How can brands stay up to date with user generated content?

By Courtney Busick

Brands are constantly changing. They need to stay up to date on how an audience interacts with them on social media. Many companies are finding users who share their content through stories or posts shows more engagement and interaction than counting likes and comments. How can brands engage their audience? By understanding their human values and what makes them want to share user-generated content with others.

What is user generated content? User-generated content (UGC) is completely created by the user. Many brands are using this by asking users on social media questions about their products. More and more brands are finding that they can get free marketing from social media users with UGC’s. Whether it’s Lays asking for new chip flavors or Coke sharing the hashtag #shareacoke, brands can get reviews from user who share their content on platforms.

Sometimes it can be hard for a brand to navigate UGC’s so here are some tips I love from other marketers that can help you engage with user-generated content.

(Photo Pi Datametrics,

Connect Human values to your Products

Understanding a user is understanding what they value. Brands must look at human values and use those to generate content that users enjoy. “Human values are guiding principles reflecting style goals in life that may impact how individuals judge situations and events” (Nikolinakou 14). Meaning that human values are what drives our decisions. It affects consumer behavior towards certain products. It can also affect what we purchase. There are four levels of human values described by the article a brand should understand. Self- Transcendence (audiences’ stances on political or social issues), Conservation (audience’s desire to maintain security and stability), openness to change (what motivates users to change their opinions about products/services), and Self enhancement (user’s need to achieve success, wealth or influence) (Nikolinakou 14).

Target actually used this in their “Acceptance” campaign. In 2010, Target pledged to donate $500 million to student’s education and they would double that for the best college acceptance video form their audience. So people sent in videos of them opening their college letters (Siu 2015). This allowed for the brand to connect with the brand personally and have fun showing of their authentic emotions. They touched on self-transcendence and conservation of their audience by showing what they value and how they are going to engage their loyal customers.

(Photo from Contently,

In IMC, we should always be focused on the values of the consumer. This can also be seen through looking at a specific target audience. This is from their demographic to their psychographics and behaviors. What are the values and behaviors of my audience and how can I engage them in user content? For user generated content, you not only want to look at your brand target audience, but the population that is most likely to share you content through reviews or promotions.

Reach out to audiences with specific human values to share content or promote a brand

Human values drive consumer decisions. The primary and most popular values is conservation values. Consumers are constantly looking for trust and safety from their brand (Nikolinakou 15). By brands reaching out to the customers for promotions it makes them feel in charge and in control of the brands they love and their purposes.

An example of this is social media management company Buffer. Instead of creating captions and content on their own, they encouraged their users to engage in their blog and submit their own content. They get the chance to be featured on their account. They post their own content to make you feel a part of their content process. Buffer also makes sure to be quick in responding to comments and dm’s on their pages. It allows for them to be authentic and true to their followers.

In IMC, brand loyalty is so important. If a consumer picks our brand, we know we have to think of how we can meet their needs and that they want to stay with us. You cannot have customers without brand loyalty. As a customer to certain brand, I want to feel like the brand cares about me and what I value. I like to find brands that are consistent and authentic with what they do. People are influenced by others around them, so it creates a strong community of people who love and will continue to purchase from your brand.

So what makes it easy for brands to use user generated content? Connection and understanding. In order for brands to immerse themselves into user generated content they must understand their clientele and who is loyal to their brand. They must observe human values and understand what human values they should reach in order to find quality brand users.


Nikolinakou, A. (2019) “Do human values matter for promoting brands on social media? How social media users’ values influence valuable brand‐related activities such as sharing, content creation, and reviews” Journal of Consumer Behavior. 14-22

Siu, E. (2021, April 15). 10 user generated content campaigns that actually worked. HubSpot Blog. Retrieved February 25, 2022, from