Why a User-Generated Content Strategy Works

Aug 03, 2017

“92% of people believe peer reviews or even recommendations from people they have never met over what a brand says.” In this article, SparkPlug startup TINT, evaluates the benefits of incorporating a user-generated content strategy.

Written by Quinn Cox, Head of Partnerships and Business Development, TINT

Today, marketers are living in a new world of consumer-led communications – The Earned Media Economy. This new way of communicating focuses on being honest, trustworthy, and surfacing a narrative that is authentic. According to a study by Nielsen, 92% of people will believe peer reviews or even recommendations from people they have never met, over what a brand would say.

Customers are talking about your brand whether you like it or not. Instead of letting those social conversations go to waste, User Generated Content (UGC) can be utilized to engage consumers in an effective, authentic ways. UGC helps marketers maintain fresh and consistent content by tapping into a community of active fans.

Engagement is worth more than followers

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have if you aren’t engaging with them. For example, Marriott’s Facebook page has 2.5 million likes, yet their posts average fewer than 100 likes. That’s an engagement rate of only 0.004%.   


A common misconception is that a brand needs thousands of posts to utilize the hidden gem of user-generated content. The truth is, you really only need 10-20 great posts to find success.

After doing a quick search on TINT, our Suggested Post engine found a variety of user-generated content in less than 10 seconds.


If Marriott requested the User Rights to these photos and incorporated user-generated content on their marketing channels, there’s a high possibility they would get more likes AND build genuine relationships with their followers and consumers.

Time Value of Social Content

The more hours, days, weeks, months you go without using UGC, the more value you’re missing. It’s the same concept as the time value of money. If you aren’t saving money today, you’re missing out on the ability to earn interest. If you’re letting hundreds or thousands of user-generated posts go to waste, your “content bank account” is dry.


Every brand is pushing branded content in the hope that someone...ANYONE...will latch on.  

The problem is, hope is not a strategy.

UGC posts featuring brands earn almost 7x more engagement than brand generated posts (Campaign Live). That’s not hope, that’s data. Humans want to talk to humans and engage in a way that is natural.

Tesla, the “cool uncle”


Tesla delivered about 76,000 cars in 2016.  Ford sold 2.6 million.  But even with far fewer deliveries, “Tesla was the number-one most mentioned US car manufacturer [on social].” (Zignal Labs). Why does Tesla have a powerful cult following? Tesla has created a story that goes beyond the product and beyond competing on price and miles per gallon. Tesla markets an experience and a lifestyle. Their customers are part of something greater than the car.

With the changing ecosystem, marketers and agencies need to get more creative with their use of authentic content from real people. Transparency and authenticity are values that are not only good for products and services, but for changing the society around us for the better.

Tips to succeed with User Generated Content:

  • Don’t add a hashtag to your advertisement without a clear “call to action”—collecting UGC is not enough. Ask how UGC fits into your buying cycle.
  • Get the most value from your content by using an omnichannel strategy (web, signage, OOH, social ads).
  • A/B test new channels you may not have thought about for UGC, such as UGC review sites, UGC SMS, UGC in email or retail experiences.
  • Look for “native ad” partners. 30% of all served ads will be blocked this year, and almost 70% by 2020. Ask your publishing partners what UGC solutions they offer.
  • Leverage out of home advertising. Social Out of Home, (SOOH) is a huge growth sector because campaigns are often deployed in highly visible and high dwell-time areas.

TINT is a content marketing platform allowing brands to humanize brand stories by displaying the best user generated and social media content on their marketing and ad channels. TINT has helped 5,000 brands in 172 countries to tell their brand story through their user generated content.

TINT is a featured company in Y&R’s SparkPlug program, a global innovation incubator that offers free office space, resources and relationships to interesting companies and idea generators with zero equity fees. Companies can focus on building their game changing ideas, technology, and products with the support of our global network spanning 189 offices in 93 countries around the world. In exchange, we invite startups to share new ways to thinking, introduce innovative technologies and forge productive partnerships.