Discover How Most Industries Can Benefit From User-Generated Content

December 15, 2023

When you're looking to elevate the image of your brand, you should be looking at utilizing some untapped UGC your brand hasn't reached yet. In its simplest form, UGC is essentially people who share photos, videos, or reviews where they use and hopefully enjoy your product. This is something every brand wishes for. It's free marketing and can save you from writing a big cheque to get ads made. 

But this begs the question, Is there ever too much UGC?

Your quick and short answer should be no, right? Well, yes, there are never too many good reviews or videos being shared by happy customers. It's how you utilize it that matters. The whole point of starting a new marketing campaign or giving your current one a facelift is to stand out from the crowd. The easiest thing you can call a marketing campaign is looking at your competitors, taking their style but just slapping your logo on it. It's like copying your friends' homework the night before it's due; you can change a couple of things, and it might pass for today, but if you really put the effort in, you could do better. Starting a brand can be nerve-racking, and we easily fall in line with the rest of the companies for what your campaign "should" look like and forget to be creative, especially when bills start to come in. 

In this article, we will take a dive into nine different industries and how they benefit from user-generated content. Browse all the listed industries to see what they're up to and how they can help you.

UGC in the Food & Beverage Industry

When was the last time you went to get food without looking at their reviews or scrolling through their Instagram page? Unless it's the only roadside restaurant on a long road trip, you probably can't remember when. In the food and beverage industry, user-generated content serves as a dynamic marketing tool covering almost every one of the restaurant's marketing needs. Restaurants and brands alike can easily acquire UGC by encouraging their customers to write reviews, leave ratings, and take images to later share and repost on social media. By showcasing their newly acquired photos and positive testimonials, businesses not only create an authentic representation of their business but, in turn, build a sense of community around their brand. Contests and challenges, such as hashtag campaigns and recipe contests, engage customers to stay active, creating a sense of loyalty. While this last method may not be free, collaborations with food influencers also amplify UGC's reach. Overall, UGC in the food and beverage industry establishes a direct and relatable connection between brands and consumers, driving awareness, trust, and engagement.

Example: Stans Donuts Chicago

Stans Donuts is a perfect example of UGC done right in the food and beverage industry. All photos are aesthetically pleasing and look professionally done. With the more professional UGC photos posted on their feed and on-the-go casual photos in their story, everybody gets a chance to share their experience at Stan's Donuts.

The most important takeaway from Stans is that they stay active. It's hard to build a community with a sense of trust when your social media posting is random and, for the most part, inactive.

UGC in the Hospitality Industry

In this never-ending digital era, user-generated content has brought about a major transformation in the hospitality industry. Fueled by the popularity of short-form videos and various social media platforms, travelers now have the ease of sharing their thoughts, experiences, and reviews about products and services. This, once called a "trend," has evolved into a valuable resource for consumers actively searching for authentic and impartial information as they navigate purchasing decisions. For owners of travel businesses, acknowledging the power of user-generated content is essential. Utilizing traveller reviews, in particular, becomes crucial for enhancing your brand's reputation and drawing a larger audience of tourists.

Example: Airbnb

Now taking up 20% of the vacation travel market, It's an absolute must to talk about Airbnb. Airbnb's marketing strategy is entirely built on users sharing their experiences through various platforms, and without UGC, they would lose 80% of their current engagement rate. You may think this number is high, and it really is, but not without cause. Airbnb's clientele is largely millennials. Millennials make up over 55% of today's current online users, and a third of their daily internet intake is spent looking at one thing: UGC. 

Gathering all of this UGC comes in handy when word of mouth starts to work its magic. Bringing in new property owners and renters makes Airbnb money on both sides of the coin. 

UGC in the Retail Industry

Retail and UGC can be a tough pair, but with a little creativity, you can make it work. When you go to a store these days, you usually know what you're looking for unless you're on a late-night run to Target to spontaneously re-design the living room. Even then, you won't find yourself standing there reading in-store reviews, and if you wanted to read them, you wouldn't know where to look. This is why you need to make sure your in-store UGC is short and sweet but, most importantly, right in front of the customer's face, making it impossible for them not to see it. 

Example: NYX Cosmetics

 NYX Cosmetics is more than well known in the fashion and beauty industry; with over 14.5 million Instagram followers and counting, they continue to build their empire. Although they have many stores located around the globe, NYX is not shy about putting their products in large real stores such as Target. Taken out from the group of other makeup, having a stand of their own, while highlighting real UGC testimonials…. That's a home run!

Image Via Power Reviews

UGC in the Fashion Industry

I personally think buying clothes online is absolutely terrifying! It just never fits me right, or I don't end up liking how it looks on me. Whatever the case is, I feel like I'm alone in this, with over 785 billion dollars coming from the e-commerce fashion industry.

That's a lot of jeans!

With that much money shared between the giants in the industry, you'd think they would hire the best models and get the best camera equipment for every campaign, right? Quite the opposite, actually. While there are some professional photo shoots being done to launch the product, nothing sells better than your consumers actually wearing the product. Customers are aware that the model wearing the product has been specifically selected for the product, and it might not fit the same for them.

 Example: Salsa Jeans

Salsa Jeans has a beautiful website and Instagram that would make anyone think they need a new pair. The key takeaway from Salsa Jeans is they're actively engaged with their community and consistently repost shared photos under their unique hashtag. The creator gives you free content, and in return, the creator gets a chance to boast their image. 

UGC in the Healthcare Industry

This industry isn't necessarily something you look to browse on Instagram. While testimonials from previous customers are vital to this industry, it makes you think, what other kinds of UGC are there in the healthcare space? Online patient communities. A dedicated place for people to share how their clinics are and what they might be going through, aiming to put others at ease or get tips to help them on their journey. 

 Example: Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic has a dedicated page for people to share their journeys and help other patients, family, friends, or even Mayo Clinic workers. There are more than a few online patient communities that are not just talking about their own personal experience but are actively working to advance research.

UGC in the Travel Industry

When you want to grow your brand in the Travel industry, you must be willing to hand over some of the power and creativity to your consumers. It's something you will have to accept because it's impossible to travel 24/7 and get as many photos as your consumers. You'd be replacing the U in UGC with you, and nobody wants that. 

Example: Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's goal, like any airline, is to get their flights booked. Luckily for them, travel influencers have booked a one-way flight to Instagram. AirNZ simply re-uses user-generated content to share an experience others could want to have through various social platforms. Their UGC shows real people traveling while taking jaw-dropping photos. Air New Zealand also uses user-generated content from paid influencers to show potential customers what a flight with them looks like, from A to Z. 

UGC in the Automotive Industry

Purchasing a new car is one of the most significant financial commitments for many individuals. This makes the automotive industry particularly susceptible to effective user-generated content advertising. Given that millions of customers globally readily share their experiences with newly acquired vehicles on social media platforms, UGC provides automotive brands with a variety of consumer testimonials through various marketing channels. By leveraging UGC, these brands can deliver a personalized touch, appealing to the emotions of potential customers and creating memorable campaigns. In the automotive industry, UGC stems from content generated by satisfied drivers who showcase their experiences with the particular car brand they own. As a marketer within the automotive industry, it becomes obvious that there is space for car companies to tap into these user experiences.

Example: Porsche

As any car brand should do, Porsche encourages their happy customers to showcase their slick Porsche to get a feature on their website. Porsche started a hashtag campaign (#PorscheMoment) asking their drivers to share posts of their Porsche cars, old, new, customized, and everything in between.

UGC in the Beauty Industry

User-generated content plays a crucial role in allowing beauty brands to showcase their products in their purest form, providing a genuine demonstration of the actual product performance. For instance, an influencer's review of a blush palette can visually depict how its colours appear on a real individual. Additionally, UGC unveils a  vast spectrum of authentic and diverse individuals behind the screen, contributing to the brand's authenticity. This, in turn, elevates the trust level between the consumer and the brand, ultimately reducing the time it takes for a consumer to make a purchase decision.

Example: M.A.C

Becoming one of the most sought-after makeup companies in the world doesn't happen by accident. M.A.C has always been pushing creative boundaries, trying to get on the wave before it's too big. One of their recent campaigns, #MoodFlip, encourages users to show off not only their stunning makeup but also their video editing skills. This is a great way to showcase multiple products in a single video. 

UGC in the Educational Industries

User-generated content plays a huge role in schools and various educational programs. You'd never put up the money for an expensive tuition, being the first and only student to attend a university. Almost 60% of potential students browse and check various social media pages of the facility to really learn what they offer.

Stanford University and institutions alike use graduates as a form of UGC to display to people who are looking to attend. These testimonials include the alumni's learning environment, academic level, and life after university. This gives potential candidates a good understanding of what to expect from the school and selected programs. This is how educational schools and programs build trust and calm the nerves of their applying candidates. 

What Industry Are You?

Seeking Inspiration outside of your industry is an absolute must in order to survive. Always look out for campaigns and brands that are performing particularly well and try to translate them into your industry.

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