Why Is User Generated Content (UGC) So Important?

May 2, 2024 Content Marketing 1 comment

UGC importance

In the world of social media, User-Generated Content (UGC) has emerged as a game-changer. But why is UGC making such waves, and what makes it so special and precious?

UGC is the fuel that powers social media. It offers authenticity, engagement, and an extended reach that traditional marketing strategies often struggle to achieve. However, like any powerful tool, it comes with its own set of challenges.

This article will guide you through the ins and outs of UGC. From grasping its significance to overcoming its challenges and mastering content moderation strategies, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of it’s crucial role in digital marketing.

Let’s buckle up and get ready to delve into the fascinating world of User-Generated Content!

What is User Generated Content (UGC)?

First, let’s look at a definition of UGC.

User-Generated Content (UGC) is a powerful tool in the world of social media marketing. It refers to any content — text, videos, images, reviews, etc., created by users rather than brands.

Often such content is created by your customers or fans when they use your product or services. This could be as simple as sharing a 15-second Instagram story of their new make-up look using your cosmetic products, writing a review of your hotel on TripAdvisor, to filming a TikTok documenting their weight loss journey in your gym.

UGC is genuine, relatable, and highly influential as they come from users themselves. They are valuable content assets for any brand looking to boost their social media presence.

Why is User Generated Content (UGC) Important?

There are many benefits to UGC.

First, it offers authenticity. In an age of increasing consumer scepticism and cynicism, UGC provides a sense of trust and credibility that branded content often struggles to achieve.

It’s all about real people sharing their real experiences after all. This can be highly effective in persuading potential customers to come on board.

Secondly, UGC fosters a sense of community and engagement. When consumers share their own content, they’re not just passive recipients of marketing messages; they’re active participants in the brand narrative.

This engagement can help to foster a stronger connection between consumers and brands, building loyalty and advocacy.

Finally, UGC can significantly extend the reach of a brand by tapping on the power of word-of-mouth online.

Every piece of user-generated content that mentions or relates to a brand serves as a form of free advertising. This potentially reaches a vast audience of prospects who cannot be reached through traditional marketing channels.

User Generated Content Strategy for Social Media

Here are some effective ways to tap onto user generated content on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter or any other social media platform.

To make it easier for you to visualise these strategies, I’ve provided examples of such UGC examples across various industries.

1. Encourage Social Media Reviews and Ratings

One of the simplest forms of UGC is customer reviews and ratings. These could be forums, as well as Google Reviews and social media pages.

For instance, a training company could encourage their clients to leave reviews on their social media pages or website about their experiences with the training programs. Highlighting positive reviews on your social media channels can showcase customer satisfaction and build trust with your audience.

2. Create Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are an excellent way to aggregate UGC, especially on Instagram and TikTok.

An F&B brand, for example, could create a unique hashtag like #TasteTheGoodness and encourage customers to use it when posting about their dining experiences. This not only increases your brand visibility but also creates a collection of UGC that you can feature on your own social media channels.

(PS — Sometimes, you need to sweeten the deal a little to get your guests to write about you.)

3. Run Social Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a great way to incentivise UGC.

A women’s shampoo brand could run a contest asking followers to post a before-and-after photo showing the effects of using their shampoo with a specific hashtag. This not only generates a wealth of UGC but also increases engagement and expands your reach as participants share their entries with their own followers.

4. Feature User-Generated Content

Regularly featuring UGC on your own social media channels can encourage more users to share their own content.

A grocery store, for example, could share photos of meals that customers have made with their products on Instagram or TikTok, giving credit to the original poster. This can create a snowball effect, generating a continuous stream of UGC.

5. Collaborate with Influencers

Influencer-generated content is a form of UGC that can have a massive impact.

A B2B manufacturing firm could collaborate with industry influencers who can create authentic content about their products or services and share it with their followers, expanding your reach and generating more UGC from their followers. This could be done on Facebook or LinkedIn, or even YouTube if the influencer is au fait with creating longer-form videos.

6. Encourage User-Generated Videos

With the rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels, user-generated videos are more popular than ever.

An F&B brand could encourage their Instagram followers to create videos of unique recipes using their products. This could be a fun way to engage customers and generate interesting content.

7. Incentivise Customers to Create Content

Incentives can be a powerful motivator for customers to create and share content about your brand.

For instance, an IT company selling software could offer free upgrades or additional features to customers who share positive experiences or case studies of using their software on social media. This not only encourages the creation of UGC but also provides a tangible reward for customers’ efforts.

8. Launch Thematic UGC Campaign

Finally, consider launching a UGC campaign around a specific theme, event, festive occasion, or product launch.

A training company, for example, could launch a campaign asking clients to share their success stories after completing a training program, using a specific hashtag.

Challenges of User Generated Content

While User-Generated Content (UGC) offers numerous benefits, it also presents several challenges.

One of the primary challenges is content moderation. With the volume of UGC being created and shared, it can be a daunting task for brands to monitor and manage this content. Brands must be vigilant in filtering out inappropriate or harmful content that could potentially damage their reputation or violate regulations. (More on this below.)

Another challenge is maintaining authenticity. The power of UGC lies in its authenticity and the genuine experiences of users. However, incentivising UGC or attempting to control its creation risks undermining authenticity. Striking the right balance is tricky.

Quality control is another consideration. User-generated content can vary widely in quality—poor-quality UGC can have a negative impact on a brand. Its tough to ensure that UGC meets certain standards without infringing on the creative freedom of users.

Finally, copyright issues may arise with UGC. Users may unknowingly infringe on copyright laws by using protected music, images, or other content in their posts. Brands must be careful when sharing or using UGC to ensure they do not violate copyright laws.

User Generated Content Moderation

To avoid the drawbacks of UGC, it is important to have in place a user generated content moderation policy. Ensuring that UGC aligns with your brand’s values, guidelines, and legal requirements are key dimensions of this.

#1 Establishing User Generated Content Standards

Start with crafting UGC standards, taking reference from your brand’s content policy or guidelines. They help to set the expectations for what is considered acceptable content from users and should cover the following:

  • Appropriate language use
  • Relevance to the community
  • Respect for other users
  • Paying heed to intellectual property
  • Prohibitions against harmful or illegal content

Here’s an example of such UGC standards for an FMCG company’s Facebook Group:

  1. Relevance: Posts should be related to the brand or industry.
  2. Respect: Maintain respectful and courteous communication.
  3. No Spam: Avoid repetitive posts or self-promotion.
  4. Legality: Do not share illegal or copyrighted content.
  5. Product Feedback: Share constructive, respectful feedback about products.
  6. Privacy: Do not share others’ private information without consent.
  7. Moderation rules: The brand may remove violating content or members.
  8. Reporting: Members should report any violations of these standards.

#2 Strategies in UGC Content Moderation

There are several approaches to content moderation that you can adopt.

Pre-moderation involves reviewing content before they’re published. Here, your role is to ensure that inappropriate content is filtered out before it reaches the public. While this can help to potentially nip problem content in the bud, it slows down the rate at which UGC is published, and can be resource-intensive.

Post-moderation, on the other hand, allows content to be published immediately but is reviewed shortly after. This approach allows for real-time interaction but requires a quick response to any inappropriate content. Hence, you need a moderator to closely monitor what’s being put online.

Automated moderation uses artificial intelligence or machine learning to filter content based on predefined criteria. While this can be efficient, it may not always accurately interpret context and nuance.

A hybrid approach, combining automated processes with human review, often provides the most effective solution. Automated systems can handle the bulk of the content, flagging potential issues for human moderators to review. This approach combines the efficiency of automation with the nuanced understanding of a human reviewer.

Regardless of the method chosen, transparency is key in content moderation. Users should be aware of the guidelines and the consequences of violating them.

Clear communication about why certain content was removed and providing a channel for users to appeal decisions can help maintain a sense of fairness and trust within the community.


In conclusion, UGC is a powerful tool for social media marketing, providing authentic and relatable content that can boost your brand’s credibility and reach.

By encouraging reviews, creating branded hashtags, running contests, featuring UGC, collaborating with influencers, leveraging user-generated videos, incentivising customers, and creating UGC campaigns, you can effectively tap into the power of UGC for your social media success.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.

One Comment

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>