Harnessing the Force: User Generated Content

5 min read

Collage Of Four User Generated Images From Social Media With Text

In the Star Wars series, the venerable Obi-Wan Kenobi mentors the struggling hero, Luke Skywalker, as he prepares to defeat the enemy. Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t fight the battles for Luke but instead guides him to use his strengths and the power of the Force. At one point, Obi-Wan Kenobi describes the Force as “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together”. Spoiler alert: Luke eventually defeats the evil forces. Now, imagine the Force to be all around us, but in the form of content, more specifically, User Generated Content. The question remains: how will we harness the power of the Force?


Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic when compared to content created by brands. This is why incorporating user-generated content into your marketing campaigns is so powerful. It gives your brand credibility you can’t build on your own because most people believe less than half of brands create authentic content.


Consumers want to know what they’re going to get before buying, and feedback from other users is an important part of that decision-making process. 30 percent of millennials say they would not go to a restaurant if their Instagram presence was not up to snuff. However, they are not just checking for content you create; they are looking for user-generated content, even if you are the one sharing it. A staggering 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 70 percent trust online consumer opinions and reviews. So to build trust integrating user-generated content in your marketing efforts is critical.

Social Media Marketing

According to a study recently conducted by Bazaar Voice, 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more ways to share their opinion about brands, and more than half of consumers trust User Generated Content more than information on company websites or news articles about companies.

Let’s look at two great companies that have harnessed the power of the Force.


User Generated Content Blog People Wearing Burberry CoatsPhoto Credit: Dana Malhas for Art of the Trench Middle East. Courtesy of Burberry.

Burberry is a designer clothing company that was established in 1856, but struggled to remain a relevant brand into the 21st century. In 2009, Burberry launched The Art of the Trench website, which integrated and curated comments and pictures that were posted by consumers. After the launch, eCommerce sales surged 50% year-over-year. You can visit the website here.

Chobani Yogurt

User Generated Content Blog Chobani Yogurt Ad

Established in 2005, this Greek yogurt company was able to increase its revenue by 225.9% between 2009 and 2010 as a result of the “real love stories” videos the company asked its consumers to create. The campaign was a big hit, and Chobani is now a leading competitor in its industry. The company continues to launch successful integrated campaigns that utilize User Generated Content.

Be the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Digital Marketing Campaigns

Here are a few top tips for creating optimized opportunities for User Generated Content:

Mobile Optimization

Regardless of your industry, product, or campaign, make sure all your content is optimized for mobile use. It doesn’t matter how tremendous the content is, if it cannot be quickly and easily accessed through mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.), it will deter consumers from viewing the content.

Asset Alignment

Figure out if you have the bandwidth to sustain an ongoing program on your website, or if a one-time campaign will be more advantageous. Make sure your goals align with your audience, assets, and execution.

Hero Messaging

Ensure the consumer is the “hero” of your messaging. Consumers are looking for brand authenticity, and while the goal of the campaign might be brand awareness or a revenue increase, make sure the results are mutually beneficial.

Instant Integration

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when launching User Generated Content! If there is a successful way to integrate current social media advertising platforms into your campaign, integrate away!

Utilizing User Generated Campaigns can be extremely effective in spreading brand awareness and increasing revenue. Spend some time brainstorming how you can effectively utilize your digital tools and platforms.

3 Key Ways To Use UGC on Social

1. Create Brand Desire

It may sound harsh, but people are envious; they love to see what other people are doing, their vacations, their home improvement projects, pretty much anything others are doing. This desire is a primary reason why sharing exceptional user-generated content is a powerful way to spark brand desire. For example, if you are in the tourism industry, showcasing your hotel or resort through the lens of a visitor can be a powerful way to showcase your destination. If you sell household items, which do you think will have more impact, a picture of an item on a shelf in your store or in a customer's home with a comment about why they love it?

2. Inspire Brand Loyalty

You build brand loyalty by fostering long-term relationships that result in customers returning and buying time and time again. Your customers who take the time to create and share user-generated content are likely your biggest fans. They are probably repeating customers for who your product or service was especially meaningful. Leveraging their user-generated content allows you to capture their excitement and foster loyalty in people who may be less familiar with your brand.

3. Build a Content Library

It is challenging to constantly create new, fresh, relevant content for your social media platforms. Adding user-generated content to your library of content can help you build it quickly so you always have something to share that your customers and prospects can connect with.

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