The Social Power of User-Generated Content

When you consider that 92% of consumers are more likely to trust content and product recommendations from friends, family and other consumers over brand-produced content, it’s easy to see why user-generated content (UGC) has increased dramatically over the years.

User-generated content can add amazing value to a brand. In marketing terms, UGC is used as a content strategy to encourage consumers to share their experiences and engage with a brand. In short, UGC can take the form of any consumer-created content shared by consumers; this can range from images to videos to participating in competitions.

To demonstrate the social power that UGC can generate for a brand, I’m going to be looking at two types of UGC strategies that, when done right, produce phenomenal results: Competitions and hashtags.



You may remember the infamous Neknominate online drinking game that went viral in 2014. Although this social media frenzy spiralled out of control, one organisation used a similar technique to their advantage. The #nomakeupselfie campaign raised a staggering £8m for Cancer Research UK, as social media platforms were flooded with women posting no-makeup selfies, donating £3 to charity and nominating others to do the same.


The Share a Coke campaign is one of the best examples to demonstrate the unbelievable social power of UGC. By personalising coke bottles with the names of their consumers, they encouraged people to share personal stories, moments and memories not only with other consumers, but with the brand as well. The #ShareaCoke hashtag was used in 235,000 tweets by 111,000 fans in 2014 which attributed to a 2% increase in US sales. With such huge success, it’s no wonder the #ShareaCoke campaign has been re-launched this year, encouraging consumers to share a coke and, this time, a song.

From the words of Racquel Harris Mason, vice president, Coca-Cola/Coke Zero, Coca-Cola North America: “We’ve seen incredible enthusiasm from consumers who love the campaign’s personal touch, and we wanted to push ourselves to innovate and provide our fans with new experiences. Evolving the program to focus on lyrics creates an amazing opportunity for people to share special moments, sentiments and a Coca-Cola with people they care about.”