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12 Clever Ways For Brands To Leverage User-Generated Content

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at October 19, 2021

User-generated content (UGC)—whether it’s audio, video, images or text created by consumers rather than marketing professionals—is invaluable to brands that want to connect with and engage consumers in an authentic way. UGC not only provides an easy way to scale up and supplement a brand’s marketing collateral, but it also helps to establish consumer trust and confidence in the business.

If you haven’t used much UGC in your content marketing strategy, there’s never been a better time to start. Below, members of Forbes Communications Council share 12 smart ways to leverage UGC and explain why these methods are so effective.

1. Use Testimonial Videos As Digital Assets

Testimonial videos are great UGC, as they can be created with ease using personal digital devices. Make sure you provide instructions in your campaign for users/customers. These are great assets for your website, YouTube channel and social media campaigns. Make sure to run your campaign by legal to make sure you can obtain the rights to this UGC content. – Yana Nigen, WRAP

2. Rely On UGC To Help Prioritize Product Roadmap Features

UGC is not only invaluable to brands, it can be a brilliant way to get brands to take notice of the true influencers in their community. I’ve worked with major B2B tech brands that use the content to help prioritize key product roadmap features, and I’ve even seen examples where the users will discuss acquisition targets or cool technology that a company should think of adding to their portfolio. – Dayle Hall, SnapLogic

3. Tap Into Viral UGC And Use It In Campaigns

I love how Applebee’s is currently tapping into TikTok videos for its latest TV campaign that features Walker Hayes’ song “Fancy Like,” which is user-generated content. Though the song has lyrics about Applebee’s menu items, such as Bourbon Street steaks, Walker wrote it without any involvement from the brand. UGC is a great way for brands to capture lightning in a bottle. – Jessica Abel, G7 Entertainment Marketing

4. Promote UGC In Facebook And Instagram Stories

UGC is my favorite type of content to promote on social media, especially if it’s authentic to your brand. Right now, a smart way to leverage it is by sharing it through Facebook and Instagram stories as quick touchpoints, as you can post multiple pieces together. Think about how Applebee’s used the TikTok-famous song “Fancy Like” in its new ad. You have to jump on it immediately and capitalize on the buzz while it’s still fresh. – Layla Kasha, Grocery Outlet


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5. Showcase Your Customers As Experts

UGC is great for generating reviews and case studies, but take it a step further and give your customers a platform to share tips, tricks and DIY fixes that improve upon your product or service. Or ask customers to share videos featuring your products/solutions. Sharing the spotlight with customers grows a stronger base of loyal customers and adds authenticity to your brand marketing. – Jocelyn Sexton, Dover Fueling Solutions

6. Amplify Fans’ Words From Reviews As Quotes

Brands can benefit from user-generated content without having to run an entire video or publish a pages-long piece. Sharing a powerful quote on social media or extracting a single sentence from an online review to use on a billboard are two simple ways to elegantly amplify a fan’s words. Make the most of UGC by editing submissions down to their essence while still preserving their original intent. – Merrily McGugan, LogicMonitor

7. Collaboration On Problems

Assess your customer targets and find a common issue they are struggling with. Is this a big enough pain point to create an initiative around and something that can be better solved together as an industry? Build a collaborative conversation around that challenge and create actionable opportunities to contribute, continually championing and encouraging collaborators to promote their involvement. – Sarah O’Sell, Anim8

8. Showcase How You Act On Customer Feedback

Utilize UGC to show how you take customer content and act on it to improve your offering. This is a genius way to show that customer feedback is important to your brand and that it can actually help drive change. Showcase specific feedback and what it helped you change about your product or service. That will then inspire others to provide executable feedback. – Charlie Terenzio, Newswire

9. Leverage The Content Of Customer Panel Discussions

Bring together a panel of savvy customers to engage in conversation around a topic of importance to your industry via webinar, podcast or another form of digital collaboration. The content that is generated can then be leveraged in multiple ways, including in blog posts, social media posts and case studies. We’ve done this very successfully and will continue to do more of these types of events. – Jim Hardeman, CMX

10. Reward Customers Who Share UGC

One company I know of sends a gift card to anyone who posts a video of themselves using the company’s product and talking about it. This particular company is clearly confident that the UGC will consistently demonstrate positive use of the product. However, this would not be a good way to promote your product if you are not 100% sure that each video will yield the positive ratings you desire. – Boaz Santiago, energyware™

11. Use UGC In Promotional Videos Or Graphics

UGC can be used in promotional videos or graphics. User-written reviews or testimonials, for example, make for awesome snippets in mobile ads or YouTube ads. However, make sure you receive the opt-in consent so that their inclusion in ads is authorized. – Amine Rahal, Regal Assets

12. Encourage Client Testimonials Or Partner With An Influencer

Encouraging your clients to send you testimonials is always a great way to capture UGC. If you are looking for something less forced, you can always partner with an influencer who is actively using your products and have them create personalized content that you can use for marketing as well. – Christian Anderson, Lost Boy Entertainment Company

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