Written by Hayley Bromfield • Published 27th November 2019 • 5 minute read

When it comes to making a purchasing decision who would you be more likely to trust? A brand or a fellow customer review and experience?

We are more likely to take recommendations from friends and family members than brands when it comes to making buying decisions – and that is the logic behind running user generated content campaigns (UGC) on social media.

UGC content is any form of content or asset that is created by another customer for a product or service. Example formats could be reviews, pictures of people’s experiences and purchases and testimonials. UGC isn’t paid for content and shouldn’t be confused with influencer marketing, it is authentic earned media that makes the user the brand advertiser as well as the customer.

UGC content is particularly impactful on Instagram where brands can easily repost and regram content from other users’ account through posts or stories.

But why should brands be adopting this form of content creation?

Building brand trust

Do you think people will buy your product or service and become loyal customers if they don’t trust your brand? The answer is no. A study by Havas Group reported that users wouldn’t mind if 74% of the brands they use no longer existed and only cared for those they trusted. Proving building brand trust is vital.

Growing closer relationships with your customers by encouraging UGC over creating dozens of adverts is an excellent strategy.

Starbucks made customer pictures go viral. Their #WhiteCupContest become an international challenge with thousands of customers worldwide posting pictures of their latest designs on their latest order. The brand received almost 4,000 entries and the campaign generated an enormous amount of social media activity. The brand doesn’t stop there. Buzzfeed have reported a theory they think Starbucks staff are told to misspell customers names, so they are encouraged to post the ‘fails’ on social media. Clever ideas, we recommend checking out #starbucksnamefail on Instagram for the latest mistakes!


View this post on Instagram


This is greatness!! ☕️💜

A post shared by Lyndsey Ewing (@lyndseye78) on

Relatable content

UGC content such as customer reviews, testimonials and experiences elevate a business’s existing resources. Building a community of shoppers and clients who provide social proof for the brand’s products or services and for the company as a whole. Such communities break down barriers between individuals and other shoppers which in turn leads to conversions and increased trust in your brand.

This type of content can also be extremely valuable to use as part of a wider advertising strategy. Providing immediate visible proof by including authentic customer reviews and photos on product pages and in social ads, allows you to establish a relatable brand image, and brings more customers to your site and channels.

By creating an engaging campaign hashtag, #FuelledByCanagan for our client Canagan, our social team have grown a large organic following of existing customers across the Canagan Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, who frequently promote the brand on their own feeds.

This has provided invaluable user generated content, as well as allowing Canagan to build a solid community of fans who can rely on the social channels to provide information, deal with queries and share uplifting, captivating content.

Creating a community

Earning a loyal following is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Your biggest fans and most dedicated customers are one of the most valuable assets you can have. Posing questions and open challenges to your customers and brand fans gives them recognition for their loyalty and makes them feel engaged.

Customer content for UGC campaigns also provides inspiration for how your customers use your product or service. IKEA did a great job when they ran an Instagram campaign asking their customers to submit photos of their favourite IKEA purchases. The campaign gave IKEA information directly from customers about which products they like the most and how they use them, while also providing the company with user-generated content that could be repurposed across their channels and marketing materials.

Your customer and followers can use designated hashtags giving them a sense of membership. It also provides valuable information that can be used to inform your advertisement and product line. If you know a particular style, colour or location is proving popular for a product or service you offer you can use that to improve your output.

Our social team are working with Nomo, a vegan chocolate brand to help build their community using UGC content. The strategy includes getting people creating recipes and sharing them on Instagram as well as sharing images of their products. UGC content also help the team creating blog and website content easily. Over the year, our team has seen more than 700 UGC-type posts shared on Instagram and helped them build the Nomo community.


Now not everything should come down to the cost of something, as many businesses would argue spending money on their most loyal customers is well worth the investment. However, as we have previously mentioned, UGC content is extremely cost effective for any business. Your customers become your brand ambassadors. In addition, the organic earned content your customer generates enables you to increase your engagement, expand your community and not cost you the earth.

User Generated Content is a fast track to building a community around your brand.

It puts your customers front and center, which makes them feel valued, makes your brand attractive and approachable, and create a strong two-way relationship with your customers. Speak to our team today to find out how we can action a UGC strategy for you.