Frederik Van Lierde

What Are the Best Ways to Motivate Your Customers to Create Content for Your Brand?

User-generated content (UGC) has become a cornerstone of modern marketing strategies, particularly for businesses looking to leverage the authenticity and creativity of their customer base. For startups and entrepreneurs, UGC not only provides a cost-effective form of content but also boosts engagement and brand loyalty. Here are some strategies businesses can use to incentivize customers to create and share UGC: What Are the Best Ways to Motivate Your Customers to Create Content for Your Brand?

Table of Contents

Build a Community Around Your Brand

When you build a community around your brand, you make people feel like they're part of a special group. It's like having a team where everyone supports and cheers for each other.

This makes people want to talk about your brand and share their own stories. By using things like hashtags, you give everyone a common way to connect their stories together.

This isn't just about selling something; it's about creating a space where people belong and can share a piece of themselves. When customers feel this connection, they talk about your brand more and this brings even more people to join the community.

GoPro made a community by encouraging their customers to share videos of their adventures with GoPro cameras. They used hashtags like #GoProHero to connect all these cool experiences. People loved showing off the amazing stuff they did with their cameras, and GoPro shared these videos too.

This made customers feel really proud and excited to be part of the GoPro family. And because so many people were sharing their own GoPro moments, it made others want to buy a camera and join in. This wasn't just about a camera; it was about being part of the adventure club that is GoPro. Building a community gives your customers a sense of belonging and investment in your brand's success.

Encourage conversations and interactions on your social media platforms, and create a branded hashtag that customers can use when posting about your products. The key is to make your customers feel like they are part of a movement or lifestyle, not just using a product or service.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

Giving rewards and saying "thank you" makes people happy and gets them excited to do more. Think about when someone gives you a high-five for doing something good; it feels great, right?

That's why when businesses give rewards like discounts or free stuff, it encourages people to make and share things about the brand. And when a business shows off a customer's picture or video for everyone to see, it makes that customer feel like a star. This kind of attention makes other people want to join in too, hoping they'll get rewards and their moment in the spotlight.

A company that does this really well is Starbucks with their "Starbucks Rewards" program. When people buy coffee, they earn points, or 'stars', and they can use those stars to get free drinks or treats. Starbucks also has special member events and sneak peeks at new products.

Customers even get a special treat on their birthday! All these perks make people excited to keep buying coffee from Starbucks and to be part of the Starbucks community. Plus, when people talk about the rewards they got, it's like free advertising for Starbucks, showing everyone how fun it is to be a customer there.

People love to be recognized and rewarded. Implement a system where UGC contributors can receive discounts, free products, or exclusive access to services. Consider featuring the best customer content on your website or social media channels, and acknowledge the creators by name to give them public recognition.
Run Contests and Challenges Having a contest or a challenge is like a fun game that everyone wants to win. When a business says, "Hey, show us your best photo with our product and you could win a prize," it gets people excited.

They think about what they could win and start getting creative. They take photos or write stories, and then they share them with the business and their friends.

It's fun, and the chance to win something cool makes it even better. Plus, when people put in the effort to join in, they feel more connected to the brand, like they're part of a special event.

The shoe company Vans threw a big contest called "Custom Culture" where they asked people to draw cool designs on their shoes and share the pictures. The best design could win a bunch of money for their school's art program.

Lots of people got their markers out and started drawing on their Vans. They posted pictures online and got their friends to vote for their designs. It made lots of people talk about Vans and showed off how you can be creative with their shoes.

This contest got people all over the place to join in and have fun with the brand, all while making lots of new shoe designs for Vans to show off.

Contests and challenges with attractive prizes can be a powerful motivator for customers to generate content. These can be as simple as photo contests, testimonials, or creative uses of your product. Make sure the contest is easy to participate in and that the rules are clear.

Provide a Platform for Sharing

When you give people a special place to show what they've made, like a page on your website just for their pictures or stories, it's like giving them their own stage. It's easier for them because they know exactly where to put their stuff for everyone to see.

This makes them more likely to share because they don't have to figure out where to post it or worry if anyone will notice. It's like when you draw a picture and someone puts it up on the fridge; you know it's a place where it will be seen and appreciated.

The LEGO's website have a section called "LEGO Life" where kids and fans can upload photos of their LEGO creations. This makes it super easy for LEGO lovers to show what they've built. When people see their own LEGO designs on the official LEGO site, they feel really special.

Plus, when other LEGO fans visit the site and see all these cool creations, they get inspired to build and share their own. It's a smart way for LEGO to show off how creative people can get with their bricks, all while making sure that everyone knows where to find and share all this awesome content.

Some customers may be creating content but not sharing it where you can see it. By providing a platform or a section on your website where they can upload their content directly, you make it easier for them to contribute. Offer a dedicated UGC gallery or a featured section on your homepage.

Leverage Social Proof

Using social proof is like showing someone that a party is full of people having fun so they want to join too. When customers see that other people are sharing things about your brand, they think it's a good idea and start doing the same.

It's like when your friends tell you they like something; you're more likely to try it. Businesses can share customers' posts, or put a little box on their website that shows off the good things people are saying. This makes more customers want to share their own good times with your product, because they see everyone else is doing it and they like the buzz.

A famous example is how Airbnb uses social proof. They show pictures and stories from travelers using Airbnb on their website and social media. When people planning a trip see these real stories from other guests, they think, "Wow, that could be me!"

It makes them trust Airbnb more, because they see all these happy customers. It's not just Airbnb saying they're great; it's all these travelers saying it for them. This makes more people want to book with Airbnb and share their own travel stories, joining in on the fun.

Utilize the content that customers are already creating to generate more UGC. When people see that others are posting about your brand, they are more likely to join in. Highlighting user content as social proof can be done through "regrams," "retweets," or by using widgets that showcase UGC on product pages.

Create a Seamless Sharing Experience

When sharing is easy, like having a big, clear button right there to click, people are more likely to do it. It's like if someone hands you a basketball and points to a hoop nearby, you're probably going to take a shot.

Businesses that make it super simple to share stuff about what they sell, like having a button that lets you post straight to Facebook or Instagram, help people share without having to think too much.

And if they give you cool things like photo filters or fun captions to add, it's even more tempting to share because it's not only easy, it's also fun.

A good example is how the makeup brand Sephora made an app that lets you try on makeup virtually and then share your look with friends. You can play with different colors and styles, and when you find one you like, you can show it off with just a tap.

It feels like a game, and it's super easy, so lots of people share their makeovers. This gets friends talking about Sephora's makeup and wanting to try the app too. It's like a fun, easy way to spread the word about all the cool makeup they have.

Make sure that sharing content is as frictionless as possible. Integrate social media sharing buttons on your product pages, or provide templates and tools that help customers create content. A fashion brand might provide a photo filter that customers can use when showing off their new outfit.

Engage with User Content

When a business talks back to people who share stuff about them, it's like giving a high-five. If you draw a picture and someone says, "Hey, that's cool!" it makes you happy and want to draw more. So, when a customer shows off your brand and you give them a thumbs up or write a nice comment, it feels good.

It's like saying, "We see you, and we like what you did!" This makes other people want to join in too. They see that you really care and that maybe they can get a high-five as well if they share something about your brand.

When people post pictures wearing their Nike shoes or clothes and use the Nike hashtag, Nike often likes these posts or even shares them on their own page. This makes those customers feel super special because a big brand noticed them.

It also shows everyone else that Nike is paying attention to normal people, not just the famous athletes. So, more and more people post their own Nike stories, hoping to get some love from the big brand. It's a way of making everyone feel like they're part of the Nike family.

When a customer tags your brand or uses your hashtag, take the time to engage with their content. Like it, comment on it, or share it. This interaction not only makes the customer feel valued but also encourages others to post content in hopes of receiving similar engagement.

Educate Your Customers

Teaching your customers how to make cool stuff to share is like helping someone learn to ride a bike. At first, they might not know how to start, but if you show them how to pedal and balance, they'll be zooming around in no time.

When a business gives tips or shows step-by-step how to make something awesome with their product, people feel more confident. They think, "I can do that too!" And once they start, they often keep coming up with new ideas all by themselves. It's like giving them a little nudge on the back to get going.

Williams-Sonoma put up recipes and cooking guides on their website and social media. When people buy kitchen stuff from them, they can go online and find ways to use it right away. It's like Williams-Sonoma is saying, "Here's how to make a tasty cake with our mixer."

Customers try it, feel like chefs, and then share pictures of their yummy cakes. They're proud of what they made and happy to show off what they did with Williams-Sonoma's products. It gets more people interested in cooking and in buying stuff from the store to try the recipes themselves.

Sometimes customers don't contribute UGC because they don't know how or what to create. Providing guidelines, ideas, or even tutorials can spark their creativity and give them the push they need to start creating.

Co-Create with Influencers

Working with influencers is like teaming up with the popular kid at school to throw a party. The popular kid says, "Come to this cool event," and lots of people show up because they trust and like what the popular kid suggests.

Influencers have lots of fans who enjoy their posts and trust their opinions. So when an influencer says, "Hey, make something cool with this brand," their followers are likely to do it. They feel like they're part of a fun project, and it's like getting a personal invitation from someone they look up to.

The clothing brand H&M partnered with fashion influencers on Instagram. They asked these stylish folks to show off their H&M outfits and encouraged their followers to do the same with a special hashtag.

Lots of people started posting their own fashion looks with H&M clothes because they wanted to be part of the trend that the influencers started. It was like a big, global fashion show where everyone could strut their stuff. This got H&M lots of attention and showed off their clothes on all sorts of different people, all thanks to the influencers and their followers who joined in the fun.

Collaborate with influencers who can inspire their followers to create content for your brand. Influencers can launch UGC campaigns, where they ask their followers to create content around a theme related to your product or service.


By implementing these strategies, businesses can not only increase the amount of UGC but also improve the quality of the content being shared. UGC campaigns should be crafted to align with the brand's values and objectives, ensuring that they resonate with both the brand's and the customers' identities.

Incentivizing UGC is about creating a win-win situation where customers feel their contributions are meaningful and rewarded, and the business benefits from authentic, customer-backed content.