User-Generated Content: Types and Best Practices

upqode | Nov 30th, 2023

Should you believe that user-generated content is limited to a few product snapshots shared on Instagram, think again!

The world of user-generated content is vast, encompassing everything from social media posts to in-depth product reviews and beyond.

Yet, with this plethora of choices, it can be challenging to discern which UGC style suits your business best. In our blog post, we’ll delve into the diverse forms of user-generated content, uncover their advantages, and offer strategies for motivating your customers to contribute even more!

What Is User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content (UGC), is any form of content such as social media posts, photos, product reviews, or blog articles, created and shared by your customers or enthusiasts.

UGC serves as a potent instrument for brands, enabling them to harness their audience’s creativity and enthusiasm, thereby fostering a more genuine and captivating brand persona.

social media marketing illustration
Source: Pixabay

Consider a scenario where you own an online shop, and a customer shares an Instagram photo showcasing their new bag. This image is a prime example of UGC.

It not only highlights your exquisite coffee and its presentation but also potentially encourages others to visit and experience it themselves. The true beauty of UGC lies in its higher engagement and effectiveness compared to conventional advertising.

Its authenticity stems from real customers who share their positive experiences with your brand, rather than from a business pushing its products. Moreover, as UGC frequently circulates on social media, it holds the power to expand your reach, generate excitement, and elevate your brand’s presence.

The Significance of User-Generated Content

Enhances Brand Loyalty 

User-Generated Content (UGC) offers customers more than just a passive role; it invites them to actively contribute to a brand’s evolution. This active involvement significantly strengthens brand loyalty and connection, as people naturally seek to be part of something larger than themselves. 

By generating UGC, customers become integral members of the brand’s community.

The act of sharing content created by the audience not only nurtures but also deepens the relationship between the audience and the business, thereby reinforcing brand loyalty.

Elevates Authenticity 

In today’s digital landscape, brands are constantly competing for visibility and audience engagement. This intense competition has led to consumers becoming increasingly discerning in their interactions and purchases with brands.

The quest for authentic content isn’t limited to consumers; marketers acknowledge the critical importance of authenticity and quality in content creation. In this context, User-Generated Content (UGC) from customers stands out as the most authentic type of content.

It’s crucial to resist the urge to fabricate user-generated posts or campaigns. Audiences are adept at detecting insincerity, which can have detrimental effects on a brand’s reputation. Authentic UGC should ideally originate from three key sources: your customers, dedicated brand supporters, or your own employees.

Boost Sales 

In the crucial concluding phases of a consumer’s buying process, user-generated content (UGC) plays a pivotal role in swaying audience decisions towards making a purchase.

Acting as genuine social validation, UGC demonstrates the value and desirability of your products. When potential buyers observe individuals similar to themselves engaging with your product, it significantly persuades them towards making a purchase decision.

Versatile and Dynamic

User-Generated Content (UGC) extends beyond social media, integrating seamlessly into various marketing strategies for a comprehensive omnichannel approach.

Consider incorporating UGC images in abandoned cart emails as a persuasive element for potential buyers, or embedding user-generated content on crucial landing pages to enhance conversion rates.

Serves as a Marker of Trustworthiness

In an era where establishing trust is paramount for brands, user-generated content (UGC) emerges as a key trust indicator. With 93% of marketers concurring that customer-created content is more trusted by consumers than brand-generated content, UGC stands as an ideal tool for enhancing a brand’s credibility.

Just as individuals seek advice from friends, family, or their professional circle, audiences look to UGC as a reliable source of information, mirroring the trust placed in personal recommendations.

Types Of User-Generated Content

Social Media

PhotosCustomers frequently post images showcasing your products in use, or displaying them in unique and artistic ways on Instagram.
StoriesTools like Instagram stories provide a platform for more relaxed, behind-the-scenes content from customers. 
PostsRegularly encountered on social media, these posts often involve customers sharing their brand experiences, showcasing your products in pictures.
VideosPlatforms like YouTube and TikTok are hotspots for video-based UGC. Customers might create review videos or unbox products.

Example: GoPro’s Million Dollar Challenge

GoPro initiated a competition inviting customers to submit their top-notch GoPro footage for the opportunity to win a portion of one million dollars.

This challenge resulted in more than 25,000 video entries, and GoPro showcased the victorious submissions on their social media platforms.

GoPro challenge
Source: GoPro

Product Reviews and Ratings

Reviews and ratings significantly influence consumer purchase decisions. Here are strategies to motivate your customers to provide feedback:

  • Offer small rewards, like discounts, for leaving a review.
  • Demonstrate appreciation for customer input by replying to their reviews, both positive and negative. This not only prompts others to share their experiences but also helps you address any concerns.
  • Ensure the review or rating procedure is straightforward. You might send a post-purchase email with a direct link to the review page.
  • Prominently display customer reviews and ratings on your website and social media. Observing positive feedback from others can significantly encourage potential buyers.

Example: Amazon product reviews

Amazon product reviews
Source: Amazon

Amazon extensively utilizes customer reviews for almost every product. These reviews provide real user feedback, aiding others in making informed purchasing decisions. Amazon’s review system has become a pivotal part of its customer experience, showcasing the importance of genuine user opinions.

Blogs And Guest Posts

Incorporating user-generated blog content offers multiple advantages for your brand. This type of content brings in new viewpoints and understandings about your industry or products, offering perspectives you might not have previously explored.

Additionally, it boosts interaction with your audience, motivating them to share their personal experiences and opinions.

Here are some strategies to encourage and manage this type of content:

Invite Contributions: 

Actively invite customers, industry experts, or enthusiasts to contribute to your blog. This can be done through social media, newsletters, or a dedicated section on your website. Clearly communicate the benefits for contributors, such as exposure, community involvement, or other incentives.

Set Clear Guidelines: 

Establish clear guidelines for submissions. This includes the type of content you’re looking for, the tone, style, word count, and any thematic requirements. Clear guidelines ensure consistency in quality and relevance to your brand.

Offer Topics or Themes: 

To help potential contributors, provide a list of topics or themes you’re interested in. This can inspire writers and ensure the content aligns with your brand’s messaging and goals.

Simplify the Submission Process: 

Make the submission process as easy as possible. Consider setting up a simple form on your website or providing a direct email address for submissions.

Provide Feedback and Edit Submissions: 

Offer constructive feedback to contributors and ensure that the submitted content aligns with your brand’s voice and quality standards. Editing for clarity, grammar, and brand alignment is crucial before publishing.

Leverage SEO Practices: 

Encourage contributors to include relevant keywords and SEO practices in their content. This enhances the visibility of their posts and your website.

Build a Contributor Community: 

Foster a sense of community among your contributors. Consider creating a private group or forum where they can share ideas, receive updates, and interact with each other.

Monitor Performance: 

Track the performance of guest posts to understand what resonates with your audience. Use these insights to guide future content themes and contributor outreach.


Contests as a type of User-Generated Content (UGC) offer a dynamic and engaging way to boost audience interaction and enhance brand visibility. By inviting users to participate in creative challenges, whether it’s through submitting photos, designing products, or writing reviews, contests tap into the creativity of the audience, yielding a wealth of diverse and original content. 

This format not only increases user engagement but also strengthens community bonds as participants often interact with, and share, each other’s entries.

In addition to fostering a vibrant community atmosphere, contests serve as a valuable tool for gathering user data, such as preferences and contact information, which can be invaluable for future marketing efforts. 

They also drive brand awareness more organically than traditional advertising, as participants share their entries on their own social networks, reaching a broader audience. The rich, authentic content generated can be repurposed across various marketing channels, adding real-life testimonials and user experiences to the brand’s narrative.

Contests can be adapted to fit different themes and can be conducted across various platforms, catering to different audience segments. They are also an effective way to introduce and promote new products or services, engaging users directly with these offerings. 

Example: Starbucks’ White Cup Contest

Starbucks launched the White Cup Contest, where customers were invited to doodle on their Starbucks cups and submit pictures of their artwork. The winning design was then used on a limited edition Starbucks cup. This contest not only engaged customers creatively but also gave Starbucks fresh, artistic content for its marketing.

Podcasts or Audio 

Podcasts and other forms of audio content stand out in the UGC landscape for their ability to create a personal and engaging connection with audiences, cater to specific interests, and offer depth in content. For brands and creators, this medium offers a unique way to tell stories, build communities, and engage with audiences on a more personal level.

The accessibility of podcasts and audio content is a key advantage. They can be consumed on-the-go, fitting seamlessly into daily routines like commuting or exercising, making them a convenient option for a wide range of audiences. 

This format is particularly appealing for presenting long-form content, which is ideal for in-depth discussions, storytelling, or exploring complex topics that require more than just a quick read or glance.

For brands, utilizing podcasts and audio content as UGC can significantly enhance storytelling and brand narrative. It offers an opportunity to delve deeper into topics, share expert opinions, customer stories, or behind-the-scenes insights in a format that is both engaging and easily digestible.

Moreover, podcasts and audio content can be repurposed across multiple channels. For example, key takeaways from a podcast can be turned into a blog post, social media content, or even incorporated into video formats, broadening the reach and impact of the original content.

Example: Spotify

Spotify, while primarily a music streaming service, has delved into podcasting by featuring user-created podcasts. This approach not only diversifies their content but also gives users a platform to share their stories or expertise, aligning with Spotify’s user-centric approach.

Spotify for Podcasters platform as example of user generated content
Source: Spotify for Podcasters

To Sum Up

Motivating your audience to generate more User-Generated Content (UGC) can be challenging, yet it plays a crucial role in strengthening your brand’s presence.

Cultivating a brand image that resonates positively with your audience is key. People tend to engage more with brands they feel connected to. Align your brand’s messaging and ethos with the interests and values of your target demographic. Create an inviting and relatable brand persona that naturally encourages user interaction.

Consider offering incentives to spark UGC creation. Organizing contests, challenges, or giveaways can effectively motivate users to produce and share content. This approach not only boosts engagement but also fosters a sense of community around your brand.

Finally, providing clear guidelines about the kind of UGC you are seeking can greatly influence the relevance and quality of the content produced. Clear instructions help ensure that the user-generated content aligns with your brand’s vision and messaging, leading to more cohesive and impactful UGC.

Ready to Elevate Your Brand’s Digital Presence?

At UPQODE, we understand the power of user-generated content and its impact on digital marketing. Whether it’s enhancing your website’s design to showcase customer content, developing a user-friendly platform for content submission, or crafting a targeted SEO strategy to amplify your UGC reach, our team is ready to assist.

Filed under: Marketing

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