User-generated content is more than a marketing trend; it’s how brands today become relatable. Without honest reviews from real users, companies can no longer market their products successfully.

Let’s explore how user-generated content can impact your brand and how you can use it in your global marketing strategy. Plus, an example from one of our clients. 

What is user-generated content?

Content creator filming herself with a phone on a tripod

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any type of content—videos, photos, reviews, blogs or comments—that is created and shared by real people who actually use a product or service.

UGC can come from your friend’s post on Instagram, an employee sharing a behind-the-scenes video at work or a customer leaving a review on Google.

Unlike traditional advertising, where a company tells you why their product is great, UGC comes directly from users who share their personal experiences and opinions.

This type of content can be highly effective because it doesn’t feel like a sales pitch. For brands, UGC is a powerful tool to build brand credibility, trust and a community around their products or services. 

Why is UGC important?

Social media platforms, especially TikTok, have shown how UGC can impact a business. A few viral reviews can significantly boost followers and buyers, leading to months of sold-out products. UGC really does have the potential to grow a brand rapidly.

Here’s an example of the effect of UGC:

If a potential customer is debating buying a $40 product because of its price, a single video or positive review could be all they need to purchase it. When they see the product’s benefits firsthand, shown by a real person they can relate to, the decision is easy. UGC helps to show the real-life value behind the $40 product.

But why is it so powerful? 

Consumers crave authenticity and naturally gravitate towards genuine and trustworthy brands. People value UGC for its honest and authentic feedback. As a result, recommendations from friends or fellow users are often trusted more than branded ads.

However, there’s a notable disconnect: while 92% of marketers feel their content is authentic, only 51% of consumers believe less than half of brands achieve genuine authenticity in their content. 

This gap highlights the importance of UGC not just for its authenticity, but also as a cost-effective content strategy. Encouraging customers to share their experiences provides brands with a steady stream of real, relatable content. In turn, bridging the gap between consumer expectations and brand communications.

As Paula Uccelli, Project Manager at VeraContent, says:

Paid UGC focuses on highly humanized content. This approach is about reaching out to content creators for their unique voice and style, not necessarily their reach. It’s a strategy that prioritizes authenticity and relatability, making it effective on platforms like TikTok, where human connection is key.” 

See more: TikTok marketing strategy: Should you go global or local?

Increased human-brand connection

97% of consumers prioritize brands that actively listen and engage with what customers have to say. 

UGC allows brands to have conversations with their audience. By monitoring and engaging with UGC, you can better understand what your customers love, what they don’t and what can be improved. This is direct feedback that you can use to adapt to your customers. 

Featuring UGC on your brand’s social media channels also encourages more users to share their experiences. This shows customer loyalty, grabs attention and helps you build a stronger community around your brand.

It’s a win-win situation: your brand receives valuable content and visibility while users gain exposure. Since UGC can increase your online presence, brand awareness and reach, it can ultimately drive organic traffic to your website and social media.

See more: How to scale content creation without hiring

How to use UGC in an international marketing strategy

Woman creating user-generated content on her phone

Contests are a brilliant way to generate global engagement. Create catchy, memorable hashtags for your campaigns and encourage users to tag their content with them. It not only helps in tracking UGC, but also creates a sense of community across borders

But how do you get your audience to participate? 

Give incentives!

  • Feature user content on your platforms and offer shoutouts
  • Run giveaways for the best content submitted

When users know what’s in it for them, they’re more likely to create and share their content. 

You can also partner with influencers who genuinely love your brand. Their content can inspire followers to create their own. But this doesn’t necessarily mean going for big names. Micro-influencers with highly engaged audiences could have more impact, especially in local markets. 

See more: Global influencer marketing: Today’s celebs at your service

Getting the content is the first step. Next is figuring out how to share user-generated content on social media for your global audience.

Understanding and engaging with a global audience requires an approach beyond translation. All content needs to be culturally adapted and relevant. In this context, localization is key

This starts with a deep and clear understanding of your audiences’ culture and social media behaviors. But if you’re targeting multiple regions, it’s impossible to gain a deep enough understanding of each to truly connect with them.

The solution? Find locally-based community managers for the countries you’re targeting. 

Locally based community managers know the language and culture of your target audience. They’ll be able to ensure the user-generated content is adapted to fit the local context. Local community managers can also gather valuable feedback from users, which can be used to improve their current and future strategies. 

All in all, this helps you build a globally appealing yet locally relevant brand.

See more: Translation vs. localization: What’s the difference and why should you care? 

A UGC case study: PopSockets

PopSocket's Spanish Instagram account
An example of a localized social media post from PopSocket’s Instagram account. The Spanish copy roughly translates to: “If life gives you grapefruit… get a PopSocket.”

When PopSockets entered the European market, they joined forces with VeraContent to tailor their social media strategy to resonate across different cultures. Together with the brand, we created localized content for each of their key European markets, including the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

In addition to creating content, PopSockets also asked us to source UGC and post witty captions accompanying it, adapting it for each localized region.

Finding quality UGC and creating engaging captions for the target audience can be tricky, but our dedicated community managers showed their localization abilities and how we can adapt the material in a genuine and relatable way for each audience.

Here’s an example of a caption one of our community managers wrote to accompany this user-generated TikTok video for PopSockets.

@popsockets_europe Get a grip on the new year with a fresh new look 😎 @babalagrande #popsockets #popgrip #phonegrip #phonewallet #phonecase #phonemount ♬ original sound – PopSockets Europe

How your brand can benefit from user-generated content

Featuring UGC should be a regular part of your content strategy. It showcases your brand’s global appeal and strengthens your connection with audiences worldwide. By guiding the UGC narrative and encouraging broad participation, you’re promoting your brand and building a global community of advocates.

Simplify your move to international markets with VeraContent’s expert social media management services. Book a call to see if you qualify for a Free Content Consultation.