User Generated Content Will Give Your Marketing A Major Boost

Integrating user-generated content can boost your social media engagement by up to 690%!

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User-generated content increases trust and influences buying decisions. These are not just random observations, they are backed by data to support that social media audiences want to hear directly from your customers about your products and services and how they have impacted their lives.


Content such as videos, photos, blogs, GIFs, guides, memes and live streams are all examples of ways that your customers can interact and share their experiences with your brand online.


Many local Calgary breweries are doing an amazing job of this. The bars and restaurants that sell their beer will mention them in promotions, but things get to a whole new level when a patron at the bar posts a picture of themselves drinking the brewery’s beer. The brewery can share that post and just like that – one piece of content (in this case a posted photo) connects with audiences from the original poster, the bar and the brewery.


This demonstrates that people love the beer enough to talk about it, the bar sells enough of it to carry the beer and the brewery’s followers see that their products are available in many places and are obviously enjoyed. Those who follow the bar may have had the beer in the past and now want to follow the brewery that makes it to learn more about them.


In a situation such as the above, one piece of content ticks numerous marketing boxes. You get an inadvertent testimonial, free content and access to various other audiences you may not already have. The best part is that you’re sharing all of this from the perspective of your customer, not your business, so it’s immediately more credible and interesting.


It’s similar to influencer marketing, but much more grassroots, organic and authentic so audiences have no reason not to trust it. Your marketing appears more raw, and often more fun, when it’s told from the voice of your customer and not carefully crafted at your end.


And it’s not just beer that is benefiting from user-generated content. All brands have the ability to inspire their customers to share content, but many small businesses don’t realize just how powerful this can be for them. We’ve seen a local candle company excel at this, health foods, cosmetics, consultants, furniture, healthcare clinics, car dealerships and so much more. If you’re a small business looking to maximize a lean marketing budget, nothing will help you more than user-generated content. You can even use it to boost your SEO!

So how do you get User-Generated Content?


Encouraging user-generated content takes some planning and time, but it’s worth the investment. Consider which platform you have the strongest engagement on, what type of content your audience is most likely to create based on their preferences and what suits your products and how the creators (and your business) will share it.


Here is a quick guide of which content types work best on each platform:


●       Facebook: Videos and curated content (Live streams)

●       Instagram: High-res photos, quotes, Stories, Reels

●       Tik Tok: Short video clips that are very catchy

●       Twitter: News, blog posts and GIFs

●       LinkedIn: Jobs, company news and professional content

●       Pinterest: Infographics and step-by-step photo guides


**Don’t forget, you can also encourage your audience to post on your Google Business profile. They can share photos, videos and reviews that will give you a big boost in your local SEO efforts. For a small business that relies on local traffic, this is literal gold!


Getting your customers to share content will really depend on what you sell, your buyer personas and the preferred behaviours/platforms you are working with, but here are some general ideas that tend to get the social media universe inspired:


  1. Run a contest, promotion or challenge – As simple as it sounds, create a contest for the best entry, design a challenge that uses your product, etc. The list here is endless!

  2. Ask questions – Put forth questions to your audience asking who they share your product with, who they gift it to, what they dream about, looks they are trying out – essentially anything that your product or service inspires.

  3. Set an example – Creating a few examples of what you’re looking for is a great way to give your audience inspiration. Share how you would approach creating content as a customer of your brand to get the ball rolling. You can lean on influencers here as well.

  4. Incentivize shares – It never hurts to offer an incentive to get things going. Consider something your customers value and offer it as an incentive for sharing their content with you or even to create it. If you are trying to promote a new product, consider offering it free to several users while encouraging them to create content that demonstrates the value of your product.

  5. Use hashtags – A hashtag is a great way to create a viral user-generated content campaign. Ask your audience to tag their content with a particular hashtag. Even small businesses may be surprised how fast this can trend in your local area if you get the right momentum going for the right type of product, event or service.

  6. Reinforce and remind – Don’t be afraid to remind your audience often that you are happy to receive content from them. Posting user-generated content is one of the best ways to reinforce this, but keep changing it up and reminding your audience that you want to hear from them in this way. Also, be sure to thank the contributors, always give credit to the creator and ensure your audience knows that you consider the content useful and appreciated.


Lastly, more than 50% of consumers think that brands should provide some guidelines for creating reviews or other content. Creators want you to share their content, so letting them know what you’re looking for will ensure both sides are happy with the content that is generated. When you set out to encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand, don’t shy away from letting them know exactly what you’re looking for and how to share it.


Even the most simple user-generated content campaigns can create a major marketing boost for your business. You can increase your brand recognition, generate massive demand and grow your business, all while maximizing your marketing budget and maintaining a strong connection with your existing customers. It truly is a win for everyone to get your customers involved in creating content!

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