Here are eight different ways brands can effectively utilise user-generated content

By Carla Watts

Tuesday, 19th of December 2023

Nike #justdoit

In today’s digital landscape, the rise of UGC creators has transformed the way brands utilise user-generated content. By harnessing the power of UGC creators, brands can effectively connect with their target audience, build trust, and leverage the creativity and authenticity of their customers. This cost-effective approach enables brands to tap into the power of user-generated content to drive meaningful engagement, increase brand credibility, and ultimately boost sales. 

Here are eight different ways brands can effectively utilise user-generated content with real-life examples. 

Nike #justdoit

1. Social Media Campaigns:

Brands often incorporate user-generated content by encouraging customers to create content featuring their products/services with a specific hashtag. This enables them to collect a wide range of UGC and showcase it across their platforms.

One example of this is Nike who often urges its customers to share their achievements using the hashtag #JustDoIt. This UGC helps to build a sense of community online. 

Trivago competition

2. Contests and Giveaways:

Running UGC contests where customers submit photos/videos/written content for prizes can help build a buzz around a brand and get more people talking about them on social media.  

For example, Trivago ran a UGC contest on Instagram with a $500 prize. Participants were asked to post a picture of their favourite hotel listed on Trivago using the hashtag #trivagofaves. 

3. Influencer Marketing Campaigns:

Brands can also collaborate with influencers who can create content in the style of UGC that features the brand’s products/services. This helps expand the brand’s reach and credibility among the influencer’s audience. 

Glossier, for example, frequently collaborates with influencers to showcase pictures and videos of how they incorporate Glossier products into their daily routine. 

Quay Australia website

4. Product Reviews:

Brands can encourage customers to leave reviews and share their thoughts which can provide new customers with valuable feedback and build trust. 

On Quay Australia’s website, visitors can view photos of real customers wearing different sunglasses styles in their ‘styled by you’ section, providing social proof for prospective buyers. They also showcase written reviews from customers on their website. Therefore, UGC product reviews help to enhance customer engagement and boost conversion rates.

5. Testimonials/Success Stories:

Brands can also ask customers to share their stories and experiences about how a brand’s product/services have improved their lives. These testimonials can then be used for marketing purposes. 

For instance, HubSpot highlights customer case studies and testimonials on its home page so it’s the first thing that potential customers will see. They often share figures, such as “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Grows Its Audience By 81% With HubSpot. By outlining impressive statistics and notable brands, site visitors are made aware of the capabilities of HubSpot which can help improve conversion rates. 

6. User-Generated TV Commercials:

Some brands involve their customers in creating TV adverts by inviting them to submit videos showcasing their brand experience or explaining why they love the brand. 

An excellent example of user-generated commercials was the ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ Campaign by Doritos that ran for ten years. This gave fans the opportunity to submit their own commercials with the premise that they may be aired during the Super Bowl. Every year, Doritos would pick a few commercials that would be aired, as well as a winner who would receive $1 million. This campaign generated significant attention and media coverage, and gave aspiring filmmakers and content creators the chance to gain considerable exposure. 

7. Social Change:

Brands can also incorporate UGC to help advocate for social change and engage their audiences with meaningful causes. 

For example, Lounge Underwear is dedicated to empowering women, as well as advocating for women’s health. They launched their #FeelYourBreast campaign in 2019 and each year they share content created by their customers which encourages people to #FeelYourBreast. In 2022, the company raised over £500,000 for Breast Cancer Awareness. As a result, UGC allowed Lounge Underwear to build an online community which is based on shared values and a common goal of empowering women everywhere. 

IKEA Open Source Sofa Design from Royal Academy of Arts workshop

8. Innovation and Product Development:

Brands can ask their customers to contribute ideas or suggestions for new products or improvements to existing ones. This UGC can be used to drive innovation and better meet customer needs.

IKEA is a prime example of a brand that actively encourages its customers to submit ideas and improvements for new and existing products. They do this through their co-creation platform and initiatives like IKEA Bootcamps. This interactive approach enables IKEA to engage with their customers, gather valuable insights and enhance their product development process. The Privacy screen and Baby’s crib in the photo from The Wall Street Journal below were proposed designs from the Royal Academy of Arts during an IKEA sponsored workshop.