UGC for DTC: everything you need to know about user generated content

Reviews strategy Jul 22, 2021

Have you ever wondered how brands get so many of their customers to post about them online?

You might be thinking, “I’ve got an amazing product that I know my customers love, but why is no one talking about it?”. These posts online are what marketers refer to as UGC (user-generated content) and there’s a reason why some brands collect more than others. It all comes down to brand affinity and strategic marketing tactics.

This guide will tell you all you need to know about UGC – what it is, how to get it, and what to do with it once you have it.

What is UGC?

UGC is any form of text, video, image, or review created by a person rather than a brand. This includes pictures taken by customers and posted on social media, selfies at work, product reviews, Instagram stories, YouTube videos, and even podcasts talking about your brand.

Here are some examples of how brands are using UGC:

Other examples of UGC:

  • Before and after photos
  • Comments on social media
  • Forums
  • Sponsored social media posts
  • Pins of your product on Pinterest
  • Case studies
  • YouTube product haul, product review, and unboxing videos

3 Reasons Why You Need UGC:

So, why do you need UGC? You need UGC because your customers are practically screaming for it. Studies show that over half of all consumers actively look for UGC when discovering new products. More than just giving your customers what they want, UGC helps your brand stand out and get ahead of the pack in the crowded DTC space.

1. Products get discovered by your target audience

When a customer posts about your product online or on social media, this lets you tap into larger audiences. As a bonus, this audience shares the same characteristics as your target market, making them qualified buyers. In general, people are more likely to click on a picture of their friend using a product rather than a staged product photo. In turn, this boosts your product awareness and widens the top of your sales funnel to attract more people interested in your product. UGC shared by your customers extends the reach of your product marketing, broadening your audience and generating more traffic to your store.

2. Drive purchases

So we know that UGC can help drive traffic back to your store. It’s also true that when customers are shopping on your site, UGC plays a big role in whether they will make a purchase or not. A key part of the decision process is finding proof that something works. The majority of the time, this ‘proof’ is your product reviews. 70% of shoppers consider reviews and ratings before making a purchase, and 41% look at 4-7 reviews with photos or videos to help them decide. While product reviews on their own can help get customers to the next base of their shopping journey, photo and video reviews are the home run that gets your customers to checkout. It goes without saying that UGC builds that bridge between a browsing shopper and a paying customer.

3. Strengthen brand authenticity and trust

We’ve all been there before, we order something online and when we get it, it’s not at all what we were expecting. Brands often use heavy studio lighting and staged angles to get that ‘perfect’ shot for the PDP. While this makes the product look great, it can sometimes work against setting realistic expectations for customers. This is why UGC is so important. Pictures of real people using your product in everyday life establishes credibility. This trust plays an important role in whether or not someone will make a purchase since 90 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they engage with.


Getting UGC from your customers

When it comes to collecting UGC from your customers, your approach should always be authentic and provide some degree of value. You can create value by engaging customers on social media, offering rewards in the form of discounts, or even by running giveaways and contests. Sometimes you don’t even need to provide such a tangible incentive at all. The value can simply be your awesome product that gets customers excited enough to post about it online.

Ways to encourage UGC content from customers:

  • Run contests and giveaways on your social media - create a hashtag and ask your audience to post pictures with your product and use the hashtag as a way to enter.
  • Ask questions and use polls to engage your audience - you can feature your followers’ replies on your social media stories and use poll results to generate stats to use in other marketing materials.
  • Have nice packaging - it’s all about the product experience, packaging included! Pictures of visually pleasing and thoughtfully designed products get circulated online and are a major trend on social media.
  • Put your UGC on display - use Instagram’s highlight reels or create a section on your website showcasing customers with your product. This entices other customers to post with your product in hopes of getting featured by your brand.
  • Social sharing - make it easy for customers to share their reviews on social media. To do this, use embedded social sharing buttons on your review forms or within your review request emails. (Tip: Junip’s review forms have this built-in!)
  • Product reviews - asking for product reviews is a great way to start collecting UGC. Use post-purchase review requests to automate this process and get more reviews from your customers.
  • Reward them - reward customers for posting about your brand. An easy way to do this is by offering discounts to customers who leave reviews with photo and video content.

Creating a UGC content strategy:

Now that you’re on your way to building your UGC collection, let’s talk about all the ways you can put it to good use!

  • Instagram - use posts you’ve been tagged in or posts using your hashtag and share them on your feed or highlights section. Using media content from your reviews section is another clever way to generate more visual content for Instagram.
  • Website - showcase your media reviews at the top of your on-site review section. (Tip: Junip’s media gallery feature does this for you!). Choose some of your favorite customer photos and feature them as a section on your website.
  • Twitter - engage your audience by asking relevant questions and using this platform as a way for followers to enter your contests and giveaways. Re-tweeting and replying to tweets about your product is another way to create social proof on your feed.
  • Pinterest - post your best visual content pieces on Pinterest and include shopping links back to your website. Using customer photos in paid ads on Pinterest is another great way to reach new audiences.

Starting from scratch?

Building out your UGC library can take some time. Luckily, if your brand has an online presence, there’s probably some UGC worth using out there already - you just have to find it!

  1. Look through your existing customer reviews and pick out the ones that best describe your product. Reviews with high-quality media attachments are a bonus!
  2. Scroll through your tagged photos and mentions on Instagram and Twitter. Save any posts that talk about your brand in a positive light or have high-quality photos.
  3. Do a simple Google search. There could be blog posts that mention your brand or even threads about your product on Reddit.
  4. Do a deep dive on YouTube. It’s possible your product was featured in some creators’ Haul, unboxing, or product favourites video.

No more sitting on the sidelines wondering how other brands are getting so much attention online from their customers. Now it's your turn. Take advantage of these simple strategies and start building up your arsenal of UGC.

Tip: beefing up your review section with media content is a good way to start. It's a clever tactic to get more UGC & will create buzz for your brand


If you’re looking for an affordable app to help you do this, Junip's media tools are the perfect solution.

We’ve built features specifically to help you leverage and gather more photo & video reviews!

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.