How to grow your business with UGC

user generated content

Content is king! At least it is when its user generated. The stats don’t lie – UGC is leading the way with the buyers of today and tomorrow.

The content type holds the key for striking a connection with audiences and creating a more well rounded experience.

92 percent of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth advertising. A further 82 percent of millennials believe UGC displayed on a company website has a positive influence over their purchase mentality. 86 percent feel it’s a positive indicator of a brand and its quality.

UGC is a legitimate way to build customer relationships and promote a product or service. More and more start ups are turning to UGC to build their company from the ground up.

The struggle is real

Giving people a genuine reason to care or even bother to invest time in your brand isn’t easy. Growing a business takes dedication and sacrifice! One of the ways to counteract the obstacles that come with building a brand from scratch is by involving the target audience from the start.

Direct input from consumers in relation to your brand feeds back into the business and creates a sense of identity. This is then shared between the business and customer, making the latter feel like they have contributed to the success.

Take online reviews, for example: when a site has several testimonials with positive feedback, new customers are more likely to get on board. Word of mouth has always been the most progressive way to enhance a brand. And using UGC is one of the best tactics to get people on side.

Say cheese

But how do you strike a chord and make users feel the need to interact with your business to begin with? The answer lies in visual communication, which is one of the strongest ways for companies to connect with customers – especially a start up.

One way to do this is by reaching out to audiences over social media, asking them to take pictures with your product or using your service. In the beginning you might have to provide free samples to get people on side. But once they are, asking them to contribute to the brand experience pay will pay dividends.

Explore different aspects to harness the power of creativity everyday people possess. Sometimes it’s possible to capture the imagination with a strong photo – as long as it looks authentic. And you don’t even need to ask the photographer directly.

There are UGC marketplaces that provide diverse and authentic images and videos from everyday people without the purchaser needing to worry about copyright issues. Brands legally license the content, with the majority of the fee going to the content creator.


Trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. But it’s easier to create trust if you involve your audience from the start. New businesses have the ability to define how they want to be seen, create a tone of voice and build a legacy

Construct a message architecture that motivates consumers to become part of the brand experience. Once you have their participation, work on a strategy to maximise its reach by sharing and broadcasting wherever possible.

Keep the communication constant with your audience. Don’t just launch a campaign that involves them; make their content a revolving part of your method to boost marketing and gain a broader reach.

Create a community

The best brands are all encompassing and reach out to their audience in ways others don’t. One way to do this is with regular Q&A sessions with your audience, allowing them dictate the conversation.

You will learn more about what they want from your brand while making then feel like they are part of the process. Also look for ambassadors who will take on the role of a mascot and champion the brand for you.

Ambassadors have the ability to increase your reach by becoming influencers and spreading the word. They embody the brand while humanising it at the same time. A brand ambassador offers a chance for your company to become more than a logo or symbol.

Make UGC the marketing strategy

Many established companies use UGC in some of their marketing, but they don’t incorporate it on a regular basis. As a start up, you have the opportunity to build a strategy that uses UGC as the base for connecting with customers.

Peer-driven marketing campaigns can bring more success than traditional ones. UGC ads online see 4x higher click-through rates than more traditional marketing methods. Think about replacing snappy copy with genuine testimonials.

Replace a lead stock image with a user-generated photo. Customers don’t want to know about how great a brand is; they want to see it first-hand from others who are pleased with the service. Including their opinions in your marketing collateral modernise your content and helps to emphasise the core message.

Don’t tell your story. Tell theirs

Marketing a product or service is all about telling stories. For a start up, there is nothing more important than channeling your passion into people that want to use your brand. It’s the stories that make us connect the dots and feel emotion to a product or service.

Instead of focusing on your own brand journey, think of ways to tell the story of your users. Case studies are a good place to start. Interview people who have interacted with your product and communicate their story.

Enhance your brand loyalty by promoting worthy causes across social media and encourage others to do the same. Offer constant lines of communication, whether through comments and forums on your website or having a strong presence on social media.

UGC today

The rules are changing. What once worked for brands doesn’t carry as much weight in today’s world of marketing. Consumers hold all the power and can make or break a brand. They are the ones who invest, so it’s only fair that are made to feel like they’re part of experience.

Your company will be built on the relationship you create with your audience, so it makes sense to involve them at every level. A consistent UGC strategy will build sales and generate buzz around your brand story.

And that is all any company – whether new or old – really wants. Running a business is a continuous journey. What better way to experience it than by taking your audience along for the ride with you.

Olga Egorsheva, CEO and Co-founder of Lobster