The Ultimate Guide to the Dos and Don'ts of User-Generated Content

Want to encourage your audience to create more user-generated content for your brand? Follow these dos and don'ts to ensure a successful implementation.
Alexandra Ceambur
June 21, 2023

User-generated content (UGC) is the ultimate asset for your brand, providing authentic and engaging content that resonates with your audience. However, there are certain dos and don'ts to keep in mind when it comes to collecting and posting UGC. In this guide, we'll show you how to avoid common pitfalls and build an effective UGC strategy.

What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?

UGC, or user-generated content, is any content created by individuals rather than by a brand or marketer. This can include posts on social media, blog articles, reviews, tutorials, and more. Brands can benefit greatly from UGC as it allows them to involve their customers in creating marketing materials. When done well, UGC can help you build trust, loyalty, and a long-term relationship with your customers. However, if not executed properly, you’ll come across as arrogant and damage your brand's reputation.

The Do's of User-Generated Content

User-generated content helps you engage with your audience and build trust. To make the most of UGC in your marketing materials, it's important to follow some best practices. Here are some do's of UGC:

#1: Do create video templates for UGC

Start by creating video templates and scripts so your community can easily submit content for your brand. The easiest way is to use a tool like StoryPrompt with professionally designed video templates and scripts that your audience can use to create UGC for your brand directly from their mobile device.  

#2: Do encourage your followers to create UGC 

If you want to collect UGC then you should encourage your followers to create content and mention your brand. You can start by incentivizing your audience by sending them a discount code, a free trial, or sample products for their review. If you already have an email list, you can start from there.  

#3: Do thank users for creating UGC for your brand

Thanking users for creating content and mentioning your brand on their social media will help you build stronger relationships with users. Creators appreciate it when brands notice their efforts and a simple "thank you" note can lead to more UGC content in the future. 

#4: Do ask for permission to repost UGC

It's important to always ask for permission before posting any UGC on your social media or website. This not only protects you legally, but it also shows that you respect the creator and their effort. You can ask for permission to repost UGC by contacting the user via direct messaging. Make sure you let them know how you plan to use the content and that you plan to tag them as well. 

#5: Do give credit to the original creators

It's important to remember that UGC is created by real people who deserve credit for their work. When sharing UGC, always make sure to give credit to the original creator by including their name or handle in the caption or post. You can also consider tagging them in the content to show your appreciation and encourage more UGC in the future.

#6: Do moderate UGC to ensure compliance

Moderating UGC is important to ensure that it aligns with your brand values and protects your customers. There are two ways to moderate UGC: automated and manual. Both methods are effective in ensuring that your UGC represents your brand in the best possible way.

  • Automated moderation involves using a social media listening tool to track brand mentions and flag inappropriate content.
  • Manual moderation involves reviewing and approving all posts before they're published online. 

The Don'ts of User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) can be a valuable asset for businesses, but it's important to follow some guidelines. By respecting these "don'ts" of UGC, you can safely and effectively use this type of content in your marketing materials.

#1: Don't use UGC without approval

Always get approval from the creators before using their content. There's nothing worse than making your customers feel disrespected and having their work used without consent by brands who just want to churn more profit. You don't want to be one of those arrogant brands. So be kind, show respect, and thank creators for their hard work before asking for permission to repost their content. 

#2: Don't ignore negative feedback

Another no-no is ignoring negative feedback. Every brand will get negative reviews at some point. So don't ignore them. Negative reviews provide you with valuable insights for improvement. When replying to negative comments remember to be kind and respectful and don't start arguments with your community. 

#3: Don't alter UGC without permission

One of the biggest "don'ts" is altering UGC, or changing it without permission. This can include anything from editing a photo to changing the wording of a review without permission. Always make sure to get explicit permission from the creator before making any changes to their content.

Examples of successful UGC campaigns from brands

Nespresso - building relationships with influencers

Nespresso is a popular brand that uses UGC to build relationships with creators. They often host exclusive events and invite members of their community. In the example below, Nespresso combined user-generated photos from a recent event to create an Instagram collage, tagging creators in the image to give them proper credit.

DysonHair - branded hashtags encourage UGC

DysonHair created branded hashtags to help users search and create UGC directly on Instagram. When you click on #MyDyson you'll see a variety of content from the community that includes reviews and tutorials using Dyson products.

Canva - doesn’t ignore negative feedback from users

Canva is an excellent example of a brand that handles negative feedback and complaints from users very well. They've set up a Twitter profile that looks for negative reviews and tries to resolve issues quickly before they amplify. 

Final thoughts on using UGC in your marketing

Creating quality content is essential for any business looking to establish a strong online presence. However, producing content that builds trust with your followers can be a challenge. That's where user-generated content comes in. By encouraging your audience to share their own experiences with your brand and products, you're not only building stronger social proof, but you'll create long-term relationships with your followers and customers.

Start by collecting video testimonials and UGC from your clients using StoryPrompt

Alexandra Ceambur

Alle Ceambur is an experienced SEO content writer with a background in marketing and an MBA in global business from Coventry University (UK). Her articles on SaaS, technology and marketing aim to inspire small business owners and help them achieve tangible results quickly. Alle's work was featured in the Top 100 social media blogs, and you can get connected with her on Twitter at @SocialAlle.

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