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Building Engagement Through User-Generated Content

Sarah Corley
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing, #Social Media
Published on January 2, 2019

We look at how to engage people on social media by encouraging them to share content, including some great examples of user-generated content.

How to Build Better Social Engagement Through User-Generated Content

So, you have a social media presence. You’re constantly pumping out fantastic content about your company. There’s just one problem. You hear that? *cricket chirp* Exactly. What are you doing wrong? How do you build better engagement on social media without constantly pushing out your own content? Read on to learn more and see real-life examples from some top companies.

Interacting with your audience is a crucial part of your social media strategy. The idea is to be conversational with your community. You can’t be conversational and approachable if you talk about your company the entire time. Spend a few minutes a day asking your users questions, replying to their comments, and really engaging with your community. Sharing their content can make a fresh and compelling difference in shaping effective messaging.

Recent studies show that people trust content created by their peers 50% more than other media. So when followers create content that contains information about a business or a brand, there’s a significant opportunity to gain customers. Capitalize on it by featuring it!

User-generated content is unsolicited and completely voluntary. Your friend that takes a picture of a restaurant meal and shares it on Instagram is one of many examples of this type of content.  There is no better way to build a solid social community than to feature users who love your company’s product. It establishes trust and loyalty by demonstrating that you value your customers and their content!

These three companies are doing a great job at spotlighting user-generated content:



ModCloth, a vintage-inspired clothing company, goes above and beyond by encouraging users to submit photos wearing the garments they have purchased. Seeing a dress on a person versus a model can really make the product come to life. Users can get fashion inspiration, as well as an idea of how clothes fit someone who has a similar body frame to their own.



As a manufacturer of action cameras often used in extreme-action videography, GoPro’s Instagram account only features photos submitted by its users. This allows for GoPro’s product to be featured front and center, while giving outdoor enthusiasts and photography fans inspiration for their next adventure.


Target asked for videos of high school seniors opening and reading college acceptance letters and then compiled them into this touching commercial. The idea behind this was to promote Target’s continued commitment to funding education.  Since I worked in higher education before WSOL, I’ll admit that this commercial made me tear up!

Once you decide to feature user-generated content on your social media channels, you need to ask your customers to create it for you and then let people know where to find it! You can then work on incorporating user-generated content into your weekly content strategy.

Featuring user-generated content on your social channels is a great way to build social engagement without using your own content. Put the social back into social media! By spotlighting your fans’ work, you’re acknowledging their voice, establishing trust, and building a solid community for future brand advocates.