Would you believe there are highly successful brands that exclusively use user-generated content for their social media marketing? These brands are masters at capitalizing on their customers' voice, passion, and connection to their product.
While direct-to-consumer brands with beautiful products and packaging are built to succeed in this area, any ecommerce company can capitalize on this strategy with a little creativity.
What is user-generated content
Social media examiner defines user-generated content as “content created by other people that’s about your product, service, or brand.” The people creating content can be customers, members of your broader audience, or prospective customers. Typically creators will either tag your company in their post, @mention you, or even send media to you directly. You can facilitate this direct company contact and boost engagement with things like hashtags which we’ll dive into as you read on.
Another way to take advantage of user-generated content is to focus on existing customers, rather than seasoned influencers. Shopify apps like Archive help you find and use existing UGC without paying for expensive influencer marketing campaigns by tracking mentions of your company, product, or industry directly from your Shopify dashboard. So instead of chasing down your next influencer, new user-generated content is surfaced for you.
Content marketing requires a variety of media. Luckily for you, user-generated content includes all sorts of marketing media ranging from posted photos and videos, reels, and Instagram stories. How you use each type of post and what permission you need in order to share someone else's content depends on what type of post they shared. It can also depend on if you are sharing content within Instagram, using apps that work with Instagram, or if you are curating content to share across social media platforms.
User-generated content can include everything from images of your product in the wild to customer testimonials, to tutorials that explain your product from a consumer or user's perspective.
Why use user-generated content on Instagram
One of the most obvious benefits of using user-generated content on Instagram is that you have a plethora of marketing materials without having to do the content creation work, but the real value of this content is much broader and deeper.
Word of mouth advertising
According to Marketing Charts, 65% of all adults surveyed said that the recommendation of friends and family influences their buying decisions. Why does this matter when it comes to user-generated content? Because the people creating user-generated content are the friends and family members of potential customers.
It can be hard to capture an organic portrayal of your product when you generate your own social media content, but user-generated content does this by nature.
When a customer or audience member creates a post to their Instagram account featuring your product they aren’t following a script, they’re simply contributing to a natural conversation with your brand at the center. Potential customers relate to this conversation and feel invited to join in.
By capitalizing on user-generated content and sorting Instagram posts into a cohesive story on your Instagram feed, you can start to build a brand narrative that wins trust and loyalty from your followers. Since the content is generated by consumers from a place of genuine appreciation, the story you tell about your product holds more weight than the content your brand creates and publishes.
Build brand community
Your brand community is a powerful marketing tool and user-generated content is the cornerstone of building that community. Your band community already exists and the content your audience is producing is widely underutilized.
A well-focused brand community built from user-generated content helps foster consumer loyalty, opens a door to product research, and encourages customer connection. Your community content amplifies and validates your brand on Instagram, so why not use it across your marketing programs?
How to create a user-generated content campaign on Instagram
There are many ways to create a user-generated content campaign on Instagram, but before you start calling for content you need to make some decisions to guide your efforts. Make sure you are clear on your brand's message and tone. You want the content you gather to reflect your goals for your business and speak to your customer base.
You might start with an idea of what this looks like and learn in the process that your consumers see your brand differently which might consequently shift your focus, but you need to start with some sort of direction. UGC will grow your followers and increase customer engagement with your brand. While Instagram may be the ideal platform for generating content from current customers, you will see engagement and followers increase across all social media by posting more engaging content across the board.
One way to create a UGC campaign on Instagram is with stickers. The stories feature allows you to add sticker options including poll stickers, questions stickers, #hashtag stickers, and more that prompt audience interaction and engagement.
By highlighting a hashtag, you provide your audience with an easy way to share content with you and drive your brand narrative.
You can drive UGC by prompting contests that reward your customers for creating content and tagging your brand. This can take the form of a giveaway, sneak peeks or early access to new products, or any other multitude of creative options your brand might dream up.
Providing free products to your customers not only rewards their loyalty but raises the curtain to new audiences. Community marketing, specifically influencer-led marketing has become a powerful marketing avenue and can generate a huge influx of marketing material.
You can call your audience members to create a product review that is either posted to their Instagram feed or shared in real-time through the stories feature. Not only do you get content mentioning your brand, but you are also specifically directing creators to provide feedback about your products that will increase product purchases over time.
Did you know? 72% of consumers say reading testimonials and reviews build trust in a business? So make sure to take your video testimonials and add them to your Instagram Stories!
Instagram story ideas to generate UGC
Instagram stories have become the go-to content sharing feature for Instagram users. They are essentially a mini channel where users can host their own show, sharing content with a wide variety of approaches. Your brand’s story posts are an integral piece of your Instagram strategy for generating UGC. Posting to your stories consistently keeps the brand conversation flowing and engages your customers.
Share Information About Your New Products
Followers and loyal customers love to feel included in your journey. Using your Instagram Stories to share information about your new products creates a sense of community and camaraderie and can prompt customer interaction.
Remember your stories are only displayed for 24 hours so you can continue to post new product information over the course of a few days to generate hype. This is also a great time to introduce a challenge or brand hashtag associated with the product and encourage customers to post content as they receive the product.
(If you want your content to be available for more than 24 hours you can save it to your Instagram story highlights on your Instagram profile.)
Host a Live Event
Live events show up at the front of the line when it comes to Instagram stories, meaning when you post a live event rather than recorded content, your story shows up first to notify your Instagram followers that something exciting is happening right now.
Share a Blog Post With Your Followers
Sharing a blog post in your stories is like publishing an enticing cover to a book. It’s an opportunity to draw them in and encourage them to click and read more. This is a great way to direct traffic to your site and guide consumers to more of your products.
Share Video Testimonials
By sharing UGC you encourage more of your followers to create content highlighting your brand. Sharing video testimonials is a way to highlight the conversations happening in your brand community and encourage more engagement.
Share Posts From Your Customers Using Your Products to Your Own Story
Sharing your customer's posts highlighting your product has much the same effect as sharing video testimonials. Not only does it drive brand community, it also presents a trustworthy product narrative from voices outside of your company.
Screenshots of Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are powerful. How many times have you as a consumer looked for reviews before making a purchasing decision? Including screenshots of customer reviews in your stories eliminates the need for consumers to go looking for them and makes their purchasing decisions easier.
Using your stories to request customer interviews or publish customer interviews is another way of using product reviews to your advantage, but in this format, it’s literally coming straight from the mouth of the customer!
Repost Stories That Mention You
The ultimate goal of prompting UGC is to repost it to your stories! This is where the marketing leverage lies. You don’t have to create the content; you simply broadcast it to your audience. Make sure you choose content that falls inline with your brand and propagates your brand's narrative in a focused and consistent way.
Poll Your Followers
Polls are not only a great way to create conversation, but they are also a great product research tool! Use polls in your stories to learn about your customer's preferences, what they want to see from your brand, and what products are their favorites.
Ask For Suggestions
Much like polls help you gather information, asking for suggestions does too. You can guide your audience members to reply with messages, comment on certain posts, or create their own content and tag your brand.
Gauge Their Feelings on a New Offering With the Slider
Including a slide bar with your new product information can generate instant interaction and feedback. By encouraging your consumers to have a voice when it comes to your products you’re giving them permission to keep the conversation going and produce more content around your brand.
Create a Quiz for Your Followers
Quizzes are a great way to increase interaction with your audience. Much like polls and sliders, it can help you gather product feedback.
Give a Behind-The-Scenes (BTS) Video Tour
Maybe the ultimate invitation into your brand community is providing a behind-the-scenes tour to increase connection with your customers. Who doesn't want to peek behind the employee's only door? Invite them in, show them around and deepen their connection with your brand. You can even introduce them to employees. Humanizing your brand encourages loyalty by creating a sense of purchasing purpose with your customers.
Answer Your FAQs
Even better than answering FAQs, ask your audience to submit content where they ask their questions; then use that content to answer their questions! You keep the conversation going and also encourage UGC. FAQs are great to add to Stories regularly as your followers increase.
Boost community marketing with Archive
Now that you know how to create a campaign for UGC, how are you going to collect all of that material to use? This is where Archive comes in. Archive automatically saves Instagram stories and posts your brand is tagged in and you can try it for free by visiting their site.
Even if you are not a brand striving to exclusively use UGC for your Instagram marketing, incorporating some amount of user-generated content is beneficial.
This proven strategy to grow your Instagram following, build your brand community, and capitalize on consumers' natural tendency to make purchasing decisions based on reviews and word-of-mouth advertising is readily available to you.
Whether you have a large social media marketing team or one college intern running your social media accounts, gathering and highlighting UGC is an effective way to boost your marketing reach and convert more customers.
More people are turning to Instagram Stories to view content from their favorite businesses. Leverage yours now with the help of the Archive app!
Instagram Story Prompts to Generate UGC FAQs -
How do you get UGC on Instagram?
Any content created by someone outside of your brand that highlights your brand is UGC. You get UGC by prompting your audience to create content and either tag you, share it with you or use a product-specific hashtag. You can also gather UGC with an app such as Archive that does the curating work for you and provides you with a library of content to publish.
Why is UGC important in marketing?
UGC builds brand trust, voice, and community. It takes advantage of human nature to grow your followers and drive conversion rates.
What are the different types of UGC?
UGC includes photos, videos, reels, and stories posted to Instagram that highlight your brand.