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The Top 5 Benefits of User-Generated Content in 2023

The benefits of user-generated content span everything from boosting brand loyalty to driving sales. Find out how to tap into UGC.

Trend by soona
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Trend by soona
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October 17, 2023
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How to Build Brand Loyalty by Tapping into the Benefits of UGC

Consumers don’t just want to be passive recipients of marketing messages. They crave authenticity, engagement, and a sense of belonging. This is where user-generated content (UGC) comes into play. 

UGC refers to any content—text, images, videos, reviews, and more—created by your customers rather than by your brand. When leveraged effectively, UGC is a powerful tool for building a loyal community around your brand.

5 benefits of user-generated content

UGC is a valuable tool for building brand loyalty due to several key reasons, including: 

1. Authenticity in the age of skepticism

One of the primary reasons UGC is so effective is its authenticity. When potential customers see content generated by real users, they trust it more than polished brand marketing materials. Authenticity builds credibility, making people more likely to engage with and buy from your brand.

In today’s hyperconnected world, consumers are more skeptical than ever before. Traditional advertising can often come across as insincere or overly polished, leading many to question its credibility. This is where the authenticity of user-generated content shines through.

UGC is seen as genuine because it’s created by real people, not marketers. It reflects the unfiltered opinions and experiences of individuals who have interacted with your brand. This authenticity is particularly crucial in industries where trust is paramount, such as healthcare, finance, and education.

2. Engagement

UGC fosters active engagement with your audience. When customers create content related to your brand, they’re emotionally invested. This means they’re more likely to comment, share, and discuss, creating buzz around your products or services.

3. Social proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior in a given situation. UGC is a tangible form of social proof. When people see others using and enjoying your products or services, they’re more likely to follow suit.

4. Cost-effective content

Creating high-quality content can be expensive and time-consuming. UGC provides a cost-effective alternative. Your customers essentially become your content creators, saving you both time and money. You can also repurpose this content for other purposes and marketing campaigns, extending its lifespan and boosting the ROI on your investment.

{{trend-ad="/external-components"}}

5. Diverse perspectives

UGC offers diverse perspectives and experiences. Your customers come from different backgrounds, which means their content can appeal to a broader audience. This inclusivity is valuable for building a diverse and loyal community.

8 tips and strategies for leveraging UGC

Now that you understand the power of UGC, let’s explore strategies for harnessing it effectively.

1. Create shareable experiences

Design products, services, or experiences that naturally lend themselves to UGC. Encourage customers to share their experiences by creating memorable moments or offering unique features they can’t resist talking about. 

A great example of this is GoPro. GoPro’s entire marketing strategy revolves around UGC. It encourages users to share their action-packed videos and photos captured with GoPro cameras. This has created a passionate community of adventure enthusiasts and content creators.

2. Implement branded hashtags

Branded hashtags are an excellent way to curate and track UGC. Encourage users to include your hashtag when sharing content related to your brand. It not only helps with content discovery but also promotes community engagement. Plus it makes it easy for you to cull posts later on.

3. Run UGC campaigns

Launch UGC campaigns with clear guidelines and incentives. Ask your customers to create content around specific themes, challenges, or contests. Offer rewards, recognition, or exclusive access to motivate participation. 

A great example? Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, which encouraged customers to share photos of Coke bottles with their names on them. This personalized approach not only boosted sales but also created a sense of community around the brand.

4. Engage and reward contributors

Acknowledge and reward users who consistently contribute to UGC. This can be as simple as featuring their content on your website or social media or sending them exclusive discounts or gifts.

5. Personalize at scale

Use data-driven personalization to encourage UGC. Tailor your requests for content to individual users based on their behavior and preferences. This personal touch can significantly increase participation.

6. Storytell through UGC

Storytelling is a great way to make an emotional and lasting impression on your audience. Use UGC to tell compelling stories about your products and brand. Highlight user success stories, transformation journeys, or unique use cases to inspire others and build a narrative around your products or services.

chocolate coconut smoothie

7. Tap into UGC platforms

Curating UGC sounds like a tedious process,and that’s because it is. So how do you scale UGC marketing or simply make sure it doesn’t take up too much of your time? UGC platforms, like Trend by soona

trend by soona

UGC platforms can speed up the process and help you stay organized. The best UGC platforms also have features like pre-vetted UGC creators, analytics reporting, and content rights ownership—like Trend by soona.

8. Monitor and moderate

It’s crucial to keep an eye on the UGC being generated. Monitor comments, reviews, and posts regularly. Engage with your community and moderate comments as needed to ensure a positive and respectful environment. As your UGC efforts scale, invest in robust content moderation tools and guidelines to ensure that user-generated content aligns with your brand values and legal requirements.

Invest in analytics tools to track the impact of UGC on your brand. Analyze metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and sentiment analysis to refine your UGC strategies continually.

Emerging trends in UGC

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do UGC trends. Staying ahead of these trends is crucial for brands looking to build and maintain a loyal community.

A growing role in e-commerce

Product reviews, unboxing videos, and user photos have become staples of online shopping. Shoppers now rely heavily on the experiences and recommendations of others to make informed purchasing decisions.

For instance, Amazon’s product review system, which allows customers to rate and review products, has become a cornerstone of its platform. Positive reviews and high ratings often result in increased sales, while negative feedback can prompt improvements.

Short-form video content

The rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels has given birth to a new trend in UGC: short-form video content. Users are now creating engaging videos that showcase products, share quick tips, and even participate in viral challenges.

Brands that can tap into the creativity of these platforms and encourage users to generate short-form videos can significantly enhance their reach and engagement.

Interactive UGC experiences

Interactive content, such as polls, quizzes, and AR filters, has gained popularity in recent years. These interactive elements not only engage users but also encourage them to create and share content.

For instance, cosmetic brands have successfully used AR filters that allow users to virtually try on makeup and share their looks on social media. These interactive experiences often go viral, boosting brand visibility.

Micro-influencers and UGC

Micro-influencers, individuals with smaller but highly engaged followings, have become essential partners for brands looking to leverage UGC. Micro-influencers often have a more authentic and relatable connection with their followers, making their UGC even more valuable.

Brands can collaborate with micro-influencers to create and promote user-generated content that aligns with their target audience’s interests and preferences.

Case studies: brands embracing the benefits of user-generated content

Brands of all sizes tap into UGC as a tool to win new customers and foster relationships with existing customers. 

1. Apple

Apple, a technology giant, has encouraged UGC through its Shot on iPhone campaign. This campaign features stunning photos and videos taken by iPhone users from around the world. By showcasing the creativity and quality of user-generated content, Apple not only promotes its products but also creates a sense of community among iPhone users.

shot on iphone challenge

2. Sephora

Sephora, a global beauty retailer known for its extensive selection of beauty products and cosmetics, has also effectively incorporated UGC. For starters, Sephora hosts an online Beauty Insider Community where customers can share product reviews, makeup looks, skincare routines, and beauty tips. This interactive platform encourages customers to engage with one another, ask questions, and provide valuable insights. Sephora often features top contributors, highlighting their expertise and dedication, which strengthens the sense of community and brand loyalty.

sephora screenshot

You’ll also see UGC on Sephora’s Instagram and branded hashtag #SephoraHaul. Sephora encourages customers to share their recent purchases using the hashtag #SephoraHaul on Instagram. By reposting these UGC images on its official Instagram account, Sephora showcases real customers and their product recommendations. This not only promotes its products but also validates the preferences and choices of its customers, building trust and loyalty.

instagram feed

Sephora also prominently displays customer ratings and reviews on its website for every product it sells. These reviews provide valuable feedback to potential customers and help them make informed purchasing decisions. 

3. Target

Target, a major retail corporation, has effectively embraced user-generated content to engage its audience, foster brand loyalty, and create a sense of community. Target actively encourages customers to share their experiences and purchases on social media platforms using the hashtag #TargetStyle. By doing so, customers can have their photos and posts featured on Target’s official social media accounts. This strategy not only showcases a wide range of styles and products but also makes customers feel like valued members of the Target community.

target's website

Target frequently collaborates with guest designers and influencers. These collaborations often result in limited-edition collections. Target leverages UGC by encouraging customers to share their experiences with these collections, which generate excitement and anticipation. The UGC created around these collaborations enhances the exclusivity of the products and bolsters brand loyalty.

Many Target shoppers also share their discoveries of affordable dupes or alternatives to popular products. This sharing of information within the Target community reinforces the idea that Target is a destination for budget-conscious shoppers seeking quality alternatives. Target’s UGC campaigns, with their emphasis on real customers and their purchases, inspire cost-conscious shopping behavior. When users see others finding stylish and affordable items at Target, it aligns with the principles of dupe culture, where consumers seek value and affordability.

Target’s online community allows customers to discuss products, share ideas, and offer recommendations. This interactive platform not only creates a space for community engagement but also generates UGC in the form of user-generated posts, discussions, and recommendations. It strengthens the sense of belonging among Target customers.

Target’s loyalty program, Target Circle, integrates UGC by offering personalized deals and rewards based on customers’ purchase history and preferences. This not only incentivizes repeat purchases but also tailors the shopping experience to individual customers, increasing loyalty.

target's website call to action example

4. Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty, founded by singer and actress Selena Gomez, is a cosmetics brand that places a strong emphasis on self-expression and individuality. 

Rare Beauty launched the #WeAreRare campaign, encouraging customers to share their makeup looks using the brand’s products. By reposting user-generated content on its official social media accounts, Rare Beauty celebrates its diverse community of customers and highlights different makeup styles achieved with its products. This not only showcases the versatility of its cosmetics but also fosters a sense of belonging among its customers.

The brand also offers a virtual try-on feature on its website and mobile app, allowing users to virtually try on Rare Beauty products before making a purchase. This interactive UGC tool enhances the online shopping experience and builds trust among customers, ultimately leading to brand loyalty.

Rare Beauty places a strong emphasis on inclusivity in its marketing efforts. The brand uses UGC to showcase real customers with diverse backgrounds and skin types using its products, reinforcing its commitment to authenticity and diversity.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape of UGC

User-generated content continues to evolve, becoming an indispensable tool for building brand loyalty and community engagement. Its authenticity, diverse applications across industries, and emerging trends make it a must-have component of modern marketing strategies.

As brands explore advanced strategies, embrace new trends, and harness the power of user-generated content analytics, they will find themselves not only building loyal communities but also staying ahead in the competitive digital landscape.

One thing remains clear: The potential for brands to foster meaningful connections and create lasting communities through user-generated content is limitless. By continuously adapting to changing consumer behaviors and preferences, your brand can build a loyal community that stands the test of time. So, start embracing UGC today and watch your brand flourish in the digital age.

Benefits of user-generated content FAQs

What are the pros and cons of user-generated content?

Pros:

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Cost-effective
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Social proof

Cons:

  • Lack of control
  • Quality concerns
  • Legal issues
  • Negative content
  • Moderation challenges

What are the benefits of UGC 2023?

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Cost-effective
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Social proof

What is user generated-content competitive advantage?

The user-generated content competitive advantage is its ability to differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace. UGC adds authenticity, builds trust, and fosters a sense of community, which can set your brand apart. It’s cost-effective and can lead to increased customer engagement and loyalty. Leveraging UGC can also help your brand stay ahead of emerging trends and adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

How does user generated content increase engagement?

User-generated content increases engagement by tapping into the emotional investment of your customers. When users create content related to your brand, they become more actively involved. This involvement leads to more comments, shares, and discussions, which, in turn, create a buzz around your products or services. The authenticity of UGC also builds trust, making people more likely to engage with your brand and its content. 

How to Build Brand Loyalty by Tapping into the Benefits of UGC

Consumers don’t just want to be passive recipients of marketing messages. They crave authenticity, engagement, and a sense of belonging. This is where user-generated content (UGC) comes into play. 

UGC refers to any content—text, images, videos, reviews, and more—created by your customers rather than by your brand. When leveraged effectively, UGC is a powerful tool for building a loyal community around your brand.

5 benefits of user-generated content

UGC is a valuable tool for building brand loyalty due to several key reasons, including: 

1. Authenticity in the age of skepticism

One of the primary reasons UGC is so effective is its authenticity. When potential customers see content generated by real users, they trust it more than polished brand marketing materials. Authenticity builds credibility, making people more likely to engage with and buy from your brand.

In today’s hyperconnected world, consumers are more skeptical than ever before. Traditional advertising can often come across as insincere or overly polished, leading many to question its credibility. This is where the authenticity of user-generated content shines through.

UGC is seen as genuine because it’s created by real people, not marketers. It reflects the unfiltered opinions and experiences of individuals who have interacted with your brand. This authenticity is particularly crucial in industries where trust is paramount, such as healthcare, finance, and education.

2. Engagement

UGC fosters active engagement with your audience. When customers create content related to your brand, they’re emotionally invested. This means they’re more likely to comment, share, and discuss, creating buzz around your products or services.

3. Social proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior in a given situation. UGC is a tangible form of social proof. When people see others using and enjoying your products or services, they’re more likely to follow suit.

4. Cost-effective content

Creating high-quality content can be expensive and time-consuming. UGC provides a cost-effective alternative. Your customers essentially become your content creators, saving you both time and money. You can also repurpose this content for other purposes and marketing campaigns, extending its lifespan and boosting the ROI on your investment.

{{trend-ad="/external-components"}}

5. Diverse perspectives

UGC offers diverse perspectives and experiences. Your customers come from different backgrounds, which means their content can appeal to a broader audience. This inclusivity is valuable for building a diverse and loyal community.

8 tips and strategies for leveraging UGC

Now that you understand the power of UGC, let’s explore strategies for harnessing it effectively.

1. Create shareable experiences

Design products, services, or experiences that naturally lend themselves to UGC. Encourage customers to share their experiences by creating memorable moments or offering unique features they can’t resist talking about. 

A great example of this is GoPro. GoPro’s entire marketing strategy revolves around UGC. It encourages users to share their action-packed videos and photos captured with GoPro cameras. This has created a passionate community of adventure enthusiasts and content creators.

2. Implement branded hashtags

Branded hashtags are an excellent way to curate and track UGC. Encourage users to include your hashtag when sharing content related to your brand. It not only helps with content discovery but also promotes community engagement. Plus it makes it easy for you to cull posts later on.

3. Run UGC campaigns

Launch UGC campaigns with clear guidelines and incentives. Ask your customers to create content around specific themes, challenges, or contests. Offer rewards, recognition, or exclusive access to motivate participation. 

A great example? Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, which encouraged customers to share photos of Coke bottles with their names on them. This personalized approach not only boosted sales but also created a sense of community around the brand.

4. Engage and reward contributors

Acknowledge and reward users who consistently contribute to UGC. This can be as simple as featuring their content on your website or social media or sending them exclusive discounts or gifts.

5. Personalize at scale

Use data-driven personalization to encourage UGC. Tailor your requests for content to individual users based on their behavior and preferences. This personal touch can significantly increase participation.

6. Storytell through UGC

Storytelling is a great way to make an emotional and lasting impression on your audience. Use UGC to tell compelling stories about your products and brand. Highlight user success stories, transformation journeys, or unique use cases to inspire others and build a narrative around your products or services.

chocolate coconut smoothie

7. Tap into UGC platforms

Curating UGC sounds like a tedious process,and that’s because it is. So how do you scale UGC marketing or simply make sure it doesn’t take up too much of your time? UGC platforms, like Trend by soona

trend by soona

UGC platforms can speed up the process and help you stay organized. The best UGC platforms also have features like pre-vetted UGC creators, analytics reporting, and content rights ownership—like Trend by soona.

8. Monitor and moderate

It’s crucial to keep an eye on the UGC being generated. Monitor comments, reviews, and posts regularly. Engage with your community and moderate comments as needed to ensure a positive and respectful environment. As your UGC efforts scale, invest in robust content moderation tools and guidelines to ensure that user-generated content aligns with your brand values and legal requirements.

Invest in analytics tools to track the impact of UGC on your brand. Analyze metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and sentiment analysis to refine your UGC strategies continually.

Emerging trends in UGC

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so do UGC trends. Staying ahead of these trends is crucial for brands looking to build and maintain a loyal community.

A growing role in e-commerce

Product reviews, unboxing videos, and user photos have become staples of online shopping. Shoppers now rely heavily on the experiences and recommendations of others to make informed purchasing decisions.

For instance, Amazon’s product review system, which allows customers to rate and review products, has become a cornerstone of its platform. Positive reviews and high ratings often result in increased sales, while negative feedback can prompt improvements.

Short-form video content

The rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels has given birth to a new trend in UGC: short-form video content. Users are now creating engaging videos that showcase products, share quick tips, and even participate in viral challenges.

Brands that can tap into the creativity of these platforms and encourage users to generate short-form videos can significantly enhance their reach and engagement.

Interactive UGC experiences

Interactive content, such as polls, quizzes, and AR filters, has gained popularity in recent years. These interactive elements not only engage users but also encourage them to create and share content.

For instance, cosmetic brands have successfully used AR filters that allow users to virtually try on makeup and share their looks on social media. These interactive experiences often go viral, boosting brand visibility.

Micro-influencers and UGC

Micro-influencers, individuals with smaller but highly engaged followings, have become essential partners for brands looking to leverage UGC. Micro-influencers often have a more authentic and relatable connection with their followers, making their UGC even more valuable.

Brands can collaborate with micro-influencers to create and promote user-generated content that aligns with their target audience’s interests and preferences.

Case studies: brands embracing the benefits of user-generated content

Brands of all sizes tap into UGC as a tool to win new customers and foster relationships with existing customers. 

1. Apple

Apple, a technology giant, has encouraged UGC through its Shot on iPhone campaign. This campaign features stunning photos and videos taken by iPhone users from around the world. By showcasing the creativity and quality of user-generated content, Apple not only promotes its products but also creates a sense of community among iPhone users.

shot on iphone challenge

2. Sephora

Sephora, a global beauty retailer known for its extensive selection of beauty products and cosmetics, has also effectively incorporated UGC. For starters, Sephora hosts an online Beauty Insider Community where customers can share product reviews, makeup looks, skincare routines, and beauty tips. This interactive platform encourages customers to engage with one another, ask questions, and provide valuable insights. Sephora often features top contributors, highlighting their expertise and dedication, which strengthens the sense of community and brand loyalty.

sephora screenshot

You’ll also see UGC on Sephora’s Instagram and branded hashtag #SephoraHaul. Sephora encourages customers to share their recent purchases using the hashtag #SephoraHaul on Instagram. By reposting these UGC images on its official Instagram account, Sephora showcases real customers and their product recommendations. This not only promotes its products but also validates the preferences and choices of its customers, building trust and loyalty.

instagram feed

Sephora also prominently displays customer ratings and reviews on its website for every product it sells. These reviews provide valuable feedback to potential customers and help them make informed purchasing decisions. 

3. Target

Target, a major retail corporation, has effectively embraced user-generated content to engage its audience, foster brand loyalty, and create a sense of community. Target actively encourages customers to share their experiences and purchases on social media platforms using the hashtag #TargetStyle. By doing so, customers can have their photos and posts featured on Target’s official social media accounts. This strategy not only showcases a wide range of styles and products but also makes customers feel like valued members of the Target community.

target's website

Target frequently collaborates with guest designers and influencers. These collaborations often result in limited-edition collections. Target leverages UGC by encouraging customers to share their experiences with these collections, which generate excitement and anticipation. The UGC created around these collaborations enhances the exclusivity of the products and bolsters brand loyalty.

Many Target shoppers also share their discoveries of affordable dupes or alternatives to popular products. This sharing of information within the Target community reinforces the idea that Target is a destination for budget-conscious shoppers seeking quality alternatives. Target’s UGC campaigns, with their emphasis on real customers and their purchases, inspire cost-conscious shopping behavior. When users see others finding stylish and affordable items at Target, it aligns with the principles of dupe culture, where consumers seek value and affordability.

Target’s online community allows customers to discuss products, share ideas, and offer recommendations. This interactive platform not only creates a space for community engagement but also generates UGC in the form of user-generated posts, discussions, and recommendations. It strengthens the sense of belonging among Target customers.

Target’s loyalty program, Target Circle, integrates UGC by offering personalized deals and rewards based on customers’ purchase history and preferences. This not only incentivizes repeat purchases but also tailors the shopping experience to individual customers, increasing loyalty.

target's website call to action example

4. Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty, founded by singer and actress Selena Gomez, is a cosmetics brand that places a strong emphasis on self-expression and individuality. 

Rare Beauty launched the #WeAreRare campaign, encouraging customers to share their makeup looks using the brand’s products. By reposting user-generated content on its official social media accounts, Rare Beauty celebrates its diverse community of customers and highlights different makeup styles achieved with its products. This not only showcases the versatility of its cosmetics but also fosters a sense of belonging among its customers.

The brand also offers a virtual try-on feature on its website and mobile app, allowing users to virtually try on Rare Beauty products before making a purchase. This interactive UGC tool enhances the online shopping experience and builds trust among customers, ultimately leading to brand loyalty.

Rare Beauty places a strong emphasis on inclusivity in its marketing efforts. The brand uses UGC to showcase real customers with diverse backgrounds and skin types using its products, reinforcing its commitment to authenticity and diversity.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving landscape of UGC

User-generated content continues to evolve, becoming an indispensable tool for building brand loyalty and community engagement. Its authenticity, diverse applications across industries, and emerging trends make it a must-have component of modern marketing strategies.

As brands explore advanced strategies, embrace new trends, and harness the power of user-generated content analytics, they will find themselves not only building loyal communities but also staying ahead in the competitive digital landscape.

One thing remains clear: The potential for brands to foster meaningful connections and create lasting communities through user-generated content is limitless. By continuously adapting to changing consumer behaviors and preferences, your brand can build a loyal community that stands the test of time. So, start embracing UGC today and watch your brand flourish in the digital age.

Benefits of user-generated content FAQs

What are the pros and cons of user-generated content?

Pros:

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Cost-effective
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Social proof

Cons:

  • Lack of control
  • Quality concerns
  • Legal issues
  • Negative content
  • Moderation challenges

What are the benefits of UGC 2023?

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Cost-effective
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Social proof

What is user generated-content competitive advantage?

The user-generated content competitive advantage is its ability to differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace. UGC adds authenticity, builds trust, and fosters a sense of community, which can set your brand apart. It’s cost-effective and can lead to increased customer engagement and loyalty. Leveraging UGC can also help your brand stay ahead of emerging trends and adapt to changing consumer behaviors.

How does user generated content increase engagement?

User-generated content increases engagement by tapping into the emotional investment of your customers. When users create content related to your brand, they become more actively involved. This involvement leads to more comments, shares, and discussions, which, in turn, create a buzz around your products or services. The authenticity of UGC also builds trust, making people more likely to engage with your brand and its content. 

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