User-generated content (UGC) can be a content creator’s best friend. Sharing UGC can help to build strong relationships with your followers, provide great branded imagery and enhance your brand’s Instagram presence.

UGC can be used on most any platform when providing the right credit to the user, but for this blog, we’ll just be focusing on using UGC on Instagram. Let’s get into it.

What You Need to Know About User-Generated Content

If you want to know how to incorporate UGC into your social strategy, you need to know what kind of content qualifies as user-generated. Sprout Social sums it up nicely with, “User-generated content refers to unpaid or unsponsored social posts that people across every network share when they’re using or raving about a product or service. When your friend posts a Tweet about a fantastic experience they had with a hotel they stayed at, that’s UGC. When your favorite brand reposts Instagram Stories from customers at an event they hosted, that’s UGC. When someone shares a video on TikTok about finding the best lipstick they’ve ever used, that’s UGC.”

Visitors and customers that have a great experience in your shop, at your location, with your product, or on your website are more likely to let their followers know by sharing their own experience on social media.

The Power of UGC

A new survey performed by Stackla reports on the post-pandemic shifts in consumer shopping habits, looking at authenticity, personalization, and the power of UGC. They stated, “Not only are pandemic shopping and social trends here to stay, but they are also making real and relevant content—like user-generated content (UGC)—more important than ever for brands to leverage.”

Also as part of the data report from Stackla, “79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while a mere 9% said influencer content impacts their purchases.”

UGC adds a level of valuable authenticity that your brand can’t purchase through traditional advertising. 

While utilizing UGC as part of your posting strategy isn’t necessarily a new concept, it is one that can now be used in so many different ways on Instagram and Instagram Stories with the help of new features. 

UGC and Branded Content

A great approach to curating Instagram content is incorporating brand-related UGC while also posting original branded photography. Blending the two will help create a relatable, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed.

Scheduling and planning your content in advance will help you map out the best way to incorporate these posts into your feed. Create a posting plan and stick to it.

Vetting User-Generated Content for Brand Use

Depending on the size of your brand, the amount and types of UGC may vary. There might be endless UGC to choose from but choose carefully when incorporating it into your content.

While Instagram posts don’t have to be perfect, there is something to say about a great photo with good lighting that features your product or brand.

Remember, not all UGC has to go on your feed! Some lower-quality images might be a great fit for your brand’s Instagram Stories. With the Add Post to Story feature, a user’s feed photo can be shared directly to your IG Story. If a user tags you in an IG Story, click Add This To Your Story for it to be added directly to your own IG Stories. 

Create a Branded Hashtag

If your brand has a location that people can tag when posting on Instagram, you might likely already have some great UGC to work with. But creating a branded hashtag for your business is another way to encourage users to share their content with you.

Apple’s branded hashtag is a great example of this user-brand relationship. With their #ShotoniPhone shared in their Instagram bio, more than 22.3 million users have used that hashtag in their content. 

A brand can usually never go wrong with using the business name as the branded hashtag as long as it is unique to the business. If there are other brands out there with similar names and products as yours, consider going with something on-brand but different from your business name, like Apple’s hashtag. 

Providing Credit

Give credit where credit is due. Instagram scheduling tool, Later put it best, “you need to make sure you’re honoring the creator’s work and not ‘stealing’ content for your own marketing purposes.”

Always credit the creator very visibly, in the caption of the Instagram post that you are sharing on your own account. When in doubt, you can always comment on the user’s original post or send the user a personalized DM regarding the image you would like to share and credit to make sure they are comfortable with you sharing their material.

Learn from the Pros

Are you scrolling through pages and pages of UGC that could be used for your brand but you just aren’t sure how to properly implement the content into your social strategy? That’s what we are here for.

The social media managers at TargetMarket love working with brands to create content that is right for them, including user-generated content and branded photography with on-brand captions. Get in touch with us to see how we can help your brand’s digital presence.

Previous Blog
Next Blog

Agency Insights + Perspectives

Sign up to receive the latest agency perspectives,
cultural insights and inspiration.