Elevate Your Local Social Presence: The Power of User-Generated Content

Shannon Heath

In the dynamic world of marketing, social media has emerged as the beating heart of brand-consumer engagement. With over half of all brand discoveries starting on social platforms, maintaining and enhancing your social presence is more crucial than ever. Engaging your local market with content that resonates is key, so how can marketing leaders streamline the process and ensure a return that justifies the time and resources invested?

The New Social Currency

Modern consumers don’t just shop for products or services—they seek experiences and connections. Social media is now the vibrant arena where brands can shape these experiences, with user-generated content serving as the driving force.

Social media, once a scrolling novelty, has become the new frontier for product discovery and brand interaction. With 57% of online brand discovery occurring on social media, it’s clear that this is no longer an auxiliary channel—it’s a main event. This shift demands a rethink of our social strategies, shifting from broadcast to engagement, and from corporate speak to authentic user interaction.

However, the conversation in the digital public square belongs less to brands and more to communities of users sharing a common interest or experience. How can a brand enter this dialogue, adding value and relevance without being obtrusive? How can the channel that 71% of consumers use to recommend brands following a positive experience become fertile ground for sustained and meaningful brand interaction?

The Power of User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is the social currency that fuels these digital interactions, and it comes in many forms: posts, reviews, comments, shares, likes, and more. When mixed into a brand’s feed, UGC transforms it into a hub of community activity and genuine, unsolicited feedback.

It also has a remarkable impact on engagement rates, elevating them by an impressive 28%, and paves the way for improved brand sentiment when you create more meaningful, memorable connections. Moreover, the cyclical nature of UGC reinforces the narrative, with each user contributing a unique angle that further enriches the brand story. This collaboration with customers, turning them into co-creators, not only enhances a brand’s genuine appeal but also its recall.

Hyper-localization of user-generated content is especially potent, as it provides an authenticity that resonates at a community level. It’s not just about seeing one’s content shared, but about being part of the collective story that a brand weaves.

A Roadmap to Success

Meet your customers where they are. It’s the cardinal rule of marketing, yet it can be deceptively easy. With so many digital channels, how do you find them? And once you do, how do you get them to take notice…and keep noticing?     

User-generated content. It’s a direct line to your customers; more importantly, it’s a direct line to understanding what they want, what they need and what they find compelling. Effectively leveraging user-generated content requires an integrated approach that aligns your marketing efforts with your customers’ digital journey. 

Social Publishing

Use social platforms as a stage to tell your brand’s story through the eyes of your local customers. By sharing and celebrating what your community creates, you underline the brand’s commitment to them, fostering loyalty and advocacy.


A robust reputation management system can turn occasional reviewers into regular contributors to your brand’s story. Highlighting and thanking reviewers publicly amplifies their voice and encourages further engagement.

Business Listings

Make it easy for customers to find and share their experiences with your brand by ensuring an accurate and compelling presence across online directories, review sites and social platforms.


Gather customer insights beyond the social feed. Surveys are a direct line to your customer’s preferences and attitudes, providing valuable UGC insights that can inform brand direction and content.

Community Management

Cultivate a dedicated online space (Facebook Groups, brand hashtags, etc.) that encourages UGC. Recognition and collaboration will ensure your most loyal customers feel appreciated and empowered.

Social Listening & Engagement

Engage proactively with your customers’ feedback and incorporate their sentiment into your broader social plan. Listen to understand, and then engage meaningfully. Brands can turn even a disgruntled customer’s story into an opportunity for resolution and positive brand narrative.

Consumers find user-generated content nearly 10x more impactful than “traditional content” when making a purchase decision.

Source: Search Logistics

User-generated content results in 29% higher conversion rates than campaigns that don’t use it.

Source: Search Logistics

Social Proof

The advantages of user-generated content extend far beyond steady social post ideas and increased engagements. Savvy marketers are embracing UGC as a catalyst for driving key metrics such as review volume, response rates, listings views and brand sentiment scores.    

Consider the success stories of EmpRes Healthcare and Chestnut. Both are leading companies in their respective industries, actively seeking ways to effectively manage and enhance customer feedback. By partnering with Reputation, they were able to consolidate various channels, adopting a more comprehensive approach to their reputation management:

EmpRes logo

EmpRes Healthcare

  • 26% increase in listings views
  • 49% increase in engagements 
  • 40% increase in staff sentiment 
  • 12 centers received Great Place to Work certification
Chestnut logo


  • 2.89m increase in social media reach
  • 93% review response rate
  • 1300% increase in business listings views
  • 74% more customer feedback
  • 47-point increase in Reputation Score

Both EmpRes and Chestnut recognized the inherent value of user-generated content within every review, survey response, or social comment. They leveraged this content to validate their marketing efforts and inform their business strategies. Since leaning in on UGC, these companies have seen a significant boost in business listings views, social engagements and staff sentiment. Moreover, they’re using it to fuel improvements in company culture. EmpRes and Chestnut are now able to connect their marketing efforts with overall business objectives, while showcasing social proof of delivering on their brand promise.

A Bright Future

As we embrace a more digitized world, the relationship between reputation management and social media will only deepen. Unified tools like Reputation’s platform provide an agile, comprehensive solution for the modern marketer. They put the focus firmly on building meaningful connections with customers through user stories, ensuring that the brand stands out not just as a business, but as a community member engaged in genuine conversation and feedback.

For marketing directors, managers, and practitioners tasked with elevating brand reputation and driving local engagement, the message is clear. The challenge of the social digital sphere can become an opportunity for brand growth and community building. It is through the authentic experiences shared by users that brands can not only enhance their reputation but also forge a lasting connection that transcends the digital divide.

With the right tools, the transformative power of UGC in social marketing is within reach, ushering in a new era where every interaction online is a testament to your brand’s narrative, jointly crafted by you and your customers. Embrace the future of reputation and social marketing, and watch your brand soar to new heights in the vast digital expanse. 

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