Mastering User-Generated Content: Strategies for Cultivating Brand Advocacy

Have you stumbled upon a heartfelt review or an honest post from a customer that has transformed your perception of a brand? If so, then you have experienced the persuasive power of user-generated content. And yes, that’s our topic for the day! 

When we talk about user-generated content, we often cast a wide net. It’s a concept well-recognized by most brands for its strategic importance. Yet, the confusion begins when we delve deeper. 

  • What concrete advantages does user-generated content (UGC) yield? 
  • Which user-shared content truly enriches your marketing endeavors? 

These are pivotal questions that need to be addressed to maximize the potential of UGC within your marketing framework. If your search for these answers to these questions has led you here, rest assured – you’ve arrived at the right place. Let’s dive right in!

User-generated content – why it matters to brands 

User-generated content refers to all types of content shared by individuals not directly affiliated with your brand. This could be content shared by fans and customers. These are posts that highlight their experience and opinions about a brand or its products/services. In fact, even employee posts that throw the spotlight on your company culture or their experience working in your organization fall under the umbrella of UGC. 

Let’s quickly go over some of the reasons that prove that UGC is one of the most valuable elements to add to your marketing strategy. 

Authenticity that builds trust 

Incorporating UGC boosts brand authenticity, as attested by nearly 75% of marketers. Considering that building an authentic brand is one of the biggest challenges several businesses face, you simply cannot ignore this statistic. Because with authenticity you nurture trust. 

Amplified and a more meaningful engagement 

By regularly sharing UGC, you can boost your brand’s engagement. We are not just talking about likes, shares, and comments but meaningful brand conversations. In fact, data shows that incorporating UGC helps increase the engagement of a social media campaign by 50%

A good example of this UGC strategy is Starbucks, renowned for its creative use of user-generated content across its social media platforms. Read through the comments in the below user post shared by the brand and you’ll know what we mean. 

The implications here are simple – a seemingly straightforward photograph captured by a customer possesses the capacity to pique the curiosity of fellow consumers, compelling them to explore the highlighted products. And yes, going by the social media standards – the engagement metrics on this post – the “Likes” count is pretty good as well! 

Cost-effective content generation 

Have you seen Apple’s Instagram page? There are 1000+ posts but none of them are from the brand. None of them involved the spending of Apple’s marketing budget. Because they are all #ShotoniPhone photos shared by iPhone users from around the world. When a big brand with a big budget can make the most of this cost-effective content-generation idea, why shouldn’t you? 

Additionally, a survey by McKinsey shows that word-of-mouth marketing (a.k.a UGC) yields about twice the results of paid advertising. This means that for a relatively smaller budget, you get relatively bigger returns! 

Better reach 

By fostering strategies that inspire users to share content about your brand, you are effectively extending your brand’s reach. When contented customers discuss their experiences on social media, they’re introducing your brand to their network. And if these individuals happen to be potential leads previously outside your target audience, your investment in UGC proves invaluable.

Increase conversions 

This benefit of UGC is directly related to the first benefit of nurturing trust through real customer stories. UGC helps people visualize the experience to expect from your brand. And this perspective helps them make a more informed and more confident purchase decision. This means that UGC increases conversions. 

We’ll explain this with an example. Watch brand CLUSE creatively harnessed UGC on social media, to express gratitude and amplify engagement. CLUSE encouraged customers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to share their watch photos and videos with the hashtags #CLUSE and #CLUSEwatches. 

By collating this user-generated content, Photoslurp fashioned a dynamic Lookbook and product page carousel, linking each entry to the respective product and user profile. This strategy yielded a remarkable 19,000 visuals from the online community, spiking conversion rates by 19%. 

Having established the practical benefits of user-generated content for brands, let’s now talk about the different types of UGC to leverage. 

How to use user-generated content in marketing 

Sharing an image or video that a user shares on social media is perhaps the first thing you think of upon hearing the term UGC. But there are many ways to use user-generated content. Let’s look at a few of them along with examples from brands that make creative use of user-generated content. 

Blogs and articles 

You’re well aware of the significance of blogs in marketing, so let’s dive straight into the real challenge – pinpointing the ideal content to blog about. It’s a hurdle we’ve all faced. Yet, fear not, for there’s a secret weapon: user-generated content (UGC). This gem holds the key to captivating your readers and fostering a loyal following that keeps returning for more. Why? Because UGC enables you to converse directly with your target audience through the voices of your existing customers. They’re living proof of your offerings, and when they share their stories, it’s like having an authentic ambassador vouch for you.

Therefore, when you leverage UGC in your blogs and articles, the magic happens – your blogs don’t feel like promotions any more! They’re genuine experiences! They are stories that every customer wishes to hear. 

Take a cue from Airbnb – their community center is a goldmine of stories from hosts. These narratives establish profound connections, resonating not only with fellow hosts but also with potential guests and leads keen on understanding the brand. That’s the power of UGC – it’s a gateway to relatable, impactful, and irresistible storytelling that every brand needs. 

Social media posts 

This is the most straightforward way to share user-generated content. Users share their stories on social media and you reshare them on your page – it’s as simple as that. To make the most of this you can leverage social listening tools that automatically track and notify you of brand mentions or posts with specific keywords. 

Sometimes, it’s as straightforward as sharing the user’s post on your social media page or Story. Alternatively, you can step it up a notch by creating a video or carousel showcasing different user stories. Since videos and carousels tend to perform well on social media, this boosts the impact of repurposed user-generated content.

Take Netflix, for instance. They regularly Retweet discussions about movies and TV shows available on their platform. They select user posts that pique curiosity and drive up viewership. This is one way they tap into the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) phenomenon.


Visual storytelling takes center stage in the realm of user-generated content (UGC). Furthermore, adding the fact that about 87% of marketers consider videos to have a positive impact on sales, generating video content with user stories is definitely a worthy consideration for your marketing strategy. 

Just like in blogs and articles, UGC videos allow your customers to share their unfiltered encounters. It’s like handing the storytelling reins to those who’ve truly experienced your brand, transforming your content into a treasure trove of genuine experiences.

Reddit’s “Maybe Together We’ll” campaign shows the strength of incorporating user-generated content into your videos. This video showcased a diverse range of narratives, reflecting the multitude of experiences and perspectives within the Reddit community. 

This idea worked for Reddit and it can work for your brand too. Because videos are the most powerful tools when it comes to evoking an emotional response from your customers. From heartwarming moments to poignant reflections, user stories capture an emotional depth unlike no other, thus forming a powerful bond between your brand and your audience. 

KIMP Tip: When creating UGC videos, ensure they are well-edited and optimized for various platforms. Need help with video editing? Then KIMP Video is the subscription for you! 

Email campaigns 

User-generated content (UGC) need not be elaborate; even the simplest customer stories shared via direct messages or feedback emails hold significant persuasive power. These candid interactions can be seamlessly integrated into your email campaigns, acting as compelling testimonials that resonate effectively with both potential leads and existing customers.

When constructing your marketing emails, consider the inclusion of user reviews and stories as genuine endorsements. Think about targeting cautious leads who are on the verge of making a decision or aiming to enhance sales opportunities with current clients. In such critical moments, the experiences shared by other customers carry an undeniable level of credibility and influence.

To illustrate this, let’s talk about Skillshare, a popular online learning platform. Even without the brand drafting a single line of promotional copy, you can deduce details about the instructors being responsive and, the quality of the content and courses being high. All this through the words of existing customers. That’s the power of UGC in email campaigns. 

KIMP Tip: When designing your email campaigns, ensure they are visually appealing, easy to read, and mobile-responsive. Struggling to create mobile response emails for your campaign? Get KIMP

Design and branding tips for user-generated content 

Now that we’ve explored using UGC effectively, let’s dive into some design and branding pointers. These will help maintain your brand identity and overall social media aesthetic while sharing posts and giving a nod to your valued customers.

  • Aim for cohesive aesthetics – if you have consistent visual templates or themes to use every time you share user stories, it creates a sense of familiarity and makes your user posts get noticed easily. These templates give you a chance to incorporate your brand colors and fonts within the design. 
  • Watermarking – adding a subtle watermark of your brand name or logo helps reinforce your brand without masking the authenticity of the user-generated content. 
  • Build campaigns around them – seamlessly integrate UGC into your marketing campaigns. Whether it’s a product launch, contest, or seasonal promotion, leverage UGC to amplify your message.
  • Don’t forget your post captions – when sharing user-generated content on social media, the post caption is one place where you can add your CTA or establish the connection and relevance of the user story. Craft compelling captions that resonate with your brand voice. Incorporate relevant hashtags and encourage users to share their stories while tagging your brand. Take cues from the creative caption of the below user post shared by GoPro. 

Well, once you know how to seamlessly infuse user-generated content into your marketing and how to add your brand’s flavor to it, the next question is how to generate more of them. In other words, how do you convince customers to share their stories? Well, when you focus on the experience, the reviews and testimonials come on their own. But a little push fuels the process a little more. And the next section is about some actionable steps to achieve this. 

Actionable steps to encourage more user content 

  • Post-sale follow-ups – these can be in the form of a physical packaging insert that encourages users to share their reviews along with links to the respective pages. Or they can also be in the form of follow-up emails that motivates them to share their experience. 
  • Hashtag campaigns – create branded hashtags that users can use when sharing content. This not only helps gather UGC in one place but also enhances brand visibility across social platforms.
  • Incentivize sharing – offer exclusive discounts, access to premium content, or early product releases to users who share UGC. This reciprocity encourages more active engagement.
  • Contests and challenges – organize engaging contests or challenges that encourage users to create and share UGC. Offer enticing rewards, recognition, or exclusive experiences to motivate participation. 
  • Celebrating milestones – acknowledge user milestones, such as anniversaries, achievements, or product usage milestones. This recognition fosters a sense of belonging and motivates UGC sharing. Spotify’s Wrapped campaign and the enthusiasm with which people talk about their Wrapped snapshots every year is just one example of the positive influence of sharing milestones. 

Design shareable posts based on user-generated content with KIMP 

As you invest in a reliable social listening tool and implement UGC strategies we’ve explored, you’ll have an endless stream of content to use. Then it all boils down to repurposing these reviews, photos, and videos and creating shareable and easily consumable posts that effortlessly fit into your marketing content. 

This is where collaborating with a design team feels like a practical decision. Because then you have a team that can help in personalizing UGC for your brand and enhancing it with engaging graphics.

If you want to further amplify these benefits with the option to request unlimited designs for a flat monthly fee, choose an unlimited design subscription, like KIMP. 

Register for free and explore the merits of unlimited design for 7 days!