As a modern marketer, you must know your brand’s product inside and out. If you are marketing on social media platforms like Instagram, in-depth knowledge of your product’s unique qualities is necessary. If you know how to emphasize your products, you can stand out from the white noise that your target audience experiences online.
Unfortunately, this level of experience may not be enough for a successful content marketing campaign. Today, customers are responding to a more authentic approach. One way to address this gap while boosting brand awareness online is to curate user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content (UGC) refers to any sort of digital content customers share online and brands repost. These kinds of content can be images, blog comments, blog posts, videos, or product reviews.
Experienced social media managers and marketers use UGC in their marketing campaigns to add a feel of authenticity to their Instagram feed. Taking advantage of UGC can help them save time that they usually spend on creating original content.
According to a report from audience data analytics provider Nielsen, more people trust recommendations from friends and family than advertisements on branded websites. So you can use UGC to gain the trust of potential customers.
Additionally, using UGC also promotes the development of an online community for your brand. With social media UGC, companies can engage with their community and create a stronger bond with their target audience.
When you’re ready to create a community for your brand, the Archive App can help. With Archive, you can reinforce your marketing strategy through an engaged and lively online community.
Relying on UGC for increased brand awareness comes with several benefits. These advantages show how using your customers’ posts about your products can help your marketing.
Social media can be a valuable platform for brands to connect with their audience members. By using UGC, brands give their customers the opportunity to tell stories and be heard, which is something brand-generated content cannot offer.
As digital marketing guru Neil Patel points out, your brand’s loyal fans can also be its greatest advocates. When potential new customers discover your brand, they will mostly do so through social networks, reviews, and your online community. These platforms all rely primarily on user-generated content.
Using UGC reduces the need to create your own content because your customers make it for you. This advantage helps you save time, effort, and money you spend on generating content regularly.
When your customers create UGC, you are using your fans as creators. You delegate the task of creating content and promoting products to the people who already use them and love them.
For instance, Starbucks is one of the largest coffee chains in the world. The brand has many fans who take photos of their personalized cups and upload them online.
The act of misspelling someone’s name has become iconic for Starbucks, and even celebrities will share funny images and stories of occasions when a barista got their name wrong. This simple act serves as a powerful promotional tool for the brand. Starbucks gets tons of free promotions through UGC - even from household names like Oprah.
Suppose you’re marketing on a small budget. In that case, you can focus on using UGC to get great images featuring your products.
Customers will not care about your product unless it can address their unique problems. When you try to promote your product and its benefits, it is less likely that people will notice your brand because they recognize your content as brand-generated advertising .
To get your products noticed, try demonstrating authenticity with your marketing efforts by using UGC. People share photos and other posts online because they want friends and others to see them, and it’s likely their community will hold a similar interest in what you have to offer. This means UGC marketing does not look like standard marketing. It can be more personal for your target audience.
Furthermore, sharing content from your actual customers serves as social proof. This helps demonstrate trust and authority.
Regardless of the type of product or service you offer, you want to maximize your profits. You need all the help you can get to attract new paying customers. If people see your brand as trustworthy, you have a better chance of converting them into buyers.
Today, UGC campaigns are one of the most trusted forms of marketing. People believe that content creators and Instagram influencers share helpful and effective products, so they rely on those recommendations. This illustrates the positive relationship between UGC marketing, trust, and purchase intention.
For instance, when an influencer on Instagram tags a product, their followers start to view the brand as both appealing and trustworthy. When someone chooses your product, chances are their friends and family will also start thinking that your product is worth a try.
According to a 2021 Business Insider article, millennials hold the most purchasing power out of all generations today. Additionally, 90 percent of adults who used social media in 2019 were aged 18 to 29.
This data highlights how crucial it is for digital marketers to focus their efforts on addressing the needs of socially-dependent generations, like millennials and Gen Zs.
Using UGC ensures that you appeal to real people who spend a lot of time on social media and have the money to buy your products.
To help you get started on creating your own user-generated content campaign, here are some hugely successful efforts that generated the most attention on Instagram.
UGC drives the majority of the engagement on Airbnb’s Instagram. As the current market leader in the home-sharing sector, Airbnb uses its own customers to highlight the features that make the company diverse, unique, authentic, inclusive, and sustainable.
With more than 5 million Instagram followers, the vacation rental provider promotes unique experiences, homes, and destinations on its Instagram account.
As well as sharing customer Instagram posts, Airbnb also holds competitions to encourage their customers to provide the best content. You can check out these posts under the hashtags #Airbnb and #AirbnbExperiences.
You might think that building a community based on their choice of under garment is far-fetched. But Clavin Klein’s #MyCalvins campaign made it possible for customers worldwide to feel connected through their underwear, so to speak.
For the campaign, the brand encouraged customers to post a photo wearing their products with the hashtag #MyCalvins. People from many different countries shared what they were doing while wearing their Calvins.
As of writing, there are over 900,000 posts under the tag. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the brand found that the campaign connected more deeply with young people. It gained them millions of followers not only on Instagram but also on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
There’s a good reason why GoPro became one of the brands famously known for its excellent UGC strategy across various social media channels. Instead of investing in expensive marketing campaigns, the action camera manufacturer relied on their customers to promote and grow their brand.
They started branded hashtags, including #GoProCommunity and #GoProAwards, to encourage their existing customers to share their best visual content. Additionally, they had specific hashtags for just about every country in the world.
For #GoProAwards, the company’s giveaways include cash, gear, and global exposure. There are over 200,000 submissions on Instagram alone.
Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign remains one of the most creative marketing stunts in the industry. For this project, its marketing team identified around 150 of the most common male and female names and printed them on the bottle labels.
The marketing idea gave buyers a more personalized experience. As a result, people all over the world were buying Coke products, shooting photos, and sharing their experiences on social media.
Alo Yoga, a clothing and lifestyle brand for yogis, shares curated posts from its pool of 2.9 million followers. They feature their customers wearing Alo pieces and real yogis practicing and living their lives while wearing the brand’s products.
This strategy promotes new product lines while demonstrating Alo Yoga’s excellent functionality and comfortability.
The brand’s feed also shows people in extreme poses of strength and flexibility, often with beautiful backgrounds from around the world. Alo’s social media manager tags the original poster in the comments and notes an interesting fact about the image along with information about the products featured in the photo.
Customers only need to post a photo under the #aloyoga hashtag for a chance to get featured on the brand’s Instagram. The almost one million posts under this tag attest to its success.
UGC marketing also enables brands to connect with their customers on a personal level. Jewelry shop Iz&Co appeals to its audience by sharing stories of real-life customers getting engaged. This strategy provides more than just a touch of the warm and fuzzies to followers’ feeds.
National Geographic increased its engagement rate on Instagram through a powerful UGC campaign. The magazine’s Wanderlust project helped them gain more followers and grow their online presence.
To participate in the Wanderlust Contest, which aimed to get more people involved in the outdoors, users had to share nature shots under the hashtag #WanderlustContest. The winner of the contest received a seven-day trip for two adults to the Yosemite National Park in California.
Pro Tip: Knowing your audience's likes, interests, and the type of content they enjoy will give you valuable insight into their behavior and investment patterns. User-generated content can help you get that knowledge.
Now that you have an idea of how UGC marketing works, the next step is learning how to create your own UGC marketing strategy. We have compiled what you need to know to develop a successful Instagram UGC plan.
Social media platforms have different algorithms that make them unique from each other. If you intend to use UGC on Instagram, you need an effective content plan.
The first step is to identify your objectives for the content you will curate. Some examples of these goals could be:
Although you can achieve most of these aims through using UGC, a plan for getting the most out of that content will help you achieve success. Since UGC marketing can be hugely diverse and vague, determining what kind of UGC will be the perfect option for your brand will give your marketing activities a clear direction.
Hashtags are absolutely essential for social media marketing, especially on Instagram. They serve as identification tags for the different types of content that users share.
They also allow you to discover and curate UGC while investing the minimum time and effort.
So if you’re using UGC, remember to create a brand hashtag and a unique subject-specific hashtag related to your campaign. This type of community marketing enables your followers to easily participate in the project and submit their content under the hashtag.
Unfortunately, Instagram is already enormously populated with hashtags, both normal and branded. To get your campaign noticed, it’s a good idea to create a hashtag that can stand out and attract the users you want to engage.
Think of something original and relevant to your brand and campaign. They work best when they’re noticeable and short, yet catchy and memorable. Applying these characteristics will help you develop a good hashtag that is easily recognizable to the users.
Don’t forget to give your target audience plenty of opportunities to engage with your UGC. Without these opportunities, your marketing campaigns on your Instagram account will be pointless.
It’s important to encourage your users to contribute interesting content to your campaign. Even simple interactions like responding to comments and providing consistent posts can promote engagement.
Replying to user comments or liking their mentions and posts can also inspire greater UGC creation and brand building. Not only that, but this kind of direct engagement with your community can also directly promote sales. According to the “queen of Facebook”, Mari Smith, when you respond to your followers, 80% of them go on to make a buying decision.
You can also try launching different strategies, including gamification ideas like polls, contests, reward campaigns, leaderboards, and recognition opportunities. These strategies are designed to encourage content sharing among your followers.
If you are using these strategies, the next stage is to find ways of using this valuable UGC about your brand. Collecting the content will not be enough. You will also need a creative way to showcase it to your followers.
So, after gathering the best UGC, review them and select the best posts that are the most relevant and that most closely match your objectives. Then you can start sharing them on your brand’s Instagram profile.
After you start sharing UGC, take advantage of the new engagement you experience to build trust and showcase credibility. If you are using interesting and relevant UGC posts, you can get more exposure, reach, and followers.
But before you start sharing content with your followers, it’s important to get content rights from the original publishers. Make sure you have their consent to rightfully repurpose their content for your brand’s campaigns. You should also credit them when you share their posts on your account.
To have a successful UGC marketing campaign, you should know your customers’ likes, interests, and the type of content they engage with online. Having this information will give you valuable insights into their behavior as well as their purchasing decisions and patterns.
Fortunately, as you curate UGC, you can understand your audience’s behavior better. The content you collect will show the kinds of posts you should promote. It can also clarify certain audience demographics and identify valuable engagement trends.
You can use all this data to adjust your marketing campaigns for more result-driven outcomes.
The rising popularity of community marketing strategies among digital marketers contributes to their effectiveness. These include UGC campaigns.
More marketers rely on these community-driven campaigns because today’s consumers want more than just advertisements on their screens. They want to be a part of something authentic and meaningful. Fortunately, you can provide them with this experience while at the same time encouraging engagement through participation in fun activities outside traditional advertising.
UGC platforms like Archive App provide a tool so you can curate content to use in promoting your product on Instagram.
Archive can help improve your UGC content strategy by automating the process of saving stories and relevant posts where your brand is tagged. Finding the right content to share on your brand’s Instagram account is easy with Archive.
Sharing user-generated content is one of the most effective ways to build brand loyalty and strengthen your online community on Instagram. Leverage your online marketing strategy with Archive App today!
Creating a branded hashtag or a subject-specific hashtag for an individual campaign helps you curate UGC on Instagram faster. You can also use UGC platforms like the Archive App to simplify the process.
Customers view UGC marketing as more genuine and authentic compared to traditional ads. Without UGC, it’s harder for your brand to stand out from the crowd and is more likely to be drowned out by all the other promotional campaigns all over Instagram.
A successful UGC marketing campaign can help build trust and credibility through showcasing authenticity. It can also help boost user engagement and interaction and provide an avenue to promote your brand advocacy.