Written by James Westfield
UGC (user-generated content) strategies are fast becoming staples in the world of Instagram. UGC can amplify your marketing campaigns and drive conversions for your brand.
According to recent statistics, 79% of consumers claim UGC has a major impact on their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, 74% of consumers rely on information they find on social media to make their purchasing decisions. These stats combined highlight the powerful impact both UGC and social media have on consumers.
This guide will give you the low-down on Instagram UGC strategies. You’ll learn what UGC is and how to implement it into your campaigns.
What Is Instagram UGC Marketing?
Instagram UGC marketing means using content Instagram users create for your marketing campaigns. This content could be images, Reels, Stories, or reviews, to name a few types. Brands use UGC on Instagram to promote their brand or products.
Brands can use user-generated content that has already been posted. For instance, sharing a customer’s relevant Instagram post.
Alternatively, brands can request their followers create Instagram content for them. An example would be running a competition and posting entry results on your Instagram channel. Or getting followers and fans involved in a campaign.
This is exactly what Apple did with their #shotoniphone campaign. Apple wanted to build trust in the quality of their iPhone cameras. To do this, they asked iPhone users to take photos with their phones in low-light conditions, as shown in the example below.
This is Apple’s Instagram strategy. Their entire feed is made up of user-generated content. They simply reshare the posts uploaded through that hashtag on their official profile. They also tag the creators behind each post.
This is a powerful Instagram UGC strategy you can replicate. You’ll just need to create a creative hashtag and engage your audience to start producing the content.
Launching UGC competitions can create a buzz around your brand. This generates excitement and a sense of community, encouraging more people to start producing UGC. It’s a great way to encourage brand loyalty, too.
Why Should You Use UGC Strategies on Instagram?
Here are some compelling reasons why you should use UGC strategies on Instagram:
- Provides authentic content and genuine perspectives: By posting content from a genuine user rather than an actor, model, or influencer, you share real-life experiences with your brand. Seeing real people interacting with you makes it easier for consumers to trust you and your claims. It essentially provides social proof, a powerful purchasing motivator for potential customers.
- Increases reach and brand awareness: UGC can come from and be shown far and wide across the net. Users simply need to use your unique hashtags to link themselves to your campaign. You can actively encourage followers to do this and to share their content with your followers, too.
- Boosts engagement: You can create an engaged community using UGC. Actively engage with customers and followers, especially those who create UGC for your brand. Respond to the posts made by your customers and reshare some of them on your official website. This will drive more engagement while encouraging more customers to produce additional UGC.
- Cost-effective and creative content: When people are passionate about something, their creativity can really shine through. And with the rise in generative AI, users can get super creative in producing content.
When you launch a UGC campaign, you’ll get a wide variety of interesting and creative content about your brand for free. This content can make up part of your marketing campaign. Not only will it reduce your marketing expenses, but it also gives you more leverage since the content doubles as social proof.
That covers why you out to create an Instagram UGC campaign. Let’s now go over how exactly you can create a powerful user-generated content campaign for your Instagram.
3 Strategies to Encourage UGC on Instagram
To get UGC, you need a strategy that encourages your existing customers and Instagram followers to produce the content. Your strategy should make this process fun and seamless for your followers. This can be achieved in 3 effective ways:
1. Create a unique hashtag
One of the best ways to encourage customers to produce Instagram UGC is to create a unique branded hashtag for your campaign. Hashtags are a convenient way for users to submit their UGC. This is especially useful if you’re running competitions.
Starbucks does this exceptionally well during its annual ‘Red Cup’ contest. Starbucks fans submit photos of themselves with their festive red Starbucks cups. They use the branded hashtag #RedCupContest in their submissions. Participants are in with a shot of winning a Starbucks gift card.
Here’s an example of one entry:
Hashtags allow brands to develop fun and creative ways of engaging with their audience. They can become an identifiable component of the brand personality.
To hone in on the perfect hashtag for your campaign, some good old-fashioned brainstorming is in order. Have your objectives in mind, as well as your target audience and the type of content you’re looking for. Be as creative as possible and encourage users to be creative with their content.
Once you’ve decided on a hashtag that reflects your campaign objectives, you’ll need to get people involved. Include the hashtag in every piece of UGC you post. You should also include a call-to-action now and again to entice more people to submit their UGC.
2. Host Instagram lives and Q&A sessions
Instagram Live was launched in 2016 and has been a game-changer for brands. The feature helps brands broadcast live and host live Q&A sessions with their audience. These can be used for fans to ask questions about your brand or products. The questions and contributions from your followers can make for great UGC.
Hosting an Instagram live is also really simple. Follow these steps.
First, open the Instagram Stories Camera. Then, swipe across until you see a Live button at the bottom of the screen, like the one below.
Tap this to begin streaming.
While on the live stream, you can view and track questions by clicking on the question mark box, as shown in the image below.
Choose which question to answer, then select it.
You can end the session by clicking on the X and selecting End.
Below is an example of a brand, Chewy, hosting an Instagram Live Q&A session. Chewy sells pet care products online. They use Instagram’s live feature by giving live tutorials about how viewers can look after their pets.
This particular session is called Vet to Vet Live. Viewers can get professional advice about caring for their pets via the Q&A feature. Hosting sessions like these has helped Chewy firmly establish itself as an expert in its niche.
So, what can we learn here? While going live on Instagram is a simple process, you must come up with interesting topics for the live sessions. Live Q&A sessions are undoubtedly engaging, but they’re not your only option.
You can also do a live session to popularize your Instagram contests and hashtag campaigns. You could hop onto a live with an influencer to discuss your latest challenge, for example.
That brings us to the next point.
3. Collaborate with influencers
Instagram was the top platform for influencer marketing in 2021 out of all the other social media platforms, according to a Statista report.
Furthermore, as explained in an eBook by Influencer Marketing Hub, 92% of marketers consider influencer marketing an effective marketing strategy. Combine influencer marketing with UGC, and you have yourself a perfect recipe for Instagram success.
With an influencer UGC campaign, brands pay influencers to promote their campaigns and encourage their followers to get involved. This will help the campaign gain traction and exposure. Besides helping you gain more followers on Instagram, this collaboration will get more people producing UGC for your brand.
Influencer marketing is an excellent way to extend your reach. However, it can be expensive. If working with an influencer is beyond your brand’s budget, consider working with professional content creators or a micro or nano influencer instead.
These are influencers with a smaller number of followers. However, the reach potential is still impressive, so they can help you achieve your campaign’s objectives.
Instagram provides ample opportunity for brands and marketers to share their company stories, ideas, and highlights. UGC is a cost-effective and highly impactful way to do this.
Social media users enjoy sharing their creations to garner more likes and followers. This explains why platforms like TikTok have been so successful. You can tap into this to encourage your followers and potential customers to produce UGC for your brand.
This article shared 3 ingenious ways to do just that. Create a captivating hashtag, host live Q&A sessions, and collaborate with influencers.
James Westfield is the Marketing Manager for Writer, an AI writing platform designed for teams. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry. When James isn't in the office, you can find him on the golf course.