campaigns include Coca-Cola's Share A Coke campaign, Spotify Wrapped, and Poppi soda. All of these campaigns incite consumers to get posting! Not only does incentivizing UGC provide free exposure for businesses, but it also creates a sense of community around the product. UGC allows prospective customers to picture what the product would look like in their daily life. 

For example, yoga pants might seem static and boring on a model, but if an image of a marathon runner wearing them while winning a race is shared, consumers will begin to associate the pants with success, energy, and an active lifestyle, thereby making them more interested in the product. They can picture themselves as the runner, and these pants are a key part of the runner's successful lifestyle.

UGC can also be used to create a relatable image for your brand. If you owned a coffee shop and your target demographic was exhausted college students, reposting a photo of a student's triple-shot macchiato feels authentic and relatable, especially compared to sharing a stock photo of a cappuccino. 

UGC is one of the easiest ways to build a brand on social media, as it requires little content creation from the brand owner, and you don't have to have the latest best-selling product to get started. Utilizing UGC is as simple as asking a few clients for testimonials about your business, sharing content you are tagged in, or reposting comments on your social media. Just make sure to ask permission before reposting and credit the original creator if you are posting content to your feed.

Still not sure how to get started with user-generated content? Send us a DM on Instagram and we'd be happy to chat more!


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