How To Use Customer-Generated Content To Market And Grow Your Local Business

Did you know that customer-generated images and videos are 5 times more likely to convert than your branded content?


It’s true. 


A recent study conducted by Flowbox showed that “UGC photos are 5X more likely to convert compared to Professional Content (PC). On top of this, according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83 percent of consumers value peer recommendations and reviews above PC [professional, brand content].” ~Flowbox 


I have spoken about the power of sharing customer reviews and posts about your products or services before – leveraging User-Generated Content or UGC – to demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EEAT) and grow your business. 


BUT . . .


I thought I’d take the time to break it down in an actionable article that you can refer to over and over and follow step-by-step. So let’s get started!


5 Easy Ways To Use Customer-Generated Content To Grow Your Local Business


This article will cover


What Is UGC?


5 Powerful Types Of Customer-Generated Content And How To Use Them For Maximum Results [With Examples]


How To Encourage Customers To Create Content And Share It [With Examples You Can Swipe]


What Is Customer Or User-Generated Content (UGC)?


User Generated Content is the 21st Century version of word-of-mouth marketing which has been proven to influence 50% of all purchasing decisions


User or customer-generated content is anything your customer posts and shares about your products or services. It can be anything from a picture of them before and after you’ve provided them with a service or product, a story or video post, or a review to influencer marketing and branded images or videos you create with them and share. 


The most impactful UGC for 5Xing your conversions is the impromptu and unsolicited content your customers share with friends and followers. 


We also found that branded customer images and videos, which can be as simple as a picture of them holding a branded banner or poster or standing with your staff smiling from ear to ear, have been highly effective for building trust and authority for local businesses. 


But how do you get them to share it with you? 


I’ll get to that, so stay with me here. 


5 Powerful Types Of Customer-Generated Content And How To Use Them For Maximum Results [With Examples]


1.  Before And After Images Or Videos

before and after image

One of the simplest and most impactful ways to provide value and demonstrate your expertise and experience is to take before and after images when you give a service or results gained from using your products. 

When seeing what a company can do for you and the benefits of using your products or services, your trust level goes through the roof, right? So why not provide that valuable information for your ideal customers? 

Every time you provide a service or product, take photos or videos of the customer or location before you start working. Do the same after the project is complete. 

If you provide a product, ask customers to take photos before and after using it and share them with you. Encourage them to share it on social media and tag you. 

PRO TIP: Take pictures or videos of your team providing the service. People like to see how you work and that YOU are the ones providing the service. Seeing your team happy and hard at work convinces potential customers you can take care of their needs. It boils down to that trust factor. 


2.  Customer Reviews On Google

Google Reviews

Positive customer reviews on Google are vital to ranking well and getting onto that first page for any business. 


92% of people read online reviews and testimonials, and 88% of customers say those reviews influenced their purchasing decision. 


Having customers share their experiences and giving 5-star reviews are powerful social proof for local businesses, so get as many as you can and respond to them with what you did and where you did it. 


Why respond to Google reviews with who you are, what you did, and where? 


Google crawlers need to know who you are, what you do, and where you do it so they can include your business when providing results for people in your area searching for the services or products you offer. 


You can read more about how to get more Google 5-star reviews here


Not all customer reviews will be glowing. Responding to negative reviews is just as important as responding to positive ones, if not more. A recent survey found that 89% of customers are more likely to use a business that responds to ALL their reviews. 


For tips on responding to negative reviews, check out this article from Google: How to reply to both positive and negative reviews.


3.  Customer Testimonial Videos


Video courtesy of  Gill Construction Solutions LLC


With video becoming the most powerful marketing tool out there, it’s no surprise that customer testimonial videos hit #3 on this list. 


No matter what social medial platform or search engine you’re on, the top results are ALWAYS videos. 


While customer reviews on Google, Bing, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and industry-specific rating platforms are critical for garnering authority and trust, customer video testimonials get more engagement from potential customers. 


Think about it. Which would mean more and have more weight for you when choosing to buy a product or service – a quick 5-star customer review or a customer taking the time to share their experience on video and post it? 


Testimonials and reviews are essential for building EEAT; customer testimonial videos (solicited or unsolicited) impact buying decisions more than reviews. 


“2 out of 3 people say they’re more likely to purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product or service helped someone like them.” – Wyzowl


4. Branded Customer Images

Brander Customer Image

Boss Exteriors was the first company I saw using branded customer images to market its services. 


Boss Exteriors is a local exterior remodeling company serving the Portland, Oregon, area. They leverage the power of energetic branded customer and team images to connect with their customers and target market on a very personal level. The positive energy and happiness that shines through convince potential customers that their team is friendly, approachable, and trustworthy. 


Now, I know that their branded UGC is very polished and produced, but yours doesn’t have to be, and you will still get exceptional results. 


Boss Exteriors also posts impromptu customer images while on the job to capture the customer’s happiness with the results of their service.

Boss Exteriors

Image courtesy of Boss Exteriors



We have encouraged and helped our clients leverage branded customer content by taking pictures of customers and their team holding a branded banner and sharing them on Google, social media, and their websites. Posting and sharing branded customer and team content will generate crazy engagement, increasing your ranking and visibility for minimal cost. You can see some examples to inspire you below. 

Gill Construction Solutions LLC

Woman Holding Gill Construction

Images Courtesy of Gill Construction Solutions LLC



the community chest junk removal

Image of a team member holding a branded sign. Image courtesy of The Community Chests Junk Removal.


TCC Junk Removal

Happy junk removal customer with a team member by branded vehicle. Image courtesy of TCC Junk Removal. 


As you can see, creating branded customer content can be as simple as taking before and after images or taking a snapshot with a happy customer beside your branded vehicle, or holding a sign after providing a service and sharing it on social media, Google, and your website. 


No heavy editing required! 


If you need help designing a banner or poster or creating a branded template to share customer-generated content, we have a design team who can help. 



5. Interview-Style Videos Where Customers Share Their Experience With You

Interview-Style Videos

One of our clients, Gill Construction Solutions, began meeting with customers and interviewing them about their experiences. 


Annie meets with a client and asks them how they found them, why they needed their services, their experience, and what they think the company could do better. They record and share these video interviews on their website and social media


While this method of obtaining and sharing UGC requires more time commitment than others, it is well worth it. It generates exponentially higher engagement than any other content you share and hits all the EEAT elements Google and other search engines look for. 


To learn more about how you can create and use customer testimonial videos to 5X your conversions, check out our website and follow us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram


Need help getting started?


If you need help getting started, call or reach out to us on Facebook


How To Encourage Customers To Create Content And Share It [With Examples You Can Swipe]


You can encourage your customers and team members to create content and share it on social media (and with you) by designing it yourself or asking them directly. However, leaving customers to write reviews and create testimonials doesn’t always translate into valuable content you can share to demonstrate your expertise and trustworthiness or market your products or services well. 


1. Ask Customers To Create And Share UGC Directly


The easiest way to get user-generated content is to ask your customers. Don’t forget to include your branding!! If you are a service-based business, ask to take photos and videos of your team and customers while working on a project and once the project is completed.


If you sell products, you can ask customers to share their experience and before and after photos or videos with you as part of your request for feedback. 


Here is a sample email (or message) you can send customers to encourage feedback: 


Hey, {firstname}


[Your name] here. Thank you for your recent purchase and for allowing us to serve you. 


We would love to hear about your experience with our {product/service}. Hearing from you helps us grow and ensure we provide you with the products/services you need. Please, reply to this email with images, videos, and feedback. 


We would appreciate it if you could leave us a review on Google[link this text to your Google Business Listing]. 


Thank you again for allowing us to serve you. 


Your Name

Business Name


Don’t forget to use your branded email template and include your social accounts, website address, and email address in the footer of the email. 


If asking for customer reviews leaves a bad taste in your mouth, here are more creative ways to encourage people to share their experiences meaningfully. 


2. Create A Contest Or Give-Away To Encourage User-Generated Content


Creating contests and promotions on Facebook and other social media channels is a very effective way to encourage customers to provide UGC. When you create a contest or promotion, you can set clear parameters and instructions that guarantee you will get the type of customer-generated content you want. 


For example, you could give gift cards from local businesses randomly selected from customers who posted images or videos using your products or before and after receiving one of your services, with feedback using your branded hashtag and tagging your business. 


You can also run a contest where you encourage customers to catch your team working or have them turn the camera on your team, sharing what they love about being a part of your business. 


Suppose you are a home services company, such as a junk removal company, general contractor, plumber, or roofing contractor. In that case, you could run a contest where you have people share images and videos of their junk, tattered roof, backyard, kitchen, etc., and why they should win, and the best (worst) one wins a $100 discount or the like to fix it. 


Then you post the winners before and after and their testimonials once the project is completed. 


What’s so great about this kind of content generation is that it is timely, authentic, improvised, versus scripted professional content, is that you don’t have to do anything yourself. 


3. Create User-Generated Content Yourself


To guarantee you get the type of UGC you want and need to promote your business, work with your customers and team to create the content yourself. 


Before you leave, ask customers to hold your branded signage and take a happy customer photo (alone or with a team member). 


If you believe a customer would be excellent for a testimonial video, ask them and either record the video on the spot or arrange a time to come back. To get a testimonial that would be valuable to potential customers, either ask those questions and record their responses or provide a list of things to cover because they are things other people want to know. Prompt customers to include to following information in their reviews and testimonials.


  • Location (town or city and state/province) 

To respect their privacy, only include their address if they are a brick-and-mortar business. 


  • The problem that led them to contact your company
  • The service (or product) they received
  • Why they chose you
  • Their experience
  • Why would they recommend your business to others?


Have Your Team Post Images On Their Socials 


Your team can join the fun by posting images of each other on the job and sharing what they do, what they love about working for your company, and even candid moments. 


Encourage your team to share images and videos of what they do and instruct them to use your branded hashtags and tag your business in the posts. 


Ask them to send or share those images and videos with you so that you can brand and share them with your followers and subscribers. 




Regardless of how you do it or what kinds of customer-generated content you decide to create and promote, the key takeaway here is that UGC is the most impactful marketing strategy you can implement to grow your business. 


As much as people want to know who you are, what you do, and where you do it, they want to hear from people like them who chose to buy what you’re selling.  



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