Top 5 user-generated content tools of 2020

User-generated content tools (UGC) are highly effective for combatting stale and ineffective content. But, collecting and sharing user-generated content is only half the battle. Good user-generated content tools help you collect and publish UGC, all in one platform. Once you have a library of high-quality UGC, you need to be able to leverage it to drive engagement and conversions. UGC is 35% more memorable and 50% more trusted than other media, especially when it comes to marketing towards millennials. It helps drive click-through rates and higher web conversions. It’s also extremely versatile and almost infinitely reusable. The idea of using user-generated content from your brand’s community goes beyond just re-sharing social posts from fans and followers on your social profiles.  

UGC can be used across different channels and platforms, from contests to shoppable social media galleries to visual product reviews. Putting user-generated content to work can seem like a big undertaking — and it is. But, with the right user-generated content tools in your arsenal, you can get the most value from your UGC. These are the top 5 user-generated content tools to help you do more with unique content in 2020!

1. Shoppable Instagram

Instagram is a powerful platform to help marketers foster engagement and brand affinity, but there wasn’t an easy way to monetize the channel. And while some brands have utilized the native shopping feature,  it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of user experience and customer lifetime value. Successful brands have opted to use Shoppable Instagram features on their website, that incorporate user-generated content can be used to directly drive sales. A shoppable Instagram gallery on your website allows customers to "shop the look" or see the product in a natural state.

revel nail

Revel Nail collects social content from their Instagram to make it shoppable on their website.

Social galleries attract customers off of Instagram and onto your website,  bringing them further into your brand. Even more, this content can then be used across other channels to engage and convert customers in an authentic and engaging way.

2. Inspiration galleries

Once you have a library of user-generated content, the possibilities for using it go beyond sharing on social media or using it in ad campaigns. Creating a shoppable gallery of real customer photos on your website is an incredibly effective way to showcase your product. Publishing UGC on your site creates a more authentic shopping experience for your customers and encourages them to spend more time on the site. Shoppable galleries serve as a diverse, virtual lookbook and provide social proof for your products. 92% of customers trust earned media (like UGC) more than any other form of content. Shoppers can see a wider variety of people and find other customers that they identify with. Recommendations from peers are a powerful source of social proof, which UGC galleries provide.

kirkland's kitchen

Kirkland's engages its consumers beyond traditional UGC with their Kirkland's Kitchen inspiration gallery, which inspires the community to share pictures of their meals and homes to inspire each other during social distancing.

Inspiration galleries of customer photos help shoppers visualize themselves interacting with your products and give them inspiration on how to wear or use your products.

3. Social photo contests

One of the best user-generated content tools for generating more content from your followers is through contests and campaigns. Hosting a contest encouraging followers to share photos or videos of themselves using or interacting with your products can help increase brand awareness and boost engagement. Directing omnichannel campaigns helps engage customers, and the resulting content can be used for future campaigns and projects.To make a contest more effective, you need to be able to collect and permission content at scale and measure results. Using specific campaign hashtags makes it easy to collect all the UGC associated with the campaign.

With social media contest tools, you can automatically collect tagged posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so you never miss any great user-generated content. You can also moderate and approve content in one place before posting it to your site or gallery. Partnering with a platform makes it easy to measure the results of your user-generated content contest.

Yakima UGC

Yakima rewards their customers for sharing content by partnering with other meaningful brands for contests and giveaways.

4. Direct uploader

The best user-generated content tools span well beyond social media. Social media is one of the primary sources for UGC, but it’s not the only way you can capture original user-generated content. If you want a tool that will streamline content sharing, try using a direct uploader. A direct uploader lets customers share content directly with your brand without needing to upload it to their social profile. There are a few different ways to use a direct uploader tool:

  • Source user-generated content online by embedding it on your site.

  • Add the upload link to your live chat to get photos from site visitors.

  • Create a dedicated landing page for contests or targeted campaigns to capture UGC.


HYLETE uses a direct uploader to collect their content and then connect those with their ratings & reviews.

Good user-generated content uploaders that let customers submit user-generated content from their mobile device, desktop, or social media profiles. Customers can directly submit their photos for visual reviews and shoppable galleries or submit text reviews and testimonials for products.

5. Influencer marketing

High-quality user-generated content and influencer marketing go hand in hand. Influencers are constantly creating original, high-performing content for their followers. By partnering with successful influencers, brands can generate more authentic content, expand their audience, and engage with more customers. 51% of marketers believe influencer marketing gives them better customers since influencers are highly trusted by their audience. Sourcing and managing influencers are key steps to running effective influencer marketing campaigns, which can be a time-consuming process. Influencer marketing platforms can streamline working with influencers from end to end. These platforms help connect you with brand advocates that are a fit for your company’s values and style. In addition to finding the right influencers, you can manage your campaigns from start to finish and track results.  

Focusing solely on influencer marketing may seem expensive and daunting, so coupling some influencer campaigns with other UGC from your brand’s community may be a more well-rounded and efficient marketing solution

Tarte UGC

Tarte showcases influencer content alongside UGC to create an inclusive and diverse brand experience.

While each of these user-generated content tools are great on their own, sourcing, collecting, and curating user-generated can seem overwhelming. But, by leveraging the right UGC and influencer marketing platform, you can save time and get the most value from your user-generated content. Because of its authenticity and flexibility, UGC is a great investment for building your brand, whether that be through inspiration galleries, influencer marketing, or shoppable Instagrams. Marketers, start harnessing influence through the most scalable and strongest tool available right in your community: user-generated content.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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