Nothing beats the authenticity of a customer sharing their genuine thoughts or feelings about your brand. That’s why having a proper UGC strategy is a cornerstone of any marketer’s playbook. With customers enthusiastically promoting your brand on your behalf, UGC not only builds trust but also fosters organic relationships with your consumers. And the best part? It’s a win-win situation. Customers get to express their satisfaction while brands bask in the glow of free, authentic promotion. 

However, collecting user-generated content (UGC) isn’t always a walk in the park. That’s why we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll delve into 7 UGC best practices, uncovering the transformative power it holds for brands looking to expand their reach and enhance customer engagement. 

1. Be smart and set goals

Before diving into your UGC content strategy, make sure you set clear, well-defined goals. Without a roadmap, it’s like navigating in the dark – you might stumble upon something good, but you won’t know if it’s taking you where you want to go. Hence, take the time to outline your objectives; whether it’s boosting brand awareness, driving conversions, or fostering brand loyalty. Having a clear destination in mind will guide your UGC marketing strategy towards success.

For instance, if your aim is to increase brand awareness, consider launching a branded hashtag campaign. By encouraging customers to share their experiences, you can amplify your brand’s reach and visibility across social media platforms. Alternatively, if your focus is on driving conversions, integrating UGC into your email marketing campaigns can be highly effective. Featuring testimonials in your emails can provide social proof that nudges potential customers towards making a purchase. 

In essence, the key is to align your strategy with your broader marketing objectives. If you keep your goals front and center, you can ensure that your UGC strategy is not only impactful but also aligned with the bigger picture of your marketing efforts.

2. Get the ball rolling

Kickstart your UGC strategy by actively encouraging customers to participate. Don’t sit back and wait for them to spontaneously share their experiences – take the initiative and guide them in the right direction. Provide clear guidelines on the type of content you’re looking for, empowering customers to unleash their creativity. By setting the stage and defining expectations, you pave the way for a flood of innovative UGC. 

One effective tactic is to start a trend, challenge, or contest. Injecting a dose of gamification into your UGC generation strategy can ignite excitement and motivate your audience to join in. Another simple yet powerful method is to create a dedicated hashtag and regularly remind customers to use it. By establishing a specific hashtag for UGC generation, you streamline the process and make it easier for customers to contribute. 

The North Face UGC collection strategy using a specific hashtag for UGC generation.

Don’t overlook the potential of integrating UGC prompts directly into your website or app. By seamlessly incorporating requests for user-generated content into the user experience, you remove barriers to participation and encourage spontaneous contributions. 

LEGO's UGC strategy is incorporated into their website, urging customers to share their content.

However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between guidance and freedom. While providing direction is essential, avoid stifling creativity with overly restrictive guidelines. Embrace diversity and authenticity by giving users the creative freedom to express themselves. Remember, the more authentic the content, the more genuine the engagement – and enthusiasm to participate will flourish accordingly.

3. Get the green light

Before showcasing any user-generated content, ensure you have explicit permission from the content creator. While social media content is publicly available, it’s still protected by copyright laws. Reach out to the content creator directly to obtain their consent for using their content on your platforms. It’s important you have a record of a conversation with their approval to mitigate any potential legal issues down the road. 

Example of a proper rights request message from Dr. Martens's UGC strategy.

Implementing a proper approach for acquiring explicit rights is essential for leveraging UGC effectively while respecting copyright holders’ rights. With Social Native’s built-in UGC Rights Management tool, this step can be easily streamlined. Our technology makes it easy to obtain explicit consent from users and turn earned content into owned assets. You can easily request rights in bulk, personalize your rights requests, secure rights automatically and more.

Additionally, always try to credit the original content creator as a gesture of respect. Not only does this demonstrate appreciation for their contribution, but it also sets a positive precedent for future interactions with other consumers.

4. Stay true to your brand

While UGC can enhance your marketing efforts, not all content will align with your brand’s image and therefore be useful. It’s crucial to curate UGC that resonates with your brand values and identity to ensure consistency across distribution channels. That way, you can increase engagement and reinforce brand recognition among your target audience. 

The significance of content moderation for user-generated campaigns cannot be overstated. Why is content moderation important for user-generated campaigns? Because it enables you to sift through UGC effectively, identifying content that aligns with your brand’s purpose and messaging.

With Social Native’s curation services, you can streamline the content moderation process. Leveraging advanced technology and human expertise, we sift through vast amounts of UGC, curating high-quality and on-brand content tailored to your campaign objectives. By prioritizing brand alignment in your UGC strategy and leveraging effective content moderation tools, you can ensure that every piece of user-generated content reinforces your brand identity and resonates with your target audience.

5. Give back

The best user-generated content often comes from genuine fans, simply excited to share their experiences. Yet, showing a little appreciation can go a long way. Offering incentives or rewards to customers who share their content is a meaningful gesture that fosters community and brand loyalty. 

When implementing rewards, it’s essential to choose options that fit your audience, brand values, and budget. You can start small, offering discount codes to those who share content. Or you can aim for bigger incentives, like organizing a giveaway contest for participants who share videos featuring your product.

By demonstrating appreciation and offering incentives, you not only acknowledge the value of UGC but also encourage ongoing participation. This will ultimately strengthen your community and amplify your marketing efforts.

6. Diversify your display

Expand your UGC content strategy reach by showcasing it across multiple channels and platforms. Don’t limit yourself to just one avenue – there are numerous ways to effectively utilize this content. While social media often takes the spotlight for UGC, don’t overlook other valuable formats. Explore opportunities to integrate UGC into various channels, including ads, email marketing, website features, and even offline marketing efforts. 

Email Marketing campaign from Neutrogena offering discounts.

UGC in email marketing

Bershka promotes their UGC strategy in-story, sharing their collection hashtag.

UGC in store promotion

Billboard from American Eagle in the street promoting their hastag with a picture of a girl on the side.

UGC in street billboard

Regardless of the channel you choose, ensure that each piece of content includes a clear call-to-action. Whether it’s digital or offline, prompting your audience to take action is key to maximizing the impact of your UGC strategy.

7. Measure what matters

Monitoring the performance of your UGC campaigns is not just a good practice – it’s essential for driving success in your marketing efforts. With the help of monitoring tools, you can delve into the data, analyzing key metrics to understand how your campaigns are resonating with your audience. By regularly tracking the impact of your initiatives, you gain valuable insights into what’s working and what’s not. This data-driven approach empowers you to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement, enabling you to refine your strategy for maximum impact.

Our Global Analytics tool is a comprehensive hub for performance data and insights specifically tailored to UGC. This feature will be your go-to resource for refining and evolving your content strategy, propelling business growth. By measuring the impact of UGC on various KPIs throughout the buyer’s journey, you gain a deeper understanding of its influence. The data provided by our analytics tool will empower you to optimize your UGC campaigns and achieve tangible results.

Social Native's Global Analytics tool is a comprehensive hub for UGC and Creator campaign insights.
Mastering your UGC strategy with Social Native

In conclusion, UGC generation isn’t just about showcasing customer content. It’s a powerful form of social listening that provides invaluable insights into your audience’s preferences and behaviors. By leveraging these UGC best practices, brands can enhance their marketing strategies and foster deeper connections with their audience. 

However, navigating the complexities of UGC generation requires a proper strategy and support. It’s not enough to simply repost content. Brands need a comprehensive approach to effectively manage and leverage UGC across various channels and platforms. 

This is where Social Native comes in. As your trusted partner, Social Native offers a suite of solutions designed to streamline UGC generation and optimization. From collection to curation and analytics, we provide the guidance and support brands need to succeed in their UGC strategies. With Social Native by your side, unlock the full potential of UGC and harness its transformative power to drive engagement, build brand loyalty, and achieve meaningful results.

Unlock UGC Success with Social Native