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11 Ways To Maximize Social Media Engagement Through User-Generated Content


maximize social media engagement using ugc

Posting New Year wishes, showcasing behind-the-scenes of your operations, or even posting the best product pictures on social media isn’t enough to grab your audience’s attention. Today’s audience needs more! 


The answer lies in user generated content. It’s the content created by your existing customers that shows authenticity and grabs the attention of potential customers. So, why not leverage UGC to drive engagement on social media?

If you are not sure how to begin, then here we have 11 ways in which UGC can help maximize social media engagement. Keep reading!


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Why do brands need social media engagement?


As of January 2024, 5.35 billion people around the world were using the internet. This number represents 66.2% of the global population. Out of these internet users, 5.04 billion people, which is 62.3% of the world's population, were using social media (Source). The United Nations alone has 246 million active social media users (Source).


These numbers prove that social media has a huge audience base for any brand in any industry, including apparel, food, travel, and tech.


However, given that 90% of consumers find content created by existing brand customers more believable, you, as a business manager, need to leverage social media platforms strategically. Encouraging your customers to engage and create content around your brand is the first step. It is this user generated that will attract more and more audience.


Here are some other reasons that prove the importance of social media engagement for any brand:


  • Build a relationship with your target audience: Social media allows you to interact directly with your audience, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. This interaction can be through comments, direct messages, or even sharing user generated content. Building such a relationship often translates into brand loyalty and repeat customers.

  • Gather feedback and customer insight: Engaging with your customers over social media gives you a chance to collect feedback from them. You can learn what resonates with your audience, their preferences, and areas for improvement. You can use this collected feedback for product development, marketing strategies, and customer service practices.

  • Gain a competitive advantage: In a market that is already crowded, when you engage with your customers on social media, you stand out. It's not just about being present on these platforms but actively engaging with the audience, which can give you a competitive edge.

  • Save costs while marketing your brand: Compared to traditional advertising, social media is a cost-effective way to reach a large audience. You can engage with a broad audience without the high costs associated with traditional media.


How to source and use UGC for maximum social media engagement?


Different social media platforms have different features. However, there are certain approaches to capture UGC that work on all of them with slight modifications. Let us see what these approaches are and how you can use them to maximize social engagement.


1. Launch a hashtag contest


Hashtag contests are one of the easiest ways to source user generated content. All you need to do is create a hashtag and encourage your audience to post content on their personal social media accounts using that particular hashtag. You can ask your audience to share photos, videos, or thoughts related to a product or theme set by you, with the hashtag serving as a link connecting all the entries. 


Here are some ways to launch a hashtag contest:


  • Product launches: Introduce a new product and ask followers to post creative ways they would use it.

  • Seasonal campaigns: Align the contest with holidays or seasons, encouraging posts that tie the brand to specific times of the year.

  • Events and anniversaries: Celebrate company milestones or events by asking followers to share their experiences or memories related to the brand.

  • Cause-related campaigns: Promote a social or environmental cause, asking followers to share posts that demonstrate support or awareness.

  • Brand storytelling: Invite customers to share their stories or experiences related to the brand, building a narrative around customer experiences and testimonials.

2. Ask questions


All social media platforms have a popular feature called Ask Me Anything. It’s a sticker that you can add to your 24-hour story, encouraging your audience to submit any questions that they may have. Besides, you can ask your audience to submit their questions by sending you direct messages or writing them in the comments. Then, make sure you address all the relevant questions either by sharing the responses on your story or replying to comments and messages individually. This will stimulate conversation, leading to increased interaction on the platform. 


Here are some other ways to encourage a conversation:


  • Q&A sessions: Host regular Q&A sessions, such as Instagram Live or Twitter Q&A hours, where followers can ask questions in real time.

  • Polls and surveys: Use polls and surveys to ask structured questions. This not only engages the audience but also provides clear insights into their preferences.

  • Community forum: Create a space, such as a Facebook group, where customers can ask questions and engage with each other, fostering a community around the brand.


3. Encourage customers to share reviews


Never neglect the importance of asking your audience to share their feedback. Reviews offer authentic, user-generated content that can influence the buying decisions of others. They provide social proof, demonstrating that real people have purchased, used, and valued the product or service. Positive reviews can significantly enhance a brand's reputation, while constructive criticism offers valuable feedback for improvement. Furthermore, reviews can improve search engine rankings, as they provide fresh, relevant content that search engines favor.


Here are some ways to capture customer feedback:


  • Direct requests in posts: Create posts asking customers to share their experiences with the brand or product in the comments.

  • Hashtag campaigns: Develop a specific hashtag for reviews and encourage customers to use it when posting about their experience.

  • Engagement in comments: Actively engage with customers who comment on posts and encourage them to share more detailed reviews.

4. Run challenges


Challenges are an effective way to create buzz. These challenges often go viral, attracting a wider audience and encouraging user-generated content that enhances the brand's reach and appeal. Participating in these challenges creates a fun and interactive experience for the audience, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. 


Here are some ways you can run challenges:


  • Photo and video challenge: Ask followers to post photos or videos completing a specific task or showcasing creative uses of a product.

  • Daily or weekly challenges: Create a series of challenges over a set period, keeping followers engaged regularly.

  • Live streaming challenges: Use live streaming platforms for real-time challenges, encouraging immediate engagement.

5. Partner with influencers


Influencers have the power to reach and engage specific target audiences. Influencers are often viewed as trusted sources, and their endorsements can significantly impact consumer behavior. Partnering with them can enhance your brand’s visibility, credibility, and lead to increased sales. Influencers can create authentic content that resonates with their followers, effectively bridging the gap between your brand and potential customers.


Here are some ways to partner with influencers on social media:


  • Affiliate marketing: Provide influencers with unique codes or links that offer their followers discounts, while tracking sales generated by the influencer.

  • Co-created content: Work with influencers to create content, such as blog posts, videos, or social media posts, that can be shared on both the influencer’s and brand’s platforms.

  • Takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your social media account for a day to engage directly with the brand's audience.

6. Support a cause


Supporting a cause allows you to demonstrate corporate social responsibility, which can significantly enhance your image and appeal. By aligning with a cause, you show that you are about more than just profits; you are invested in societal or environmental issues. This alignment can foster a deeper connection with customers who share similar values, leading to increased brand loyalty. 


Here are some ways to support a cause on social media:


  • Awareness campaigns: Launch campaigns to spread awareness about the cause, using informative posts, stories, and videos.

  • Donation drives: Organize donation drives where a portion of the brand’s sales goes to the supported cause.

  • Partnership with nonprofits: Collaborate with non-profit organizations, lending the brand’s platform to amplify their message.


7. Post seasonal content


Posting seasonal content helps you stay relevant. Seasonal content, aligned with holidays, weather changes, or cultural events, resonates more with the audience as it reflects their current experiences and interests. This relevance can increase engagement, boost sales, and enhance brand image. It also provides an opportunity for creative marketing campaigns that can differentiate the brand from competitors and capitalize on seasonal trends.


Here are some to make the best out of seasonal content:


  • Themed promotions: Offer special promotions or discounts relevant to the season or holiday.


  • Seasonal stories and live streams: Utilize Instagram Stories or Facebook Live to share seasonal stories or host live events.


  • Interactive polls and contests: Host polls or contests related to the season, like a photo contest for the best autumn-themed picture.


8. Promote with Facebook and Instagram ads


Promoting user generated content, such as customer pictures using your brand’s product, with Facebook and Instagram ads is a powerful strategy as these user created posts are perceived as much more authentic and relatable than traditional advertising. It showcases real customers engaging with the product or service, which builds trust and credibility. UGC also often has a higher engagement rate, as it resonates well with the audience. By using UGC in ads, you can leverage this authenticity to create more impactful and trustworthy advertising campaigns that resonate with your target audience.


Here are some ways to promote UGC on ads:


  • Showcase customer reviews: Use positive customer reviews and testimonials in ad campaigns.

  • Feature customer photos or videos: Incorporate photos or videos submitted by customers using the product in a real-life context.

  • Create themed ad campaigns: Develop themed ad campaigns using UGC that align with current events, seasons, or holidays.

9. Create offshoot account


Offshoot accounts allow you to target specific segments of your audience more effectively. With these specialized accounts, you can focus on different aspects of the brand, such as a particular product line, customer service, or community engagement. This targeted approach enables you to cater content more precisely to the interests and needs of different audience subsets, leading to increased engagement and loyalty. 


Here are some ways to create offshoot accounts:


  • Regional accounts: Create accounts tailored to different geographic regions or language groups.


  • Community-focused accounts: Set up accounts that focus on community engagement, social causes, or sustainability efforts.


  • Event or campaign-specific accounts: Launch accounts for major campaigns, events, or product launches.


10. Make UGC shoppable


Making user generated content shoppable on social media is a strategic move as it taps into the authenticity and relatability of customer experiences to drive sales. UGC, such as customer photos or reviews, showcases products in real-life scenarios, making them more appealing to potential buyers. By linking these authentic depictions directly to shopping options, you can streamline the path from discovery to purchase, leveraging the trust and engagement generated by UGC to boost e-commerce efforts.


Here are some ways to make UGC shoppable on social media:


  • Tag products in posts: Utilize features on platforms like Instagram where products in UGC can be tagged and linked directly to the online store.


  • Shoppable galleries: Create shoppable galleries on websites or social media pages, featuring user-generated photos with embedded shopping links.


  • Swipe-up links in stories: Use swipe-up links in Instagram Stories featuring UGC to direct viewers to product pages.


11. Add a social media widget on the website


Adding a social media widget to your website is beneficial as it seamlessly integrates your online presence, providing visitors with a dynamic and interactive experience. These widgets display real-time social media feeds, encouraging website visitors to engage with your brand's social platforms directly. This integration can increase your social media followers, enhance user engagement, and boost content visibility. It also provides social proof, showcasing your brand's active community and the latest conversations or promotions happening on social platforms.


Here are some ways to add social media widgets on your website:


  • Homepage integration: Embed social media feeds prominently on the homepage to showcase the latest posts or interactions.


  • Testimonial feed: Display customer testimonials or reviews pulled from social media through widgets.


  • Live feed for events: Embed live social media feeds during events or product launches to increase engagement.


6 strategies for successful UGC campaigns


1. Choose appropriate social channels


Imagine you're a brand specializing in outdoor gear. If your target audience is young, adventurous people, launching a UGC campaign on Instagram, known for its visual and lifestyle-oriented content, will likely be more effective than on LinkedIn, which caters to professionals seeking business content. By choosing Instagram, you align your campaign with a platform where your audience actively engages, maximizing the impact and reach of your user-generated content.


2. Tell your audience what you need


Suppose you run a coffee shop and decide to start a UGC campaign asking customers to share their favorite coffee moments. If you don't specify what you need, like photos of them enjoying a cup at your shop, you might receive a mix of unrelated content. Clear instructions ensure you get relevant, brand-specific UGC that effectively showcases your coffee shop's ambience and customer experience.


3. Ask permission before your reshare


Imagine you share a personal photo enjoying a product from a brand you love. Without your consent, the brand reposts your photo in their marketing campaign. This can feel invasive, as your private moment is used publicly without your permission. To ensure your customers don’t feel the same way, always ask permission before resharing UGC to respect their privacy and maintain trust.


4. Give credit where it is due


Giving credits to your customers while resharing their posts is just as important as seeking rights to reshare UGC. These credits allow you to acknowledge the original creator's contribution. As a brand, when you credit the individual whose content you're sharing, it demonstrates your appreciation for their effort and creativity. This practice not only builds trust and goodwill with your audience but also encourages others to share their content with you.


5. Keep track of the UGC and its impact


Keeping track of UGC and its impact is vital for understanding how your audience engages with your brand. By monitoring UGC, you can gauge customer sentiment, identify popular products, and assess the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. This insight allows you to make data-driven decisions, tailor your content to audience preferences, and continually refine your approach to maximize engagement and foster a stronger brand-community relationship.


6. Invest in a tool that helps curate UGC


Investing in a tool helps curate UGC streamlines the process of gathering and organizing content created by your audience. This efficiency allows you to quickly identify relevant, high-quality UGC that aligns with your brand's messaging and campaign goals. Utilizing such a tool ensures a consistent and effective UGC strategy, enhancing your brand's engagement and authenticity in the eyes of your audience.



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