You’ve probably heard it before: People who love your business are your best marketers! There is word of mouth, of course, and how loyal customers can get evangelical about your products and services. There is also something called user-generated content, which is a marketing goldmine with its snowball effect when it comes to engagement, and the level of authenticity and inspiration it can bring to your brand.
The trick is curating the right type of content to share, and doing so in a way that’s legal. In this post, we look at 5 ways you can get more organic, user-generated content for your business, but first, let’s settle what is considered user-generated content and how to use it with your Instagram marketing strategy.
User-Generated Content Examples
Have you ever been on GoPro’s Instagram page? It’s almost 100% user-generated content with amazing shots, extreme action videos and gorgeous locations. GoPro found the absolute best way to speak to its audience of 17m adrenaline junkies, and do so without creating a single piece of content.
This is the power of user-generated content on social media; It can put your products, services and brand in the best light, which is your customers’ perspective, and that can be more validating than most marketing efforts. The trick is to make sure your account remains cohesive and on-brand in terms of tone, style and colors, and the positive aspects you want to highlight.
How To Get More User-Generated Content On Instagram
1. Ask, Collect And Organize
This one’s a no-brainer… If you want more user-generated content on Instagram, you should ask. The best way to do this is through a branded hashtag, front and center on your Instagram bio, and then used across your account and content. If you have a physical address, you can also set up a kind of photobooth or selfie station to encourage customers to take photos and tag you.
Just remember 3 things. 1) Don’t share things that don’t align with your brand image. 2) Be careful with posts that have children or alcohol and other controlled substances in them; People don’t usually like these shared online. 3) Before posting anything to your feed, story or Instagram highlights, always get written permission to avoid legal complications.
Once your branded hashtag becomes popular, you can also consider a social listening tool that will track every time your brand name or hashtag is used across social media and you can then find the content that people are creating.
2. Brainstorm On A Contest Idea
Have you heard of Dwayne Johnson’s #SlowMoChallenge? It was a contest run by the professional wrestler-turned-actor in 2017 for his production company, Seven Bucks Productions. Basically, he challenged people to apply the iconic Baywatch slow motion to any everyday activity and the best video would win a trip for two to the Baywatch premiere.
Fans responded with all kinds of slow-mo videos, creating a huge database of content, and here is the best part: If you’re hosting a contest and people enter it with your designated hashtag, you have their implied permission to use the content they create.
Done right, this is a fast and surefire way to generate a lot of content fast.
3. Consider A Second Account Dedicated To User-Generated Content
There is a lot of merit to one brand having multiple Instagram accounts. After all, Instagram is all about visual content and storytelling, and sometimes all the stories you want to tell don’t fit under one umbrella.
This is why despite being one of the most followed accounts on Instagram, Nike also has other accounts like Nike Sportswear, Nike Football, Nike Women and so on. And if you’re in a niche where you can really leverage user-generated content, a second account is worth considering, and you can build a campaign around that, giving people a chance to be featured.
4. Build A Community Of User-Generated Content Creators
Instagram is a social media platform so it’s perfectly acceptable to reach out to people who produce great content and collaborate. Usually, Instagrammers feel flattered when brands are interested in their posts, but if that’s not enough, you can always offer an incentive.
This does not have to be something financial or product-based; Often people will be happy with a shoutout or something that brings more traffic and followers to their own account.
5. Rope In Your Employees
And finally, an often underrated source of user-generated content is the people who work for you. Think about it: Who is closer to your brand than the people who contribute to its success everyday? Whether it’s through a branded hashtag or more creative liberty, encourage your employees to share content and inspire conversations around your brand. This is what T-Mobile did a few years ago with its #BeMagenta campaign; The company put its employees in the spotlight, and that boosted their social following.