Leveraging user-generated content in your PR strategy 

- July 9, 2024 3 MIN READ


User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in your PR arsenal. It can be an affordable and effective method for small businesses and startups to punch above their weight and secure brand share, build a loyal following and boost revenue, explains Kathryn Goater and Anthony Caruana, Co-CEOs and Co-Founders, Media-Wize  

In the digital age, small businesses can face myriad challenges when it comes to standing out in a crowded marketplace, especially without deep pockets to spend on digital advertising and marketing. Including user-generated content (UGC) in your strategy can be a low-cost way to garner attention and improve your brand’s reputation.

What is user-generated content?

UGC is a great point of social proof and builds engagement for your brand. Every time a customer posts a positive interaction with your brand and tags you, it builds trust and authenticity.

UGC includes images and testimonials on social media that promote your products and services. Some brands place QR codes in change rooms to encourage customers to take and share snaps while they try on outfits. Others encourage customers to purchase the product and share images on social media to receive a discount on their next purchase when they tag the company. Others run competitions on social media to encourage customers to post and tag them to win prizes.

What’s in a UGC strategy?

A well-planned UGC strategy leverages content created by your customers, turning them into powerful brand advocates that enhance your overall customer acquisition and retention strategy. 

To kickstart a successful UGC strategy, encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand. Implementing user-friendly hashtags, running contests, or creating interactive campaigns are effective ways to prompt users to generate content. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok and LinkedIn provide excellent channels for users to share their stories, photos, and videos.  

When customers engage and follow through on posts, promptly respond to the post to thank the customer publicly and share how delighted you are that they are happy with the purchase or their experience. Reshare the post on your page so they feel extra special and so other people can see the positive sentiment your brand is generating.  

Building brand trust

In an era where trust, authenticity and transparency are highly valued, UGC serves as a genuine representation of your brand. By showcasing real customers who are engaging with your products or services, you establish trust with potential new customers and create goodwill and loyalty.  

You can leverage this authenticity to differentiate your business from larger competitors, emphasising the personal touch and genuine experiences associated with your brand. If you’re trying to engage media with your brand, journalists can look at your socials and see the positive user engagement. This helps build credibility by highlighting that what you’re doing resonates with your customers.  

Creating grassroots community around your brand requires actively engaging with your audience. Respond to all comments, ask questions, and foster conversations. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to create and share UGC.  

Engagement levers

Use analytics tools to track engagement, reach, and conversion rates so you can refine your strategy as you learn more about what works best for your business. Pay attention to the type of content that your audience engages with and refine your approach accordingly. Regularly assess the impact of UGC on PR and sales efforts to continually optimise your strategy. 

By turning satisfied customers into brand advocates, UGC amplifies trust and credibility, driving both customer acquisition and retention. Implementing a well-crafted UGC strategy, underpinned by real-time engagement and continuous optimisation, ensures that your brand not only stands out but also resonates deeply with its audience. In essence, UGC transforms your customers into the most authentic and influential marketers, propelling your brand’s success in a meaningful and cost-effective way. 

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UGC 101: Why you should embrace user-generated content for your business marketing