Did you know?…

The public believes UGC is 2.4 times more authentic than brand content.*

*Business Wire analysis

So, is it part of YOUR marketing and comms strategy?

UGC can be an efficient, cost-effective way of reaching new people, and building relationships with current supporters. The Covid period has altered the marketing landscape, bringing UGC to the forefront of campaign strategy and changing the way consumers relate to brands.

But what is user-generated content anyway? Put simply, UGC is content that’s been created by people outside the brand, rather than the brand themself.

All the B’s! The benefits of incorporating it into your strategy include:

  • Budget-busting! Including a strong UGC element in a marketing strategy means fewer photoshoots and reduces the need for professional content creation. Particularly helpful in the current climate as the cost of living rises and budgets are stretched for businesses and consumers alike.
  • Building authenticity – we’re human! Content originating from a charity’s volunteers, beneficiaries or supporters is the strongest social proof out there, and can have much higher caché than brand content, even if it’s not as polished. This is something that particularly resonates as we try and reach younger generations, who have come of age among authentically-driven channels. Social media platforms are making ‘real’ content more important via a focus on short-form video for example, and brand campaigns are following suit for a reason.
  • Blimin’ great content! We all know that feeling of being stuck for ideas – having a bank of UGC is a great resource.
  • Building community. Having a conversation with your audience is crucial for building relationships, and UGC is the perfect avenue. It also shows that you value your followers/supporters, and demonstrates to others that they could be featured in the same way.
  • An increase in the big B! BRAND awareness – the more people getting involved and creating content, and then resharing that, the more people are talking about the brand.

Take a look at these great examples

If you’re yet to be convinced, have a look at cult campaigns such as Movember, which has funded 1250 men’s health projects globally and continues to gather pace annually, or the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge that raised $115 million around the world – all recent, memorable examples of incredible, large-scale UGC-based marketing.

But it can also be as simple as sharing social media content – Marie Curie runs Instagram video diaries of their beneficiaries, whilst Support Dogs gets great reach via videos of fostered dogs, shot by the charity’s volunteers, for example Peggy’s Instagram. Even used in small, everyday ways, it’s a great way to shake things up and involve people in your brand.

Our top 5 tips for utilising UGC in your charity social media marketing:

  1. Test your concept! If a UGC campaign is going to take off, it will need to appeal to a wide variety of people, so make sure you do your research beforehand, especially if it’s a big campaign.
  2. Hashtag hashtag hashtag! Set up a dedicated hashtag to track your engagement – it doesn’t have to be branded, but check who’s already used it before deciding.
  3. Process! Create a guide document. If it’s a certain form or style of content that you want, make sure to advise participants. For example, if you want to share lots of Instagram stories, tell them to shoot in good light, and use a portrait orientation.
  4. Ask permission from the bill payer 😀 Make sure you get permission to repost, and tag/give credit to the original creator. If you’d like to work with someone in particular, comment on their content, asking if you can contact them.

And finally…

5. Keep it safe peeps! Be aware of safeguarding responsibilities when sharing people’s stories – it may be the case that you need signed consent, or need to be in touch with parents or key workers.


For more information on UGC, charity comms and social media moderation, get in touch!


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