Not taking advantage of user-generated content? It might be time to rethink your marketing strategy.

User generated content header


Does the term user-generated content (UGC) sound familiar? Lately, it’s been a bit of a buzzword in the marketing world, and it all boils down to working smarter, not harder.


What is UGC?

UGC is basically free promotion by your visitors, customers, or fans. When people post on social media or blogs tagging your company or using a branded hashtag, you’ve got UGC. Reviews, videos, selfies—UGC can take many forms.

Your fans want you to take notice, and what’s better is that they want others to take notice. As a brand, you can leverage this free, organic marketing by resharing UGC on your own channels.


Why should I use it as part of my marketing strategy?

UGC is an awesome element to add to your existing social media strategy. It’s cost-effective, saves time, and builds brand loyalty and awareness.

There are some things money just can’t buy. Unlike paid promotions, UGC will substantially boost your brand through the positive words and experiences of others.

Think about it this way. If you see someone post that they’re having a great time at a museum or come across a Reel of someone devouring a mouth-watering dish, and you immediately want to go there or eat that too, UGC has worked!

If you haven’t incorporated UGC into your marketing strategy, you should, and ASAP.

Not only will you get some great free advertising, but you’ll be actively inviting your audience to participate in your brand’s story, and that’s powerful stuff.


A few of our favorite examples:

It’s no wonder why UGC has become the crème de la crème of content marketing. Big brands, from Target to Coca-Cola, have been using UGC to create viral campaigns, and it’s paid off big time.



Coca-Cola #ShareaCoke Campaign


Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke

This effective UGC campaign leaned on personalization to reinvigorate interest in Coca-Cola’s sodas. People loved that they could find their name or that of a friend on a bottle. The campaign was wildly successful.



TargetStyle Campaign


Target’s #TargetStyle

Look just below products on Target’s website and you’ll find a section called #TargetStyle, where you can see clothes, home goods, and more, styled by customers. No false advertising, just real people sharing their experiences.



Red Cup Art


Starbucks’ #RedCupArt

Create your own Starbucks cup?! As part of a huge UGC campaign launched by the brand, customers could create their own cup art for one day only, sharing their designs via #RedCupArt, for a chance to be featured on the brand’s social media accounts. 



Lay's Do Us a Flavor Campaign


Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor 

Ever wanted to develop a chip flavor? With Lay’s

#DoUsAFlavor UGC campaign, fans had the chance to do exactly that. It sparked renewed excitement in the brand and fans got super creative. Think crispy taco, everything bagel, avocado toast, and more!



#shotoniphone campaign


Apple’s #ShotOniPhone

Apple wanted everyone to know that anyone can be a photographer with the iPhone. That’s why they launched a massive UGC campaign encouraging customers to share photos via #ShotOniPhone for a chance to be featured on a billboard.



Barbie Selfie Generator


Barbie’s Selfie Generator

This simple selfie generator has been used over 13 million times. It transformed fans into “instant icons” who shared their branded selfies near and far, generating a frenzy of excitement for the film, even after it had been released.


Where do I begin?

It might seem intimidating to embark on a UGC campaign, but it’s a lot easier than you might think. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting out:


  • Make sure your UGC hashtag is catchy but simple and easy to remember (and that’s it not being used by too many other groups).
  • Ensure your campaign ties back to your business or brand.
  • Work with influencers to boost your campaign.
  • Review other successful UGC campaigns (what’s working, what’s not?)
  • Always credit the content creators (give credit where credit is due).
  • Feature your UGC hashtag on your main accounts and on your website (make it easy to find).
  • Offer an incentive to participate (contest, features, etc.)
  • Monitor your campaign for feedback/results.


UGC is a great way to generate interest in your brand and involve your loyal customers, visitors, and fans. The best part? It’s completely FREE! Why wouldn’t you give it a go?

If you haven’t jumped on the UGC train, it might be time to incorporate this strategy into your social media marketing efforts.

Need help crafting your very own UGC campaign? Our social media managers can assist your team in building an engaging UGC campaign centered around your brand.


Ready to get started? Shoot us an email or book a FREE call today!

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Padron & Co. is a leading creative, marketing, and digital communications agency that helps nonprofits and corporations make meaningful connections and further their missions.

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