What is User Generated Content (UGC)?

What is UGC?

You might have heard this digital marketing buzzword recently called UGC, also known as User Generated Content. To demystify what UGC is, it is essentially content that is contributed by consumers, users and readers.

In a broader context, platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Wikipedia are tools that thrive on user generated content. These social media channels are avenues for users to express opinions, upload and share content on various topics.

What makes UGC applicable to small and medium businesses is the tools these platforms provide to enable brands and businesses to create opportunities for conversation with consumers.

Creating opportunities for conversation and participation

Econsultancy.com has a really brilliant article on ‘user generated content’.

It highlights on how marketers in this era ought to think about how to create opportunities for conversation and participation. Businesses are no longer in the driver’s seat but instead ought to adopt the role of the facilitator to spark consumer’s response to the product or the service at hand.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest provide applicable tools for content creation and content sharing.

Instead of merely broadcasting an ad, explore on how you can use these social media platforms to create opportunities for users to create content and express opinions.

A few insights to think about

Facebook is a platform to ‘share and express preference’,

Youtube is a place to share videos,

Instagram is a tool to upload photos,

Twitter is an avenue to share and spread 140 characters about all there is,

Pinterest in an avenue to ‘collect’ images and create ‘moodboards’ – food recipes or fashion curation tend to work very well on Pinterest,

Snapchat is a viral photo/video network for content that last a few seconds – think ‘time-framed’,

Disqus is a tool and platform for users to give reviews and comments.

With these insights on how these tools functions in the user’s hands, think about how you would be able to navigate the user to participate and respond to future campaigns. Be it giving a review on a new product launch or submitting a photo with a new purchase.

Below are a few examples of UGC at work,

1. Lego x Belkin casings


In 2013, Belkin partnered with Lego to create customisable iPhone casings. This idea of letting customers use Lego to customise phone casing is a brilliant application of ’user-generated’ concept in itself. Lego, in essence, is a user-generated product. You can pretty much make anything out of Lego.

Belkin uses Instagram as a platform to let users showcase their creation. Users are also able to vote, like and share creations by other participants.

Needless to say, it sparked a lot of creativity out of Lego enthusiast and Belkin casings went off the shelves like hotcakes!

There are a number of custom plugins out there that you can use to run such campaigns, be sure to do your research on pricing and features.

2. Lululemon – The Yogawear company that got social on the right track

Lululemon, the Yogawear company got social in the right start with its #TheSweatLife hashtag campaign for Instagram. The brand encourages yoga enthusiast to tag their yoga poses with the hashtag #TheSweatLife for their photos to be featured on Lululemon’s website. The brand partnered with tech company Olapic to curate a gallery of photos submitted by users with the said hashtag.

Unlike the Belkin casing campaign which was tailored for a new product launch, Lululemon’s campaign has a more lasting longevity as it targets a certain type of lifestyle.

What’s amazing is that, to date, if you were to do a #hashtag search on the Instagram search bar, you’ll find more than 200k post tagged with #TheSweatLife. Two years after its campaign, people are still tagging their yoga classes, poses and new purchases from the brand.


The key takeaway here: think about the longevity of the campaign, what your brand represents to the users to build a community, and grow your fans organically for the long haul.

UGC is not only for big brands with thousands of followers

UGC is not only applicable for big brands, and established businesses with thousands of followers. UGC is also great way for you to organically build a community and fans for your new business. Do a bit of research on the kind of lifestyle that your brand promotes.

If you are selling kitchen wares for example, ‘eating healthy’ or ‘home-cooked-meal’ might be a good insight to start with to create a theme or topic that users can use to share photos and trade recipes. The possibilities are vast and endless when it comes to curating campaigns with #hashtags. Even products such assocks’ are able to garner thousands of fans with the right pitch and insights to get people ‘talking’ and ‘sharing’.

May these couple of examples give you a bit more insight and room for thought for your next UGC campaign. Happy sharing ~

Zee Ng

Zee is a digital strategist who have worked in a number of online enterprise. She believes in technology and creativity that change lives for the better. When not blogging, she enjoys cafe-hopping, nature trails, being near the ocean and discovering films. Get in touch, for collaboration.