5 User-Generated Content Mistakes to Avoid

Joanna Alter
Joanna Alter





When done right, user-generated content (UGC) boosts a company’s visibility, traffic and sales. There are some great examples of user-generated content that impressed us all. We can learn from their beautiful displays, creative engagement strategies, and scalable results.

But to really reap the ecommerce branding benefits of user-generated content, there are some key mistakes you need to avoid. Here are the five biggest mistakes to steer clear of to maximize the positive impact of your UGC strategy.

1) Publishing Without Permission

Make rights management a priority to be sure that you are only publishing approved content. While user-generated content is voluntarily created and can be voluntarily submitted, you should avoid misunderstandings and breaches of trust by clearly obtaining customer consent.

You can do this by ensuring that you detail both contribution and distribution rights in your terms and conditions, and by understanding the terms and conditions of social networks you use as well.

Be sure to ask for user permission during uploads, and make it clear that content created and shared on social media as part of a given UGC campaign or with a particular hashtag may be repurposed in other marketing channels.

Contributors are likely to be excited about the possibility of being featured by your brand and be reassured by your clear communication.

2) One-Time UGC Use

Customer content like user-generated photos, reviews, and Q&A should get much more than just a moment in the spotlight. Repurposing your UGC across marketing channels can make a little content go a long way.

Whether you're just starting to collect customer reviews and pictures, or you’re a well known brand name with lots of UGC coming in, repurposing your content allows you to extract tons of value from each contribution.

To extend the shelf life of great customer content, you can compile the contributions that drove the most engagement, and use them for future campaigns. Additionally, you can use the same contributions to increase click-through rates for social ads on Facebook and Instagram.

3) Misrepresenting Your Community

One of the most impactful aspects of user-generated content is its relatability. It allows shoppers to see relevant information provided by the most relatable and reliable source — your past buyers.

The shared interests and pain points between shoppers and past buyers builds confidence in your brand and can influence potential customers at every touch point.

Be sure to include an assortment of photos, reviews, and Q&A exchanges to show the diversity and breadth of your brand community. This will attract potential customers and inspire them with varying uses and applications for your products.

For example, one person may use your product as a scarf, while another uses it as a beach blanket, and yet another uses it as a table runner. If you are selling apparel and accessories, comfort and fit will vary by customer.

It is in both your interest and the shopper’s interest that they know as much as possible about your product when making their purchase decision.

Showing reviews that detail customer experiences, even if they are negative reviews, positively influences purchase decisions and adds transparency and trust to your brand image.

4) Letting Conversations Fade

Customer engagement fuels user-generated content and user-generated content fuels customer engagement! Keep the momentum going and encourage further activity by staying on top of UGC contributions.

Pay attention to brand mentions and related hashtags so that you can like, comment, and share user-generated photos and statuses from your enthusiastic customers. Staying on top of brand mentions also helps you be sure to answer customer questions promptly and authentically.

Genuine communication between your store and your customers strengthens the relationship and increases brand loyalty.

5) Straying From Your Customer Base

Creativity is an essential part of UGC’s appeal, both for the brand and for its community. But above all, successful campaigns need to relate to your brand identity and effectively attract the attention and participation of your customers.

If a UGC campaign is not in line with your brand story, customers will not relate and will not participate. It is all about asking for the right content in the right way.

The best customer content marketing campaigns excite your followers and encourage individuality. Effective ways to facilitate these campaigns run the gamut, depending on how your audience connects to your brand, what your company makes, and your brand identity.

Whether it is interior design, fifteen minutes of fame, or making donations — think of what makes people love your product and orchestrate a campaign around that passion.


User-generated content can be a huge catalyst for growth when effectively executed. Avoid these five missteps to keep the content coming and your community growing. 

Amplify your retention and acquisition strategies with the power of user-generated content.

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