How To Use User-Generated Content on Instagram

The ultimate guide on creating user-generated content on Instagram to boost your brand’s reach, engagement and authenticity.

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You may have heard marketers talking about the power of user-generated content on Instagram. But it might be hard to know the difference between this type of UGC content and the content that your social media team is creating.

Today, it’s challenging to find someone who doesn’t regularly upload photos to Instagram, scroll through their friends’ stories, or comment on their favorite celebrity’s accounts.

In fact, by 2023, Instagram is expected to reach 127.2 million monthly active users in the United States alone. It’s a figure that is already a significant increase from the 114.6 million users they had amassed in 2020.

The rise of photo-sharing platforms like Instagram shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. They’ve become a valuable tool for marketers and brands across the world to use to their advantage. 

Brands now rely on Instagram as a profitable, continuous and effective marketing program. They’re also using it to share user-generated content and create social media engagement for their products and services.

Keep reading to learn more about user-generated content on Instagram and how you can make the most of it for your brand.

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What Is User-Generated Content on Social Media?

If you’re wondering, “What is UGC?” user-generated content (also known as UGC marketing) is a term that refers to any content created by consumers and posted on social media.

This content can come in the form of photos, images, reels, reviews or testimonials. Customers share their thoughts on a product or service and influence other customers to make a purchase, too. Good examples of popular UGC platforms are Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Think of content created by the average customer, like unboxings, hauls, or a picture of a product in use on someone’s Instagram page. It could also be employee-generated content made by the people who work for your company and are followed by your target audience.

Unlike paid marketing campaigns, where brands pay influencers or celebrities to post photos about their products and services, UGC marketing campaigns provide a much more authentic and natural feel.

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Why Is User-Generated Content Important for Brands?

More brands are starting to focus on garnering a large amount of user-generated content that they can then reshare on their own social media channels. This content is free for the brand to use in most cases. It’s also much more impactful on customers viewing the content online. And sports properties love promoting UGC campaigns for their corporate partners and sponsors because of the high engagement and results they deliver.

The main reason why UGC content is so important is that consumers trust content created without any financial incentive. It simply seems more authentic. According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of the 28,000 respondents said they trusted user-generated content above all other forms of advertising.

When recommendations of products come from friends, family, or just influencers on social media who haven’t been paid to share their opinion, it creates a much more influential and trustworthy post.

For example, suppose you were to see an influencer talking about how much they loved a product sent to them for free as part of a campaign where they were getting paid per post. Would you trust this person more than another customer raving about the product despite getting no monetary compensation? Probably not.

Social media tools are making it easy for brands to stand out. But they’re also competing against hundreds of other brands trying to grab the users’ attention. So it’s important that brands focus on marketing techniques that can guarantee sales — which a user-generated content campaign can provide.

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Here’s How To Boost Engagement on Instagram

The key to creating brand loyalty is fostering an engaged community of current and potential customers interested in what you have to say and the product or service you are selling.

There are many ways you can boost engagement on your social media platforms, such as:

  • Spending time to post compelling stories
  • Using the Instagram ‘Add Yours’ Stickers
  • Responding to direct messages from customers 
  • Displaying relevant content from customers
  • Interacting with similar Instagram accounts
  • Employing a valuable UGC strategy

Asking your customers questions in your posts, using polls in your Instagram stories, or holding giveaways on your page are all ways to boost your own content. But if you want to bring your engagement and marketing efforts to the next level, take advantage of user generated content.

User generated content ideas

Why Use User Generated Content on Instagram?

Using user-generated content should be a go-to marketing strategy for any brand hoping to improve its Instagram marketing. It’s free content and typically comes across as a lot more authentic and reliable than big, flashy marketing campaigns.

You can spend hours trying to take the perfect Instagram photos in a studio with professional photographers. But sometimes this content does not appeal to potential customers. A picture that a customer posts of them using your product can come across as much more genuine and influential.

Ways To Get an Instagram Boost With User-Generated Content

You may post content for Instagram accounts and have a team of social media marketers create content for you. But this doesn’t always mean you’ll get thousands of likes, comments and followers on your page.

Successful content doesn’t always mean paying for social ads, investing in professional photoshoots or trying to get more users for your service by posting frequently. Consider a solid Instagram strategy to boost engagement.

User-generated content can lift your Instagram account as it increases the number of mentions and branded hashtags circulated across social media platforms. And it encourages more of a conversation to be had around your brand.

Getting the word out about your brand is one of your most essential tasks. User-generated content is an easy way to encourage more people to get interested in what you’re providing. Instagram user-generated content is relatively easy to organize and can result in a massive boost for your Instagram following.

Most importantly, the more people are interested in you on Instagram, the more likely you are to convert these engaged followers into paying customers.

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How To Source User-Generated Content Ideas for Instagram

There are a few ways to find user-generated content your brand can use for your own Instagram content.

The first is simply looking through your tagged photos. Search your brand’s hashtags and mentions in Instagram stories or posts. You can find existing content that you may have missed before.

Start scrolling through and think about what images would fit with your feed. Check that those images include your product packaging and whether they have any other brands in the photo.

Perhaps you’ve already used all the images your brand ambassadors have created. The next option is to encourage other users to share content. Host giveaways or competitions where customers have to submit a photo to enter.

Hosting these activities is a great UGC strategy. You can gather user-generated content on Instagram and increase user engagement simultaneously. For example, your competition could get people to submit photos of them using your product for a chance to win free stuff, a discount, or a special experience.

Because everyone loves a social media competition, they will inundate you with valuable content that fits your brand aesthetic. With Greenfly +Engage, you automatically receive permission from the original creator to use their images. This capability makes crowd-sourced content creation hassle free.

How To Use Your UGC on IG

If your brand marketing strategy is set to utilize Instagram user-generated content, you need to be specific about when, how and why you use particular images.

The bigger your brand gets on Instagram, the more user-generated content your engaged community will create. That’s true whether you’re focused on sports social media or selling a beauty product. But, you shouldn’t just leverage user-generated content as soon as you’re tagged in it. You need to take a strategic approach.

Like any marketing strategy, you should only repost Instagram user-generated content that is valuable, authentic and will help build brand trust. Look for images and videos that already have a lot of engagement. And choose media that will fit in with the rest of the content on your Instagram profile.

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Tips for a Successful UGC Campaign on Instagram

Using user-generated content as part of your Instagram UGC marketing campaign isn’t as simple as just taking someone else’s photo and uploading it to your own social media channel. You need to be aware of a few things before commencing your own Instagram UGC campaigns:

  1. Secure consent before posting anything. Before posting anyone’s photos on your feed, you must always ask them for their permission. You can do this by simply sending the author of the content a direct message. Make sure to let them know how much you love their work and how excited you are to share their content.
  2. Include proper credit to the customer’s Instagram account when posting images. If the user is happy for you to use their image, you should always credit them in the caption by including their Instagram username and tagging them in the photo.
  3. Be strategic when planning your campaign. Like any social media campaign, success will mean more engagement, authentic content and growth for your social channels. Be strategic when you plan your marketing goals and how you can leverage UGC to help you hit these goals.
  4. Give customers guidelines for their content. To run successful user-generated content campaigns, you should guide customers on the content they will create. For example, tell them if you want pictures taken indoors or outdoors, on their own or holding the product, or if you need a specific format for Stories or your feed.

Master Your Content Campaigns on Instagram With Greenfly

If you want to guarantee the success of your next Instagram content creation campaign, Greenfly +Engage is the all-in-one crowdsourcing software that can help you organize your entire strategy.

Quickly launch your latest campaign to invite your fans and followers to submit original photos or videos. Let our tools automatically sort through all the media received to find the very best content to showcase on your own social channels.

Some of our customers are using Greenfly +Engage to run multiple campaigns concurrently and activate influencer campaigns and sponsorships with the touch of a button.

Want to perfect your user-generated content strategy on Instagram? Request a demo and find out how Greenfly can set you up for success.

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