The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

How Can User-Generated Content (UGC) Benefit Your Small Business?

What is User-Generated Content?

Simply stated, User-Generated Content, or UGC, is any brand specific content created by customers. This content can be published on social media platforms, in the forms of posts or stories, podcasts, testimonials, and more. UGC can become a large benefit to those in small businesses, where you can use your customer’s promotion of your product to gain new customers and customer loyalty.

Not only can it gain new customers and loyalty, it can also influence engagement. Creating a space where customers can engage together with your product or service will create a community. Have you ever bought a product a friend or family member raved about? Have you seen them post about a product on their social media pages? That is UGC at work! Customers not only like to talk about products they use and trust, but can influence friends and family to test the product too. “People ultimately trust other people, so it’s essential to think of UGC as the modern-day word of mouth.”

User-Generated Content allows your customers and fans to do the work for you. Your fan-base is creative, and as a brand you should be showcasing your customers. Gaining UGC from your customer base will allow you to engage with them. Engaging with them will also put a person behind the brand for them. A brand-to-customer relationship does not always have to be transactional. Customers enjoy hearing from a brand and knowing there is someone else on the other side!

Where Can You Find User-Generated Content to Use in a Campaign?

User-Generated Content does not have to be created from a contest. There are many places in which your customer base already talks about your brand. Social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and even Reddit already have UGC within them. As a brand, listening in on the social conversation will allow you to gain UGC easily.

Social listening will help a brand find every conversation across all social platforms, whether it be positive, negative or neutral in sentiment. Positive sentiment can be a potential in using for UGC, while at the same time you can address negative discussions. It is the easiest way to gather the content throughout all platforms within one system. Small businesses can benefit from gathering content in this fashion if they are a small team, allowing for time management to gather, evaluate, and continue on with the social media strategy.

Small Business UGC Use

Small businesses should take advantage of finding and implementing UGC into their social campaigns. Within a marketing strategy, this is the most effective and cost-effective marketing strategy that can be implemented. Without having to pay to create content from influencers, your customer base is creating it all on their own.

What Are Types of User-Generated Content?

  • Video
  • Photo
  • Testimonial
  • Podcasts
  • Live Stream
  • Social Media posts
  • Product review
  • Blog posts
  • YouTube content

Tips to Use User-Generated Content.

ALWAYS ask for permission to use content. Don’t just assume that your advocates are creating content to be used in a social campaign. Your advocates are creating content for their followers to see. Create a relationship with them by asking to use their content with permission. Not only will you create this relationship, but there will be respect as well between you and your advocates. Your customers will thank you in the end for this as well, knowing that your UGC is coming from strong, trusted sources.

While asking is the first step, always make sure you credit your UGC source. Whether you tag them in a photo or add them in a caption, give credit where credit is due. In order to do this across platforms, check with your customer that they have a page or channel in which you can tag them in. Don’t always guess they have one! You will certainly become respected the more you ask!

People want to know what type of content a brand wants to use for UGC. Creators want you as a brand to share their content, but they truly want to create content that will work for your marketing strategy. If you are not sure where or what type of content that is being created will fit within your social strategy, take a moment to reflect. Sit down and look at your strategy, asking yourself what type of content will fit. Do they align with your marketing goals? What social platforms will be best to incorporate user-generated content?

What to Use on Each Platform

Not sure what type of UGC to use on each platform? Tailoring your content to each individual platform will help in optimizing your strategy. Some of the most popular platforms and the best type of content for each are below:

Facebook – full-video content and stories

Twitter – Image sharing

Instagram – the mega of image sharing. know how to regram and leverage hashtags

TikTok – short viral videos

LinkedIn – must be vetted and relevant, as this is where professionals are located

Using specific content for each platform will elevate not only your strategy cohesively among the platform, but allow content that benefits your customer base per platform as well. Not every social platform is the same, and therefore should have an individual aspect to the overall marketing strategy. Tailoring the content of each platform will engage with your customers on a longer level, where posting the same content to various social platforms may lose followers on others. Diversity is key here!


Create a guideline for your customers to create User-Generated Content for you! Tell them what you are looking for with what type and subject of the content to create.

Read more about UGC:

Category: Advanced Tactics, Social Media Marketing 101