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How to Utilize User Generated Content

It’s the age of the Millennials, the first digital natives, the social media enthusiasts and the content creators. According to Crowdtap, Millennials, “report spending 5.4 hours a day with content created by their peers.” That said, not only is there more user generated content being produced at this point but it is also the preferred content for users to consume.

But, what is user generated content (UGC) really? User generated content (UGC) is defined as “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, and other forms of media that were created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites.” As marketers we often use UGC to our benefit. However, are you sure you’re getting the most out of user generated content? Keep reading for three ways to use UGC to better your marketing game:



The first use of user generated content may seem obvious, since it’s part of the phrase itself: content.  Repurposing user generated content for a client’s digital content, including social media posts, blogs and videos, can be a big win that can make a brand appear more approachable. The right usage, attribution and timing can result in shares, engagement and additional user generated content that a brand can use.

According to Socialnomics, “90% of consumers trust peer recommendations.” With that in mind, it makes complete sense to leverage content produced by average consumers who have naturally become brand advocates, instead of a traditional celebrity endorsement or spokesperson. The authenticity that is created when a “real” everyday person advocates for a product is what using UGC as brand content is all about.


Focus Group

A focus group is a demographically diverse group of people assembled to participate in a guided discussion about a particular topic. When it comes to sampling a demographically diverse group of people, there is no better place than the world wide web. Once of the greatest accomplishments of the digital age, is the ability to connect with people all over the world.

We recently learned about a new third party program called Chute Insights, “which monitors photos and videos shared about your brand, industry and competitors in real-time and organizes then by popularity, trends, content creators or time.” When Chute’s co-founder, Gregarious Narain, introduced Chute Insights, he referred to it as an “always-on focus group.” This analogy immediately made sense in a broader way.

As marketers we have the access and knowledge to utilize user generated content as a focus group anytime we need. By viewing UGC in this way you’re able to glean insights about demographics, sentiment, etc. and use that information to inform future strategy, campaigns and product development.

Campaigns & Promotions

We’ve all been there before, it’s been a long week and now you need a brilliant idea for a new promotion/campaign but your creativity well has run dry. This is the optimum time to turn to user generated content for inspiration. Taking a look at what consumers are celebrating about a brand, as well as, the negative chatter surrounding a brand is a great jumping off point when dreaming up the next big idea.

UGC may just be at the center of that next big idea. Everyone from Red Bull to Target have launched campaigns that revolve around eliciting user generated content from consumers, which in turn creates more content for these brands to use.

User generated content has become a vital tactic in content marketing to increase brand legitimacy, visibility and sentiment. As marketers we think we know brands better than anyone else, but as the saying goes, “The customer is always right.”