Blog User-generated content User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]

User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]

User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]
Joe Tobin
Editor
User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]
Joe Tobin
Editor

After bouncing around tech start-ups and university literature programs, Joe has finally settled down as Billo’s Head of Content. Joe now spends his days writing ads about ads, teaching clients how to craft killer content, and combing through our web copy with a bold red Sharpie.

User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]
Nadzeya Sankovich
Writer
User-Generated Content on Instagram [The Ultimate Guide]
Nadzeya Sankovich
Writer

Nadzeya is a professional journalist, writer, and researcher. When she's not busy crafting compelling content, you can find her in a caffeine-induced brainstorming session, pondering life's most pressing questions, like, "Why do we press harder on the remote control when we know the batteries are weak?"

instagram user-generated content

Social media platforms like Instagram rely on user-generated content (UGC) as their digital lifeblood. It covers various online media, including snapshots of everyday life, comments, videos, and candid reviews.

In other words, UGC is content you make and share instead of material from a brand or platform.

Picture this: You’re browsing Instagram, looking for that perfect restaurant for a special evening. Chances are, you’ll rely heavily on other users’ photos and reviews.

That’s UGC in action. Whether you’re seeking travel inspiration, product recommendations, or simply a sense of community, UGC plays a big role in shaping our digital experiences.

By 2033, 78% of all online content will be user-generated. Nearly four-fifths of what you encounter on the web will originate from people just like you, sharing their thoughts, experiences, and creativity.

UGC is not just a trend—it’s a fundamental shift in how we create, consume, and connect online.

So, whether you’re an individual looking to share your experiences or a business seeking to harness the potential of UGC, understanding how it works on platforms like Instagram is a key step in staying relevant and impactful in the digital age.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of UGC, how it works, and how it can be used to your advantage.

We’ll also give you tips on how to create successful UGC campaigns and provide real-world examples of successful UGC campaigns to give you some inspiration.

What is Instagram User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content, such as text, images, videos, or reviews, created and shared by individuals rather than brands or organizations.

On Instagram, UGC is a game-changer for businesses that capitalizes on the authenticity and trustworthiness of content created by your audience.

79% of customers acknowledge that UGC significantly influences their purchasing decisions.

Unlike traditional marketing, which can often feel like an aggressive sales pitch, Instagram UGC is the real deal—your customers talking about your brand, products, or services in their own words, and that’s gold.

What exactly constitutes UGC on Instagram? It might be a customer’s heartfelt review, or a simple story update singing your praises.

Often, it’s voluntarily shared by enthusiastic customers or even micro-influencers and trusted experts eager to share their discovery of the next big thing.

As we’ll delve into later, getting your audience to actively promote your brand and generate UGC isn’t always a walk in the park—it requires genuine enthusiasm or a compelling incentive.

So, why bother with UGC on Instagram?

Well, for starters, Instagram is a social media powerhouse with over a billion monthly active users, and more than half a billion of them are active every single day. That’s a colossal marketplace for brands to showcase their offerings.

Instagram boasts one of the highest engagement rates among social media platforms, making it an ideal platform for UGC.

But the real magic of UGC lies in its authenticity. It’s content shared by real people based on their genuine experiences, reviews, ideas, feedback, and opinions about your brand or products.

This authenticity makes it the most trustworthy and credible form of content, offering valuable insights into your brand’s image, quality, identity, and authority.

Instagram’s visual nature adds another layer of power to UGC. Visual content is inherently engaging and attention-grabbing, and when combined with UGC trustworthiness, it becomes a dynamic force for marketers.

How To Get User-Generated Content for Instagram?

Getting user-generated content on Instagram can be life-changing for your brand, but it doesn’t happen by accident.

You need a well-thought-out strategy to encourage your audience to become your advocates and create content that promotes your products or services. Here’s how to get UGC on Instagram:

1. Create shareable content

The first step in generating UGC is to produce content that resonates with your audience and inspires them to engage.

Craft visually appealing posts, informative videos, or engaging stories that prompt users to like, comment, and share. When your content is shareable, you increase the chances of users incorporating your brand into their own posts.

2. Leverage hashtags

Hashtags are a powerful tool for discovering and curating UGC.

Create a branded hashtag unique to your campaign or brand, and encourage your followers to use it when posting about your products or services. This makes it easy to track and showcase UGC related to your brand.

3. Run contests

Hosting Instagram contests is an effective way to incentivize UGC.

Encourage participants to create content around your brand or products and offer enticing prizes or recognition for the best submissions. Contests can generate interest in your brand and drive user engagement.

4. Engage with your audience

Get to know your followers. Respond to comments, acknowledge and appreciate UGC created by your audience, and engage with their content in return.

When users see that you value their contributions, they’re more likely to continue creating content for your brand.

5. Collaborate with creators

When you team up with creators, you unlock a ton of possibilities. These talented individuals bring unique perspectives and creative touches to your UGC videos, making them authentic and relatable.

Whether you need to showcase products, provide reviews, create tutorials, or tell captivating stories, these creators have the skills to make visually appealing content that resonates with your audience.

Here’s where handy tools like Billo step in. They offer an effortless and cost-effective solution to obtain UGC videos, connecting eCommerce brands with a wide network of verified video creators and editors working from home studios across the United States.

6. Highlight customer stories

Showcase your customers’ success stories and experiences with your brand. Share their testimonials, photos, or videos on your Instagram account.

By featuring real customers, you not only create UGC but also build trust and credibility with potential customers.

7. Encourage reviews and feedback

Encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback on your products or services through Instagram. When they share their thoughts and experiences, future customers can rely on valuable UGC when making purchasing decisions.

8. Offer exclusive access

Reward loyal customers with exclusive access or early previews of new products or services. When customers feel part of an inner circle, they’re more likely to create UGC to share their excitement and experiences.

9. Be authentic and transparent

Above all, maintain authenticity and transparency in your UGC efforts. Users appreciate genuine interactions and content.

Avoid pushing overly promotional or scripted messages, as authenticity is key to building trust and credibility.

These strategies will help you foster a community of engaged users who willingly contribute to UGC that promotes your brand, driving brand awareness and trust.

How To Use UGC on Instagram?

Your Instagram community will provide you with tons of user-generated content (UGC), but when you use it effectively, it makes a real difference. Just collecting endorsements isn’t enough. Here’s how to use it:

Repost and Share

The simplest way to use UGC is to repost it on your brand’s Instagram account.

Reposting UGC not only acknowledges and appreciates your customers but also exposes their content to a wider audience, increasing engagement.

When you come across UGC that aligns with your brand image, seek permission from the creators to repost their content on your account. Proper attribution and recognition go a long way in encouraging UGC.

Create UGC Highlight Reels

Use Instagram’s “Highlight” feature to curate and showcase UGC on your profile.

Group UGC into themed highlights, such as “Customer Reviews,” “Fan Favorites,” or “Product Spotlights.” This allows visitors to your profile to easily access and browse through user-generated content.

Craft Testimonials

Turn customer reviews and feedback into visually appealing testimonials.

Create eye-catching graphics or carousel posts that feature quotes from satisfied customers alongside images or videos of your products. Testimonials add credibility to your brand and help with social proof.

Incorporate into Ads

Integrate UGC into your Instagram advertising strategy.

UGC-based ads feel more authentic and relatable to the audience, increasing their effectiveness. You can use UGC as part of carousel ads or in your Instagram Stories ads.

Leverage for Product Insights

Analyze the content generated by your audience to gain valuable insights into your products or services.

Pay attention to common themes, feedback, and trends. This information can inform product improvements or help you tailor your marketing messages.

Promote User Stories

Share stories from your customers about their experiences with your brand. Whether it’s a personal anecdote or a creative use of your product, these stories can be incredibly compelling and relatable to your audience.

Measure Impact

Use Instagram Insights and other analytics tools to track the impact of UGC on your brand’s performance.

Monitor engagement rates, reach, and conversion metrics to assess the effectiveness of your UGC strategy.

5 Examples of User-Generated Content on Instagram

Let’s look at how some savvy brands are mastering UGC on Instagram. The following brands have turned everyday Instagram users into their most influential brand advocates.

Let’s dive into their success stories.

1. ASOS

Back in 2014, ASOS introduced a game-changing feature on their website known as “As Seen on Me.” This brilliant move allowed the brand customers to showcase their style by posting images of themselves wearing ASOS-purchased outfits. All they had to do was use the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe on Instagram.

Why did this strategy work so well?

For starters, it showed shoppers how ASOS clothing looked on regular people in everyday situations. There are no supermodels in highly produced ads—just real people flaunting ASOS attire.

This allowed potential customers to envision how the same outfit might look on them, regardless of their body type.

Plus, it turned every ASOS customer into a potential fashion influencer, inspiring others to experiment with their style and maximize the versatility of their purchases.

2. Parachute

Parachute, a home goods brand, took a different approach by embracing the authenticity of its products in real-life settings.

Using the hashtag #MyParachuteHome, the brand encouraged its customers to share photos of their home decor adorned with Parachute products. These user-generated images had a more genuine and relatable feel compared to traditional, staged product photos.

Customer photos were featured in various places, including insert cards included in customer orders and paid digital ad campaigns.

The results were impressive—a 35% higher click-through rate and a 60% reduction in ad costs.

3. Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein’s “I ________ in #MyCalvins” campaign blurred the lines between celebrities and everyday customers.

In their ads, big-name stars like Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber, and Kendrick Lamar filled in the blanks with personal statements about their connection to Calvin Klein jeans.

Simultaneously, Calvin Klein invited its customers to share their own photos wearing the brand’s products using the hashtag #MyCalvins.

This approach not only made the brand more approachable and relatable but also allowed Calvin Klein to showcase select UGC images on its website, complete with links to product pages for easy purchasing.

The Instagram campaign was a win-win: customers got to identify with celebrity endorsers, and the brand expressed its appreciation for its customers while creating new sales opportunities.

4. Airbnb

Airbnb, a leader in travel and hospitality, relies heavily on user-generated content for its Instagram engagement.

Their approach revolves around showing unique homes, experiences, and destinations worldwide, aligning with their values of local, authentic, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable travel.

They encourage users to share their Airbnb experiences with the #Airbnb and #AirbnbExperiences hashtags. If your content hits with Airbnb, you might receive a message requesting permission to share it on their Instagram feed—an opportunity that’s hard to resist.

With 5.5 million Instagram followers, Airbnb’s UGC strategy is a powerful example of how well-executed user-generated content can drive engagement and inspire travelers worldwide.

5. Alo Yoga

Alo Yoga, a brand catering to yoga and exercise enthusiasts, takes an original approach to UGC. Their Instagram feed primarily features content from their massive pool of 3.3 million followers, all showcasing themselves in Alo Yoga activewear.

The UGC they curate includes real yogis demonstrating strength, flexibility, and balance in stunning poses, often against picturesque backdrops around the globe.

The Alo Yoga team always credits and tags the featured yogis in the comments, sharing fun facts about the images and details about the products highlighted.

For a chance to have their content showcased on Alo Yoga’s Instagram and to connect with like-minded individuals who have contributed to UGC, users can explore the #aloyoga hashtag—a community of fitness enthusiasts.

Best UGC Strategies for Instagram

Here are three practical UGC strategies to help your brand gather user-generated content, engage your audience, and boost sales.

Discover All User-Generated Content

If your brand has been around for a while, chances are you already have some user-generated content scattered across social media platforms and the web. This is an excellent starting point for your UGC marketing journey.

You should seek out every bit of UGC that features your brand and examine it closely. Take note of what people enjoy sharing about your product or service, and pay attention to their feedback.

An interesting fact: 56% of consumers prefer to see user-generated photos and videos from brands as they seek the authenticity of such content.

Now, you might be wondering how to efficiently locate all the user-generated content related to your brand without spending endless hours searching social networks.

Create UGC-Style Ads

On the other hand, if your brand is in the early stages of building awareness on social media and lacks user-generated content, consider creating UGC-style ads.

It’s important to note that user-generated content advertising may not carry the same level of trustworthiness as the original UGC, which exudes authenticity.

However, it offers an appealing alternative for your social media ads, setting your brand apart from those adhering to conventional ad formats.

For instance, UGC-style Instagram ads seamlessly blend with the platform’s native content, making them more likely to catch users’ eyes.

Run a Hashtag Campaign on Social Media

Launching a hashtag campaign on social media is a highly effective approach to encourage users to create content featuring your brand.

Initiating a user-generated content hashtag campaign is relatively straightforward.

Begin by creating a dedicated campaign hashtag, similar to the classic example of #ShareACoke. Then, invite users to share their content using this hashtag.

Just to give you an idea of the impact, within the first year of the #ShareACoke campaign, half a million photos were posted on social media using this hashtag. Coca-Cola gained 25 million new Facebook followers.

Now, that’s what we call success!

As technology keeps marching forward, it’s turning everyday platforms into user-friendly playgrounds where anyone can create content that really speaks to others. Marketers and brands aren’t just watching, they’re diving right in.

So, remember UGC’s power. Taking advantage of UGC can help your brand stand out and create trust, essential for long-term success. Authentic connections last a lifetime.

Sources

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