13 Strategies to Step Up Your User-Generated Content Game

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some creative ideas for tech companies that want to leverage more user-generated content.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
October 29, 2020
Updated: October 30, 2020
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
October 29, 2020
Updated: October 30, 2020
Headshots of contributing YEC Members
Top row, from left: Britt Fero, Kalin Kassabov, Bill Mullholland. Second row, from left: Stephanie Wells, Vikas Agrawal, Alastair Sanderson, Thomas Griffin. Third row, from left: Blair Williams, Syed Balkhi. Solomon Thimothy. Bottom row, from left: Andy Karuza, Kyle Wong, Tyler Bray.

Many businesses have realized that user-generated content (UGC) is a simple, low-cost way to increase online engagement and brand awareness.

Strategies for leveraging UGC may seem fairly obvious for businesses with a physical product — it’s easy to share photos of customers wearing an item of clothing or using a product in their home. Tech companies may need to get a little more creative in how they incorporate content from their users, however.

To help, we asked 14 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council for their insights. They shared some effective ways tech companies can leverage user-generated content.

1. Celebrate Real-World Uses of Your Technology

Celebrate how people use your technology. UGC can show its real-world applications beyond the ways you would tell people how to use it. Shine a spotlight on what your tech actually does for people and how it improves their lives, work, and more. And if theyve created content for you, show them you appreciate it. Publicly tag them or ensure theyve been heard. —Britt Fero, PB&

2. Encourage Customers to Tell Stories

UGC is valuable because customers often trust other customers more than advertising. Tech companies can feature ways that real customers use their products. Adobe does this well, as it highlights UGC on its social media pages. Adobe products are largely visual, so this strategy works well for them. Any company can encourage customers to tell their stories and talk about how they use products, though. —Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

3. Crowdsource Your UGC

Crowdsourcing (meaning here collectively leveraging the input of the masses) is a huge advantage for any company, and technology has made crowdsourcing easier than ever before. Best of all, once your crowdsourcing platform is built, all of the data you gain is free. Crowdsourcing doesnt just tell you what people want, it tells you how people think and what they believe. And that data is priceless! —Bill Mulholland, ARC Relocation

4. Host a Social Media Contest

Tech companies can leverage user-generated content by hosting a social media contest related to technology. The specifics depend on the company and what theyre offering. For example, you could create a social media campaign aimed at collecting new ideas from aspiring techies. People can submit their unique ideas and content to give you inspiration while they win something in return. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. Use It as Social Proof Across Channels

User-generated content is not only a vital part of a companys content strategy, but also of branding and sales. Because of its unbiased nature, it can be used as social proof to drive more traffic, promote the brand and get more leads. The majority of people look for customer reviews and ratings on e-commerce sites before they make any purchase, so when UGC is used effectively, it can boost leads and sales. —Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

6. Focus on Your Superusers

To get the most out of your users, you have to focus on the few superusers who like to generate content such as FAQs or how-tos. If you can work out a way to give them recognition for their skills on your platform, that visibility will often be rewarding for them. —Alastair Sanderson, LFA Machines DFW LLC

7. Display Reviews on Your Website

The best way to leverage user-generated content is to display customer reviews on your website. People trust customer reviews because theyre not paid for and offer an authentic insight into what people think about your business. It also gives a clear picture of whether your product or service is worth investing in. This approach can help you gain trust and encourage people to take quick action. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

8. Interact With UGC in a Fun, Engaging Way

I think that the way in which a company interacts with audience-created content shapes its brand image. Tech companies are frequently thought of as boring or complicated. Such companies could have humorous interactions with UGC on social media and create a fun and engaging personality that helps them get traction on places like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. —Blair Williams, MemberPress

9. Showcase the Effectiveness of Your Product

Your customers’ UGC can help you accomplish several goals at once. But one major way it can serve you is to create a proof of the effectiveness of your product. Look at your customer success stories and feature them as examples on your site. You could also build case studies out of them and turn them into lead magnets and drive up subscriptions. Tech companies can use UGC to help with marketing. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. Add It to Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

What is user-generated content? It’s content created by real users offering you social proof-of-concept for your product or service. Obviously, the best way to leverage it is by making it a part of your inbound marketing strategy. Add it to the loop! Make sure that other people see it as they move through their buyers journey and get to know you better. This strategy is effective universally, not just for tech. —Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

11. Tap Into the Influencer Community

Work with influencers or creators who already know what theyre doing and have an eye for that type of content. If youre a smartphone company, find people who have done smartphone reviews on YouTube. If youre a fitness brand, look for fitness influencers on Instagram; many of them are almost always willing to try out new products. —Andy Karuza, LitPic

12. Fill in Product Knowledge Gaps

Tech companies can leverage user-generated content to fill gaps in their product understanding. For example, user-generated tutorials on YouTube or user forums can be used in customer marketing communications or through marketing outreach. —Kyle Wong, Pixlee

13. Use UGC as an Opportunity to Answer Questions

UGC doesnt have to just be on social media. Tech companies should primarily use UGC as a place to answer questions. This industry deals in things that are new or perhaps outside the experience of the average person. Tuning into that will build goodwill among a tech companys audience. —Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

Related ReadingThe 14 Most Exciting Digital Marketing Developments of 2020 (So Far)

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