Want to use content created by users (UGC) in your curation strategy? Then, it’s important to understand your strategy and how UGC fits into it.

In this guide, we’ll help you define UGC content and explain how you can collect it from customers to market your business. We’ll also discuss the value of UGC in content curation.

Finally, you’ll learn different ways to use these testimonials to reach your target audience, expand your brand’s reach, and create loyal customers.

Understanding User-Generated Content

Chances are, you already have a lot of UCG content available to you; it’s just a matter of finding it.

Have reviews on your website, Google, Yelp, or social media platforms? You already have UGC! It’s content created by others—not the brand.

Customers frequently share their experiences with brands online, so getting UGC content has never been easier. However, businesses need to know what to do with it. Also, you need to know how to get permission from the customer, and how to incorporate it into a curation strategy. 

You might wonder, “Is a curation strategy the same as a content strategy?”

No. Content curation can help establish your brand’s credibility, improve SEO rankings, nurture new leads, and convert customers. It will also help you fill in holes in your content calendar. Content curation involves scouring the internet for content that already exists. Then, presenting it strategically.

Content creation means creating new content to publish on your blog, in newsletters, and in social media feeds. You aren’t “reinventing the wheel” as one might with content creation.

Instead, you’re taking what’s already out there, adding some branded logos and copy around it to freshen it up, and presenting it to your audience as social proof examples to elevate trust.

The Value of User-Generated Content in Curation Strategy

According to 2019 data from a Stackla survey, 79% of people say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions. Customers want brand authenticity and UGC is one of the best ways to convey that message.

Simply put, it’s a very effective way to build consumer confidence.

Curating content is sharing content that already exists in a new way with your audience. Do this by reposting and sharing UGC from satisfied customers on social and including it in marketing emails and your website.

“Reposting content that consumers are making is a way to humanize your brand and instill trust in your consumers,” says Dylan Duke. 


Now that you understand the value of UGC in your business, here are some ways to get your customers to create it for you.

Encouraging and Collecting User-Generated Content

There are several ways brands and small businesses collect user-generated content.

Create Engagement Opportunities

Brands can ask clients to leave feedback and testimonials through emailed feedback forms or on social media platforms. Encourage customers to rate the products on their website with a comment or two about how they are using them.

Hosting Contests or Giveaways

Create a social media contest.

Ask customers to post using your social media handle in a photo or video while engaging with your product. Give away products or prizes to incentivize participation across platforms.

This increases brand awareness and reach. Plus, you can use the winner(s) in future campaigns where you showcase happy, satisfied customers.

Doing giveaways can also be a great way to get more emails for your newsletter campaigns. (Ensure you follow state and federal guidelines for giveaways and sweepstakes.)

Leveraging Social Media and Hashtags

Create unique hashtags for your brand or a specific campaign and encourage users to add them to social media posts.

The hashtag could be a brand name like #Lululemon or #Peloton. Also, a campaign slogan (#JustDoIt or #MyCalvins). Or something that pulls in the community and uses the product, like #BufferCommunity.

Use your team to come up with fresh, fun hashtags that are unused. Better yet, have employees start using hashtags before you officially launch your contest or campaign. That way, there is live content out there when users search for it.

Best Practices for Incorporating UGC into Your Curation Strategy

The best practice to ensure you get great UGC content usable in future campaigns is to be upfront with customers and followers. Reach out and let them know that their participation will be used for future marketing purposes.

Ensuring Relevance and Quality

Choose UGC that best aligns with your target audience and messaging. Make sure the imagery or video content is high quality and will engage customers and show your brand in the best light possible.

Crediting the Original Creator

Whether you use an Instagram photo that showcases your brand being used by a customer or, share a TikTok video in an email campaign, make sure you credit the customer with their handle on the post and in the image tag when applicable. 

Australian company Bed Threads features customers’ bedrooms on their Instagram page and tags them in the post. You could Direct Message the user and ask for their permission to use the photo in an upcoming post or campaign.

This can help you avoid legal issues down the line.

Aligning UGC with Your Brand Voice and Values

When repurposing a customer’s review or testimonial, make sure the points the customer makes are those you want to get across to entice new leads.  UCG content is all about establishing trust messaging. But at the end of the day, it should complement your brand’s messaging.

Case Studies of Brands Effectively Leveraging UGC

There are a variety of ways brands are using UGC to attract attention. Have fun coming up with fresh ideas to engage your audience.

Some brands create content landing pages that give customers a “chance to be featured” when they use the brand’s trending hashtag.

Check out the “MYCALVINS” page on Calvin Klein’s website for a good example of what this can look like.

GNC highlights website reviews of their products on the product detail pages for the vitamins featured in their GNC Routines program. It’s an example of using UGC to call out elements of the product they’d like the reader to know about.

Lululemon asks followers to use the hashtag #thesweatlife on Instagram for a chance to be featured on their social media feeds. If selected, the brand will tag the user in a photo on their feed that features over 4.5 million followers. 

Why UGC is Important for a Content Curation Strategy

Leveraging UGC content is a great way to build loyalty, credibility, and authenticity with your brand.

Your customers want to know that a product or service they will open their wallets for is positively reviewed. Show them examples on your website and social channels.

Using content curation with UGC gives your audience fresh content that can build buzz for your brand. This will hopefully turn into new leads and regular business.