The ABCs of UGC

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SMM, SERPs, KISS...We love our acronyms and jargon in marketing! 

To make it easier for you, we wanted to share some common terminology when talking about content marketing, user generated content, and social media strategy. Let’s start with A shall we? 

A stands for Advertising 

Global social advertising spend is expected to hit US $153,698m in 2021. There’s no denying the importance of paid social to stand out amongst the crowd. Redistributing user generated content (UGC) in social advertising campaigns can increase your click-through rate, reduce ad spend as well as reduce time and cost associated with creative production. 

See how fashion retailer Kids Brand Store increased purchases by 12% thanks to redistributing UGC in their dynamic product advertising. 

Honorable mentions

AIDA – We recently published an entire blog post dedicated to the relevance of the AIDA funnel. Check it out!  

Authenticity – Sharing content from your users, who are recommending your product and showing what it really looks like (on real people, not just models, or in real homes, not just in showrooms) lends credibility and authenticity to your brand. 

B stands for Brand awareness

Brand awareness is the degree to which customers are able to recognize a brand in different settings and conditions. Engaging with your community and reposting UGC both onsite and on social media is a great way to stay visible and increase brand awareness. 

C stands for Competitions 

Competitions are an excellent way to activate your community and to encourage them to share high-quality content. A competition can include physical prizes or just the opportunity to be voted ‘pick of the week’, as long as it fits your brand. We love this example from Rocket Padel

Honorable mentions

Call-to-action (CTA) – Adding CTA buttons to your posts to encourage customers to follow your brand, find more information and buy your products or services, is a simple but effective strategy. 

Cost-efficiency – UGC is a very cost-efficient source of visual content. Properly implemented and distributed, brands can save money on expensive product shoots, by sourcing and distributing content from their customers. 

D stands for Distribution

Why only share your social content in one or two channels? It’s all about distributing this content widely for maximum exposure and effect – you can share user generated content on your website, product pages, in newsletters, in stores, really wherever your customers are interacting with your brand! If you use a visual marketing tool like Flowbox, you can set up all your distribution channels from the start, and then continuously send new content to the right channels automatically. 

Honorable mention

Digital Asset Management (DAM) – When setting up a UGC strategy, storage is an important part of the equation. It is a good idea to keep all of your assets in the same system, like the Flowbox Library, where multiple teams can access content and work from the same original files. 

E stands for Email marketing

We’re always looking for ways to optimize our newsletters, campaign emails and abandoned cart emails. All of these emails can be enhanced by bringing in your community and letting them show off your products. We’ve even seen clients set up successful email campaigns solely based on UGC, creating a whole new revenue stream. 

Honorable mentions

EGC – Employee generated content is having a moment! Check out this guide on how to get started. 

Emojis – How would we even communicate without them? Emojis are here to stay and we can’t wait for the next set to be released! 

Engagement – A super important KPI (more on KPIs under K ⤵️) to measure in social media marketing. To help increase engagement, it’s recommended to post regularly, reply to comments and DMs and interact with your followers. 

F stands for Flowbox

I mean, this is our list, so we have to include ourselves! When working with a UGC marketing strategy, you need to have a reliable, innovative platform to make it easy for your team to collect, moderate and store content, as well as distribute to all of your channels. To request a demo, click here

Honorable mention

Flowscore – Flowbox’s proprietary AI algorithm, which helps sort and score visual content based on performance, and then promotes said best-performing content.

G stands for Gate

When a UGC post has been collected in Flowbox and is distributed to a website, for example an inspiration or a community page – you can then click on the post to open up the Flowbox gate. It is here that customers will be able to see the original caption on social media, as well as any tagged products or CTA buttons. By creating an inspirational gallery onsite with UGC and making the posts shoppable, you’re encouraging product discoverability and increasing sales. 

Here’s a great example from NA-KD’s Instashop where they have tagged both the cardigan and bag pictured.   

H stands for Hashtags

Hashtags are a vital part of any social media marketing strategy, both by helping to label content and making it discoverable to users. If you’re using a UGC platform like Flowbox, then hashtags are a great way to collect content as well, and we always recommend setting up designated hashtags for your community, such as #myIKEA or #PimkieXme to get your fans involved. 

Honorable mention

Hashflags – What do you get when you combine the power of hashtags and the expressiveness of emojis? Hashflags! Check out our full guide to these beauties.

I stands for Influencers

What would social media be without influencers, both macro and micro? Influencer posts can be a great way to kickstart a UGC campaign online and to set the tone for the kind of content that you would like to see from your fans, as they are likely to follow and be inspired by promoted posts. 

Honorable mention

Instagram – We all know that if you didn’t ‘gram it, it didn’t happen. What began as a photo-sharing app has grown to be one of the most popular content-sharing platforms with 1.16 billion active users around the world. Instagram is no longer just about photos either – click here to learn why you should use video on Instagram.

J stands for Journey

We believe that a UGC strategy should be seen as a marathon, not a sprint. It will take a little time to activate your community in the beginning, but once you begin collecting and using UGC, it will have been worth the while. If you need experts helping you on the journey, it’s a good idea to partner with a UGC platform like Flowbox, that has a dedicated client success team for support. 

K stands for KPI

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a quantifiable measure of performance over time, based on a specific objective. KPIs are everything in marketing, and tracking metrics like reach, engagement, and assisted orders can be tricky if you don’t have an inclusive platform. We recommend setting up KPIs at the beginning of your UGC journey and evaluating these on a monthly basis. 

L stands for Location tags

Location tags on Instagram help sort content by geographical area and points of interest (i.e. a popular lookout spot or a local business). Many of our tourism brands love to highlight authentic UGC from across their whole region, as they want to share how visitors are experiencing it. Check out the official Instagram accounts for Dalarna, Sweden or Bern, Switzerland, for example. Likewise, it can be a good idea to add your own brand as a location tag in Instagram to help with discoverability. 

M stands for Moderation

Collecting UGC may be the first step, but moderation is a crucial second. If you’re gathering a lot of posts, you need to be able to moderate and organize them, and quickly approve the best ones as well as make sure that they are seamlessly distributed to all of your channels. 

N stands for Now

The trend for accessible UGC is as old as social media. We see UGC being shared in everything from printed brochures and packing, to dynamic product ads on social media. It’s also the go-to for leading brands in fashion, interiors, sports, food, tourism, travel, retail, education, and much more. This is why the time to get started with UGC is now! There really is no time to lose! To request a Flowbox UGC platform demo, click here

O stands for Onsite

Your digital content needs to be engaging, able to convert and encourage repeat visits. UGC distributed onsite adds value. An engaging grid or carousel filled with authentic shoppable UGC gives social proof and increases product discoverability. Additionally, if your UGC galleries are updated daily, or even hourly, you’re ensuring that your website pages never feel stale and instead are encouraging repeat visits. 

P stands for Publish

Once you’ve collected UGC, it can be redistributed in many channels, including social media. A social media publishing tool that’s connected to your UGC database is a great value-add. Then you can create and schedule social posts and show off your community, like how Stutterheim does! 

Honorable mentions

Photo tags – Instagram users have been moving toward hashtag-free captions (usually adding them as a first comment instead), and Instagram’s API now favors @mentions and photo tagging instead of hashtags, which means that if you are asking followers to share UGC, it’s a good idea to ask them to tag you as well as use a designated community hashtag.

Pinterest – This social media platform allows users to share images and discover new products on pinboards. It originated in the US, and it’s seen massive growth in Europe and South America in the last couple of years. Check out our beginner’s guide to Pinterest!

Q stands for Quizzes/Questionnaires

A simple but effective way to engage with your audience is to ask them questions. Lots of questions. How do they like the product? How do they like you? Social media is meant to be social, and reciprocation is the name of the game. If you regularly interact with your followers, your engagement numbers will go up. 

R stands for ROI

One of the most important KPIs is Return on Investment, or ROI. For any marketing strategy, you need to be able to prove its value, which is why it’s important to pick a UGC platform that can track and measure results. 

Read more about how Pets Place has seen a 5% increase in revenue on their homepage and a 7.4% revenue on the product pages after implementing UGC. 

Honorable mention

Rights Request – A Rights Request is a message sent via Flowbox to the original poster of the content asking for permission to use it. It’s a vital step of any UGC strategy and promotes transparency and authenticity from the brand. 

S stands for Social Proof

By posting photos and videos with your products, tagging you, or engaging with your brand in other ways on social media, your customers are essentially acting as advertisers on behalf of your brand. Their public posts from social proof and your other customers will respond positively to this. That’s why it’s vital to capture this social proof and share it widely so that new customers, who might not be as familiar with your brand, will see it. 

T stands for Trust

Trust goes hand-in-hand with social proof. A brand that visibly promotes the opinions and feelings of its customers, inspires trust. Reviews and recommendations from the public are much more believable and relatable than corporate copy and staged photos. This is why UGC is such a powerful resource. 

Honorable mentions

TikTok – The video-sharing social networking site has taken the world by storm with 1 billion active users sharing both short and long clips (up to 3 min long). Interested in getting started? Check out our guide to TikTok for business.

Tumblr – A social networking site based on microblogs, where users can upload and share content in the form of text, photos, and videos. As of April 2020, the site had 496 million accounts but has lost ground to more popular apps like Instagram and Facebook. You can connect this social network to UGC platforms like Flowbox, to collect content. 

Twitter – This is one of the original social media platforms, and there are still over 330 million monthly active users on Twitter sharing their opinions, thoughts, and content via tweets. 

U stands for UGC

User generated content (UGC) refers to any type of content (photo, video, text) created by a company’s own customers, featuring, and thus promoting, the brand. 

V stands for Video

This year, we’ve seen Instagram shift its focus to video since the rise of TikTok; and better video editing software built into smartphones. There is more video content posted online than ever before, and brands need a strategy for how to best utilize and display this. We like how Focus Bikes display a mixture of photo and video content on their dedicated athlete page for maximum effect. 

W stands for Word-of-Mouth (WoM) marketing

Word-of-Mouth marketing refers to encouraging your customers to share their experiences of your brand with others. Consumers trust recommendations from friends, family, and even influencers to whom they feel strongly connected. This is why word of mouth works so well. If you can share this social proof and engage with your community to get them talking about your brand, then your UGC strategy is bound to be a success. 

Honorable mention

Workload – as in sharing the. It’s always helpful when marketing/ecom teams can collaborate and share the workload and use one platform (like Flowbox!) to store all visual content, export ad feeds, schedule posts for social media, etc. Sharing is caring. 

X stands for X-factor

Because we all need an X-factor in marketing, right? Perhaps it’s embedding a stylish InstaShop on your site, like how Love Stories has done it? Or maybe it’s showcasing your office dogs in a Flow like Fjellsport? Yes, we’re biased, but we truly believe that showing off your community and sharing authentic and engaging content is an X-factor. 

Y stands for YouTube

Since launching in 2005, YouTube has become the go-to site for shareable long-form video content. Did you know you can connect Flowbox to YouTube and automatically collect videos based on keywords or by channel to distribute in Flows online? Check out this example from amusement park Liseberg in Sweden, where their mascots’ YouTube channel is shared onsite. 

Z stands for Gen Z

Gen Z (those born between ~1997 and 2010) are the first group in history to have never known a world without the internet. Fully tech-native, this generation has different expectations of brands and their interactions online, e.g. more authenticity and social awareness. 

Want to learn how to speak like Gen Z? Check out our popular guides (from 2021 and 2020)!  

And that’s it – our ABCs of UGC. Did you think we covered it all? What other terminology would you add? 

More information:
Cecilia Rehn, Digital Marketing Manager, Flowbox

Flowbox is an award-winning SaaS company offering a visual marketing platform to help brands leverage and distribute social content throughout the buyer journey to increase engagement, social proof and sales. Flowbox's heart lies in how technology can help brands generate and use owned, paid, earned and user generated content for a more effective, converting and transparent marketing and e-commerce. Through our platform, our customers are able to collect, moderate and publish content to their website, online shop and social channels.