How to Leverage User-Generated Content on Social Media

September 3, 2021

User-Generated Content (UGC) is a honeypot for marketers. Top brands are already leveraging it to drive sales and boost engagement on social media. Yet, UGC remains an untapped resource for many small business owners.

The best value of using user-generated content is that it’s practically free and is more influential than product descriptions or ads. According to the UGC platform, Stackla, 79 percent of consumers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, making it one of the most effective marketing strategies.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is potentially beneficial content produced by your customers that speaks for your brand. It includes comments, reviews, articles, images, videos, Instagram Stories, tweets, or any other form of content created by users.

You may have heard that nothing matches the power of "word of mouth." In addition to words, user-generated content is a graphical representation of how your happy customers think about your products and share their experience on social media.

FashionNova, a US-based fast fashion retail company, leverages UGC (in addition to influencer marketing) to increase trustworthiness and engagement on Instagram.

Why Do You Need User-Generated Content?

For many reasons. User-generated content conveys honesty, reality, confidence, and most importantly, offers social proof of your products. It possesses the power to even sell to a non-prospect.

Here are some benefits of using user-generated content on social media.

1. Boosts Sales and Conversions

Your prospects get to see your products in action when you share UGC on social media. Positive experiences and thoughts from one happy customer generate a sense of trustworthiness and a solid reason to purchase your products. The result? More conversions for you.

2. Supplements Your Brand’s Content

You have plenty of user-generated visuals available at your fingertips. Go through each post shared on social media and choose the best ones that resonate most with your brand as a supplement to your content.

3. More Customer Insights

When you use UGC, you get a chance to peek into your followers’ response behavior. The insights will be able to tell you what works best for your brand and how you can improve your marketing strategy.

4. Creative Ideas for Posts

Your customers tell you how your product helped make their lives easier by posting about your brand. Sometimes they'll post creative and unique ideas to use your product that even you weren’t aware of. You can use those ideas in your marketing.

5. Signals That the Brand Is Open to Conversations With Customers

Every time you respond to your customers' posts, comments, reviews, etc. regardless of how they think about your product, it signals that you’re open and willing to converse with them. This, in turn, builds trust and fills the credibility gap.

Moreover, this excites your brand’s fans and loyal customers, as they would never forego an opportunity to directly interact with you.

How to Generate UGC-Type Content

You can generate UGC through contests, giveaways, and other forms of social media content.

By using reward as a motivation, you can ask your followers to start commenting, posting, and sharing content while tagging your brand hashtags on Instagram.

How to Use UGC on Instagram

There's more than one way to make use of user-generated content on Instagram.

Share UGC as reviews

A common way of persuading potential buyers to buy your product is sharing reviews on social media. And what’s better than sharing user-generated content as reviews?

Use UGC as proof of buyer trust and create a positive brand image. When new followers and potential customers see these reviews, they'll be more likely to purchase from you.

Here Buffer is promoting a tool feature by sharing positive feedback from one of their happy users:

Reshare Stories You've Been Tagged In

This will do two things. First, the creator’s thoughts about your brand, products, or services will reach a larger audience. And second, it will help in establishing and maintaining trust and engagement, as well as boosting sales.

Resharing stories also brings an opportunity to create a separate section on story highlights. That way, your followers can check out those stories at any time.

Best Practices and Tips for Using UGC on Instagram

While UGC comes with its own perks and benefits, a few tips and best practices can help you generate more value out of it.

1. Write Clear Instructions in Captions

When announcing UGC campaigns on Instagram and other social media platforms, make sure the post or caption has all necessary information (such as rules and conditions) clearly stated.

2. Share Content on Your Account with Prior Permission of Creator

Sometimes you might notice some of your brand advocates already talking about your brand on social media and tagging you in their posts without you actively campaigning for it.

If you want to use such content from your followers or customers to share on your social media, as a best practice always seek their prior approval.

3. Always Use Hashtags

To ensure maximum reach of UCG campaigns, always include hashtags in your posts. Hashtags are a clickable word or phrase preceded by a pound (#) symbol, and they are a great tool to increase organic views.

If you don’t know which hashtags to use, download Hashtag Expert. It’s a hashtag search engine that generates the absolute best hashtags for your posts personalized to your account.

Also pay attention to how many hashtags you can use on each social media platform.

When leveraged properly, user-generated content encourages engagement and helps grow your audience on social media, in addition to boosting sales. Now that you know the tips and benefits of UGC on Instagram, it's time for you get started on this.

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