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How to manage user-generated content

In this article, David Rawlings explains how user-generated content can save you time and strengthen your brand.
Decorative image of a man using a laptop to generate content.

When harnessed effectively, user-generated content can provide a powerful boost to your brand’s credibility, engagement, and growth. However, managing UGC in your digital program isn’t always straightforward. There are some strategies that can help you effectively manage user-generated content and leverage its potential.

What can user-generated content offer your business?

There are three key reasons to incorporate user-generated content into your digital program. These include:

  • authenticity and trust: user-generated content is perceived as more authentic and trustworthy than branded content. When potential customers see real people sharing their experiences, it creates a sense of trust in your brand.
  • engagement and community: the extension of that is a fostering of engagement and a building of community around your brand. It encourages your customers to become advocates and participate actively in discussions.
  • cost-effective marketing: leveraging content from your community significantly reduces your marketing costs. Instead of investing heavily in advertising, you’re tapping into the power of your existing customers to promote your business.

So what do you need to consider?

Sourcing user-generated content is not as simple as just asking your community to provide content for you to promote.

Managing user-generated content starts with setting clear guidelines for both your customers and your team. These guidelines should cover the types of content you’re interested in, whether it’s reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, or blog posts. Then you need to define the quality standards you expect. This helps to ensure that the content you receive will align with your brand image and that it maintains a certain level of professionalism. And lastly, it encourages ethical behaviour among contributors. This includes discouraging offensive language, respecting copyright, and ensuring privacy is maintained.

Choosing the right platforms to focus on

Selecting the appropriate platforms for collecting and showcasing the content your customers generate is essential. Some popular options are:

  • social media – user sharing: encourage your customers to share their experiences on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using a unique hashtag. This creates a sense of community and makes it easier for you to track UGC.
  • social media – user promotion: the other side of this coin is to share user content on your platforms. This personalises your brand and tells the story behind why people are your customers.
  • reviews and testimonials: platforms like Yelp, Google My Business, or your website can be used to collect and display reviews and testimonials. Respond promptly to reviews, whether positive or negative, to show your engagement.

Implement a system to manage your user-generated content

Managing user-generated content can quickly become overwhelming if you don’t have a system in place. The following instructions will help you to streamline your management process.

Content moderation

Regularly monitor and moderate user-generated content to ensure it complies with your guidelines. Depending on your resources, this can be done manually or with the help of content moderation tools.

Permission and rights

Always seek permission from content creators before using their content for promotional purposes. This not only avoids legal issues but also shows respect for your customers.

Showcase user content everywhere

Feature user content prominently on your website and marketing materials. Highlight the most compelling and relevant content to maximise its impact.

Engage and interact

Don’t just passively collect content from your community, instead actively engage with your customers. Respond to comments, thank contributors, and foster a sense of community.

Encourage user participation

To keep the content flowing, actively encourage your customers to contribute. Offer incentives, run contests, or simply ask for their input and feedback. Make it easy for them to share their experiences and stories related to your products or services.

User-generated content is a goldmine for business in the digital era. It builds trust, engages your audience, and reduces marketing costs.

By embracing user-generated content and following these strategies, you can harness its power and drive your digital programs to greater success. Make the most of it: your customers are waiting to become your brand advocates.

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