User Generated Content (UGC) is a killer asset for brands and companies looking to grow online.
UGC is an affordable way to share quality content that will generate revenue for your brand. It's the social media equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendation.
In fact, 55% of consumers trust user generated content over any other form of marketing. This is a surefire way to grow your sales and improve brand loyalty.
Use the power of UGC and grow your business with our Ultimate Guide!
- What is User Generated Content?
- Why should UGC be part of your marketing strategy?
- How to Find User Generated Content
- Best Practices for User Generated Content
- 4 ways to get started with user-generated content
- UGC tips for Instagram
- UGC tips for Facebook
- UGC tips for Pinterest
- How to measure the success of your user-generated content
What is User Generated Content?
In short, user generated content is any type of content created by a brand's followers, product users, or consumers.
In its most organic form, UGC is not paid for by any brand, so it's a real and honest recommendation shared by followers and fans.
It can be as simple as having someone tag a product with a brand's new collection in an Instagram feed, in stories, reels, or IGTV posts, or in a YouTube beauty tutorial.
Why should user generated content be part of your marketing strategy?
Regardless of its form, user-generated content pays off for brands and businesses and has some impressive benefits:
- Easily collect and share real reviews
- Build a loyal fan base and community around your brand
- Drive traffic to your website with a strong buying intent
- Generate an affordable marketing stream
In a recent report, AdWeek found that 85% of users say visual UGC has a greater impact on their decisions than branded photos or videos.
Why? Because a personal recommendation is the gold star of product marketing.
What will affect your decision when you want to make a big purchase? Another sales pitch from the brand or a recommendation from a real person who has already used the product?
We assume that you will take the advice of a genuine, impartial person.
In the fast-paced world of social media marketing, UGC offers a highly visual, engaging, and diverse range of content – from videos to Instagram stories, lives, acquisitions to traditional reviews – that will transform your social strategy, even if your team is small and your resources are overloaded.
So if you want to grow your business (especially in younger populations), User generated content Can Seriously Help Grow Your Sales And Build True Brand Loyalty.
How to find great user generated content for your content strategy
As mentioned earlier, user generated content offers many benefits for brand marketing.
However, finding high quality, branded content can be a time consuming and difficult task.
Fortunately, Later has created several features that make it easy to find, organize, and schedule user-generated content, including:
- Search by profile
- Collect from mentions
- Collect from tags
- Collect from contributors
- Search by hashtag
- Add from Unsplash (artwork)
With Later's new "Search for Profile" feature, you can enter an Instagram username or profile URL, select a post from the feed, and tap "Add to Library". As simple as that!
And the best part about it? Later, the high quality resolution of the original post is kept (no screenshots required here) and the handle of the user who originally published it is automatically added to your caption, making it easy to credit the creator.
There are a whole bunch of tools later to make it as easy as possible to find great user-generated content for your social strategy!
7 best practices for marketing with user-generated content
Not only will these tips help you think strategically about UGC, but they will also make sure you are consistently providing the best possible service to your audience.
# 1: Make your UGC a purpose and value to your customers
There is no point in sharing UGC for UGC – you need to be both strategic and considerate in your feed.
Your UGC should serve a purpose – be it inspiring, showing how a product is being used, providing real-world reviews, or helping your followers make a decision about their product choices.
Take the foldable swimwear, for example. They collect UGC images and videos from their customers and store them in the Instagram Stories Highlights to showcase every size of their range that is portrayed and worn by women.
Not only does this help a potential customer find the right fit for their body, but it also celebrates women of all shapes, which is a firm mission for the brand.
UGC is not a sales pitch – you need to think of it as a stand-alone piece of content that can really benefit your audience.
# 2: be original with your UGC
Using UGC as part of your marketing strategy is not a new concept. So you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
And nothing stands out more on social media than being original.
Start by analyzing your competition – how are they using UGC to serve their audience? What can you do differently while sticking to your business mission and sales goals?
Glossier got very creative with their takeover theme and invited the founder of the West Bourne Café to create product-inspired recipes with a takeover of Instagram Stories!
# 3: strive for authenticity
Social authenticity is a growing trend on the internet. By sharing honest user reviews about UGC, your brand will always stay up to date.
Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to see user-generated content as authentic than branded content. Hence, it's a good idea to strike a balance between your product shots and UGC content.
Plus, 86% of consumers say authenticity plays an important role when it comes to making decisions about future purchases (especially for Millennials and GenZers).
Would you like to learn more about using UGC in your marketing campaigns? Check out our blog post on the 5 Best UGC Creative Marketing Campaigns to Grow Your Business!
# 4: Share content created by a wide variety of users
This proven method for inclusivity and celebrating diversity on the internet not only allows you to reach a wider variety of potential customers through UGC.
By promoting a variety of voices in your user-generated content, your brand and products will ultimately become more accessible to a wider audience, and your brand will become more accessible.
Fenty Beauty – a brand hailed for representing all women in their marketing – created a YouTube playlist dedicated to Arabic UGC content for their users and their fan base.
The representation of diversity in UGC cannot be a token gesture, but must be embedded in your strategy. So pay attention to when the time has come to collect your UGC.
# 5: Encourage UGC that is community building
UGC is also about building a community. So if you want to use their power, you need to make your audience feel like they are part of something bigger than a simple repost.
One UCG campaign that is drawing the world's attention is Apple's annual “Shot on iPhone” campaign.
Within three weeks, a jury reviewed the submitted photos from around the world and selected 10 winning photos, which were then displayed in selected cities, Apple retail stores and online on billboards. Check out this year's winning photo from @ bri.elle submitted by her feed:
Apple's Instagram audience is encouraged to post and tag their iPhone photos so they can be featured on their account to an audience of over 25 million people!
Other brands like GoPro create IRL events for their community. Every year, the GoPro Creator Summit is a place where videographers, adventure photographers and GoPro action lovers can come together and celebrate their passions.
And the only way to get an invite was to share a # GoProCreatorSummit selfie!
Inviting UGC that reflects an audience's passions can create a sense of community – and strengthen your brand values on your social channels!
# 6: Make It Memorable, Fun, and Shareable
It goes without saying that UGC should be fun for your followers – and not all UGC have to be product-related too.
One of the biggest UGC trends we spotted this year is reposting tweets from your followers to your Instagram feed!
Later on, we like to share pictures and videos from our community that match our bright and playful aesthetic.
Although Later has no physical product to sell, we want to share our community's creations to encourage and nurture creativity online – something we always strive for!
# 7: Always quote the original source
While sharing UGC on social platforms is the order of the day, there are still some gray areas for the best protocol for reposting content from another source.
Fortunately, we have an entire blog post devoted to re-launching UGC, covering both best practices and legal requirements.
Before sharing your next UGC part, make sure you tick all of the required boxes before clicking "Share".
In short, here are two things that you should always do before reposting an image or video:
# 1: Ask for permission
This step is often missed, especially when pulling content from a branded hashtag on Instagram.
However, sending the creator a friendly DM or a message asking if you can share it again will go a long way in building long-term relationships and a stronger social community.
# 2: Credit the original source
Regardless of whether you post on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube, indicate where you found this content. It's also recommended that you tag the creator so anyone who views your feed can also see the original creator's profile.
TIP: Later's UGC tools and features let you find posts your community has created and add them to your media library so you can share them with your feed whenever you want. Plus, later Automatically adds the handle of the user who originally posted it to your caption so it's easy to credit the creator.
4 types of user generated content to incorporate into your marketing strategy today
The possibilities at UGC are endless, and there are tons of brands already using it creatively to grow their online fan base and increase sales.
To help you get started, we're going to introduce you to four super easy ways to get started with UGC.
UGC strategy # 1: Post and share product reviews with users
This may seem easy, but if you don't regularly share real user reviews of your products, you are missing out on sharing valuable (and compelling!) Content with your audience.
And it doesn't always have to be 5-star ratings.
The luggage brand Away has product reviews on their Facebook page – including feedback that is not all positive:
By sharing consistent and real reviews (and openly discussing issues with their customers in the public forum), Away helps build a community that truly trusts their brand and products.
It's also a good idea to use product reviews as part of your Sponsored Post on Instagram and Facebook (more on that later in this post!).
Research shows that 41% of consumers are tempted to buy a product with just 1 to 4 reviews. So, if you can successfully target your audience with social ads, a product review as part of an ad can help a viewer make a buying decision faster!
UGC Strategy # 2: Run a UGC Focused Contest
One of the best ways to inspire users to share content on your behalf is to motivate them – but it doesn't always have to be at $$$!
A survey found that only 32% of people created and shared UGC because they wanted to win an award.
Instead, 60% preferred to share UGC because it enabled them to get more likes or showcase their content from a popular brand.
And this opens up the perfect opportunity to host a UGC-led competition with your community.
Design App Over hosts a monthly challenge that encourages their followers on Instagram and Facebook to use all of the app's nifty tools and features to complete the contest assignment.
Your followers can then submit their designs by tagging Over with the hashtag #OverDesignChallenge!
Canon is also running a similarly designed competition on Instagram and Facebook. Each week there is a different topic or skill to help the audience improve their photography skills:
#CanonFanPhoto, the UGC contest's branded hashtag, has over 450,000 submissions, which means the Canon audience is very engaged – and creating great content for the brand on board!
One of the best ways to raise UGC for your brand on social media is to create a branded hashtag, especially if you want to focus your efforts on Instagram.
With a branded hashtag, you can ask your users to include the hashtag in their posts. Then you can easily search for and find the content that you want to share.
Later, this process gets even easier: you can search for your branded hashtag, select the UGC posts you want to use, and then schedule them on your feed!
The skincare brand, and future customer Lush, are using UGC to enhance their customers' voices in their content marketing strategy:
"We're fortunate that our tagged image volume is incredibly high, but it can be difficult to manage effectively." Using Later has helped us navigate through our tagged photos and videos, collect and organize them, and use them across our channels. "
Ready to create your own UGC contest and branded hashtag? Upgrade to Later's paid plans to get access to Later's UGC tools and features!
UGC Strategy # 3: Organize an Adoption Through Social Channels
When taking over a social channel, someone usually takes over your account temporarily to give followers a glimpse into your company or products from a new perspective.
As a business owner, you can team up with an influencer or client to have them do your Instagram Stories posts, host a Facebook Live session, or respond to tweets in real time. This way, your viewers not only get insights into your products and services. but the recommendations and opinions of your takeover partner.
And while some can be arranged as sponsored content with influencers, other types of acquisitions can come from your wider network, such as: B. Your suppliers or manufacturers – which makes implementation an easy strategy!
Learn how Benefit regularly teams up with leading beauty and skin care influencers to host Facebook Live Sessions for their audience:
Switch to FB LIVE at noon today where we'll be talking to @MyBeautyMatches about our favorite beauty products ???????? xx pic.twitter.com/qisGnoizgU
– Benefit Cosmetics UK (@BenefitUK) August 1, 2017
Across Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, acquisitions are a powerful tool if you want to showcase your products and services with the voices of the people who love your brand the most.
Want to learn more about the Instagram Stories acquisition? Read our step-by-step guide on how to complete your first takeover and download our free checklist!
UGC Strategy # 4: Building Influencer Partnerships
Influencer marketing is well on its way to becoming an $ 8 billion industry by 2020.
And when it comes to Instagram, influencer marketing is delivering some great results – with an average engagement rate of 3.21% compared to 1.5% on all other social networks, Instagram users are more likely to comment, like, and share the content, that they consume.
And when you combine that with the powers of UGC and purchase persuasion, you have a strong recipe for success!
Learn how fitness brand MyProtein is working with their sponsored athletes around the world to promote messages of good health:
Finding influencers or brand ambassadors to work with is a great way to get a steady stream of high quality UGC.
If you can find and recruit an influencer as a regular ambassador for your brand, you're guaranteed to get UGC content that both suits your aesthetic and serves your audience of like-minded followers.
The jewelry brand Mejuri has a strong network of ambassadors – and their Instagram feed proves this with loads of stunning UGC that stand on the brand and go perfectly with the #finecrew aesthetic!
Mejuri even has a dedicated Pinterest forum for his community – another perfect way to collect UGC and share it for your social audience:
Would you like further suggestions on how you can use UGC in your marketing? Check out 5 Ways To Use UGC In Your Marketing Campaign Blog Post!
Tips on Using User Generated Content on Instagram
We could write an entire blog post on UGC on Instagram (in fact we did – this blog has tons of tips, ideas, and inspiration for using UGC in your Instagram marketing!).
However, there are a few key tips to keep in mind the first time you branch into UGC for your Instagram feed:
# 1: keep your Instagram aesthetic
ICYMI: Your Instagram aesthetic is a big deal and you shouldn't compromise when it comes to sharing and reposting UGC.
Check out how skincare brand Frank Bod has seamlessly integrated UGC into their Instagram Stories and feed posts by keeping their branded colors and fonts throughout.
For your Instagram feed, you can make sure that your grid always looks spot-on preview before you post.
Later Visual Instagram planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed will look like with your future posts (both pictures and videos) – it's a cornerstone when it comes to improving your aesthetics.
This makes it easy to rearrange or swap your posts so that you can find the perfect balance for your Instagram feed.
In addition, you can now use the Later Visual Planner directly from your computer Cell phone, cell phone!
Ready for the perfect Instagram aesthetic? Design, curate, and help plan your feed Later!
# 2: Create themes for your UGC when reposting
You don't want to randomly repost Instagram Stories as soon as they come in as it will spoil the content of your planned stories and will not always be the most engaging story to watch.
Instead, think about how you can summarize your UGC on different topics.
For example, Fella Swim groups UGC into an "As Seen On" series using their own Instagram story template.
This type of content really pays tribute to the brand's aesthetic, fits in seamlessly with their feed, and is much more interesting to watch. Plus, they can add swipe-up links to buy the products!
# 3: use Instagram Stories Highlights to organize your UGC
We strongly recommend creating an Instagram Stories highlight just for your product reviews so that anyone who visits your profile will immediately know how good your products are.
Ritual, a wellness brand, has a fantastic Instagram Stories highlight devoted exclusively to snapshots and videos made by their biggest fans and praising their favorite products.
Are you looking for more Instagram inspiration? Introducing 10 Brands Who Are Making It On Instagram With Their UGC Strategy – Check It Out Here!
Tips on Using UGC on Facebook
You may think Facebook isn't as UGC friendly as Instagram, but don't be fooled! There are many ways to get involved and put UGC at the center of your Facebook strategy.
Here are some of our top tips for using UGC on Facebook:
# 1: Host Facebook Live Events on a regular basis
We mentioned earlier how Benefit regularly hosts Facebook Live events with influencers and brand ambassadors for their followers – but they deserve another mention for their creativity and engagement on Facebook.
Benefit even created their own playlist for their live videos, which makes their live events evergreen and easily accessible to the audience so they can tune in at a later time!
# 2: Integrate UGC into the homepage of your Facebook profile
UGC strengthens brand loyalty and affinity. Hence, it is a good idea to have UGC featured on your Facebook page with prime real estate.
See how Aerie incorporated snippets of UGC captured by her models into the behind-the-scenes footage of a shoot as a cover image:
Posted by Aerie on Wednesday 21st Aug 2019
# 3: don't forget to tag users in your reposts!
It's easy to forget to tag the original content creator on Facebook, but it's an important step if you want to legally repost UGC on your feed!
If you're unsure, or if the creator isn't on Facebook, reach out to them to confirm their handle or ask if they'd like to be republished on Facebook without a tag.
# 4: Optimize Your Facebook Ads Using UGC
Facebook ads with UGC elements have been shown to be more effective at increasing sales and conversions than standard product shots.
So it's worth thinking about including some form of UGC in your ads. Whether it's a customer review or an influencer tutorial, this is a surefire way to increase the effectiveness of your ads.
Glossier really tweaked this by creating an ad campaign that focuses on UGC-style videos of their best-selling and newly launched products.
Thanks to these real-life user examples, Glossier immediately becomes much more sophisticated and reliable – making your products more attractive to potential buyers!
Tips for using UGC on Pinterest
Pinterest is designed for building communities and re-sharing high quality content from developers. So it's easy to curate UGC on your Pinterest profile!
# 1: curate a community Pinterest board
Pinterest boards are practically just folders for your Pins.
By storing UGC Pins on boards, you create a valuable catalog of content for your followers to discover.
Additionally, the Pinterest community is all about curating Pins on your own boards – it helps get Pins accessible to a wider audience, and it gives other Pinterest developers the praise they deserve!
Check out how Everlane created a "Styled By You" board that features some of the best Instagram and Pinterest images created by their clients:
This is an easy way to showcase your products the IRL style – and at the same time give something back to the community you've built online!
Looking for more information on using Pinterest to market your brand? Read our ultimate guide to Pinterest marketing!
How to measure the success of your user-generated content
As with all of your social marketing efforts, determining what type of UGC will help you achieve your goals is important.
Pay close attention to the trends and patterns you see in your social analytics alongside your UGC posts. Have you noticed that some UGC posts are showing a lot of engagement on Instagram but the same post flops on Facebook?
Or do you see a lot of approvals and tags for a particular branded hashtag?
Metrics such as shares, saves, comments, likes and engagement rates are important for monitoring so that you can further rethink your UGC strategy for the future.
That way, you can better serve your audience, manage your time, and keep delivering killer UGC for your marketing strategy!
And if you're using Later to plan and schedule your social media posts, you need to check your Later Analytics!
The big advantage for future users is that your engagement rates and other important metrics on Instagram and other social platforms like Pinterest and Twitter are recorded and measured in one place. This makes it easy to compare and contrast the performance and keep track of your campaign reporting!
Later Analytics is available for all later paid plans. Update today to get access!
Congratulations! You are now equipped with everything you need to create a user-created content campaign!
Whether you're planning to host Facebook Live, have UGC on your Instagram feed, or incorporate product reviews into your shopping pages and ads, using UGC strategically in your marketing can really increase your sales and grow your online community.
Are you ready to curate UGC and share on Instagram? Check out Later's UGC tools and features to easily find, schedule, and post user-generated content to your social feeds!
Nikki is Later's editor-in-chief. She has worked in digital media in Dublin, London and Sydney and loves nothing more than posting a new post. When she's not blogging with the Later team, find her out with her dog Arlie or planning her next adventure – follow @nikkitravelled.