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Harnessing User-Generated Content on Social Media: Building Authenticity and Trust

User-generated content (UGC) is integral to any successful social media strategy.

Why, you ask? Well, UGC is essentially free (which we love) but more importantly, it’s authentic.

Okay, So, What Is User Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) is material created and shared by your audience.

UGC is content generated by real users who have experienced an event or product first hand, rather than seeing it through a brand’s lens. 

This authenticity allows the audience to better connect with what they’re seeing and builds trust in the process.

Building Trust With UGC

A brand’s message can often be lost in the noise of traditional advertising. UGC is different because it comes from a trusted source – real people who have had positive experiences with your product or service.

This type of content holds more weight and establishes an emotional connection with users that goes deeper than messages crafted by a brand’s marketing team.

When applied correctly, UGC can be incredibly powerful in building trust and loyalty with your audience.

A Real-Life Example Of How We Use UGC

Focusing on social media, and Instagram as a priority, we focus heavily on UGC content for our client, RIDGID Toolshop.

RIDGID Toolshop are UK distributors of RIDGID tools, and as part of our work with them, we manage their social media content, with a high focus on UGC content.

We do this by regularly posting UGC-focused content, such as shoutouts to customers who have shared images of their projects. When sharing out the content, we focus on different hashtags. Specifically, we prioritise #RIDGIDUK, #RIDGIDToolshop, #RIDGIDTools, #Toolshop and #RIDGIDForTheWin.

But, when focusing on more set campaigns, we use hashtags like #RIDGIDWrenchWednesday when we showcase one of their signature products, the RIDGID Wrench.

(Clues in the name)

Instagram UGC Client Example

By using UGC content, we are able to show potential customers what projects they have accomplished with RIDGID tools and how they can do it too.

(Plus, it can really help social media managers out when it comes to content planning, which is always a winner)

So, Now You’ve Seen An Example, Here are Tips For Harnessing UGC On Social Media

1. Have Clear Guidance On How To Use Your Hashtags

It’s important to have clear guidance on how your customers should use your hashtags. This will help users feel more comfortable when creating and sharing their content, as well as helping them ensure that their content is seen.

To gain more visibility, consider adding your preferred hashtag/s to your bio and encouraging others to use it as well. 

Instagram Bio Example

You can also promote the use of the hashtag by letting people know that their content may be featured if they use it, for example, you can say:

“Don’t forget to tag us and include the hashtag #example for a chance to be featured on our page!”

2. Keep Sharing UGC Regularly

By frequently sharing your audience’s posts, you can strengthen the connection between them and your brand.

At the end of the day, they’ve taken their time to create the content for you, saving you time, so the least you can do is share out the gold.

3. Respond To Comments And Reviews

It’s important to show appreciation for reviews and comments posted by your customers on social media.

A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way in building trust with the customer — and even better, if you can respond to their review or comment quickly, it can help to increase customer loyalty.

4. Ask Your Audience For Content

Yes, really.

Asking for user-generated content is a great way to ensure that your content is truly authentic, and well, what’s the harm?

Not only will you be getting real user stories, but it also encourages your followers to engage with your brand and could even result in new customers, just by asking one simple question.


Your customers have gone out of their way to create content for you, and it’s important that you show them your appreciation.

By crediting the user who created the content with a tag or an attribution link back to their profile, not only will you be helping to promote them (and is just a nice thing to do) but you’ll also be helping to build trust between them and your brand.

It’s a win-win all round!

So, there you have it — tips on how to use UGC on social media for maximum impact.

I hope this article has been helpful in giving you the tools you need to start harnessing UGC content on your own social media channels. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

If you would like to chat to us about how you can harness UGC to your campaigns, or how you can get started. Make sure to get in touch with us today — we’d love to help!

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