Utilizing user generated content (UGC) is a popular method of creating engagement on social media. This is especially true for Instagram, where UGC has become a big focus for plenty of brands.
User generated content offers a ton of benefits to the brands who are able to successfully incorporate it into their social media marketing campaigns. In some cases, it’s even relatively easy share it with your entire audience. It’s sometimes, however, a little harder to actually find great UGC to share on Instagram.
To provide you with an abundance of places to look for UGC, we’re going to go over 5 ways you can find content to repurpose on Instagram.
Benefits of User Generated Content
Using UGC on Instagram has a whole host of benefits.
The first is obvious; when you’re sharing user generated content, that means that you aren’t creating it. Even with the effort that goes into finding it, getting permission, and adding your brand’s touch (often in a caption), this still often doesn’t even begin to compare to the time and effort many brands will put into a single post that they would have to create from scratch themselves. This can save a lot of time and, depending on the brand, a lot of money.
Using UGC is also a great way to build rapport and loyalty in your followers. If they see that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and value it, they’re going to be more excited about your brand. Even if you don’t necessarily share something of theirs, many users will be partial to brands who acknowledge and seem excited about their followers on social media.
Finally, UGC can create a flood of engagement. Plenty of users would love for their content to be featured on a brand’s profile, and if they see that you’re sharing a lot of user content, they’ll be more inclined to start creating and posting, too.
How to Find User Generated Content to Repurpose on Instagram
Finding content to repurpose on Instagram isn’t nearly as hard as some brands might think before trying it; thanks to Instagram’s (and other sites) search engines, it’s easier than ever. Here’s 5 great ways to find content to repurpose on Instagram.
1. Ask for it
Asking users to create and post specific content with a specific hashtag is a highly effective method to encourage user generated content to be shared in a way that you can track. You’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask, after all.
Share a post on Instagram asking users to create and share their own post. While it doesn’t have to be all about your product, the content you ask for should have a basic theme or storyline (like “Share a picture of how you make your turkey for Thanksgiving with #mykindofturkeyday”), which makes it easy for users to participate and requires less effort to think about what to post.
In my experience with Instagram marketing, it seems like users are much more likely to engage and share posts if given relatively specific instructions instead of vague ones that don’t have a specific “theme” and don’t ask directly for users to share and create posts.
Since users have created content on your request and used a hashtag, they’ll be even more likely to allow you to share it with your audience.
2. Hold a Photo Contest
If you have an engaged following, holding one photo contest on Instagram could result in a flood of user created content that you can use for a while. Contests can tap into a competitive motivation while also offering an incentive in the form of a prize (even if that prize is a gift card in a small amount, or to have their content featured online, etc.).
When you hold a photo contest on Instagram, make sure to set specific rules and remind users that they’ll only be eligible if they use a specific, branded hashtag. It’s also best to ask that they make their post public.
Once the contest is over, you can search for the hashtag and announce winners and share their content. Even after this, many users will be happy if you contact them later and ask to share their images, too, so keep the hashtag handy.
3. Search for Hashtags
When in doubt, search for posts with a hashtag heavily related to your business. Plenty of users will create content related to your brand and describe it with relevant hashtags instead of tagging you. In this case, you can search for a specific branded hashtag (example: #loveloft) or the name of your business (example: #loft, #loftoutlets).
While this may turn up some content that isn’t actually relevant—maybe someone posted a picture of their new loft apartment, for example—it’s an effective way to find a good store of UGC with users discussing and interacting with your product or brand.
Though you should always ask for permission before using UGC, it’s particularly important here, where users weren’t motivated to create it by you directly. Comment on their post and ask permission; you can ask them to do this with another, more specific branded hashtag to make checking on the status of permission easier.
4. Go Off Instagram
Not all the UGC that you repurpose on Instagram has to actually come from Instagram. You can find content on multiple platforms and repurpose it into an Instagram post.
Some common places you can find content to create into UGC or user-focused Instagram posts include:
- Other social media platforms, like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter
- Blog comments
- Reviews (which we’ll discuss in our last tip)
- User created videos or vines. These can be found on multiple social media sites, and if used with a user’s permission, can be popular.
- Fan art
Keep in mind that Instagram doesn’t just need to have posts that are high quality photographs; you can use videos, visuals with text, and user-created GIFs.
Twitter is one of the best places to find and generate conversation about your brand. Users may tag you and/or use your branded hashtag, making it easy to find the conversation. Facebook’s search engine can also be helpful to find recent discussions users are having about your products (with an increased likelihood of images). Whether they’re posting images, videos, or just text, you can use what they share on Instagram (again, with permission) for a great post.
5. Find Reviews
Plenty of businesses feature reviews and testimonials on their site; they often encourage clients to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, and other social media platforms. User created reviews can be powerful motivators to help drive new customers to purchase from you, and they can be adapted into UGC for Instagram. When your store of UGC is running low, turning to reviews can be a great idea.
You can find reviews in a ton of places, but one of my favorites is Facebook; you can easily reply to the review to ask for permission to use it to create content.
Some brands have been creating custom images and adding the text from reviews to them; this creates content that is Instagram-friendly thanks to the unique image while still keeping the focus on the customer’s opinion.
The key to reviews will be finding user reviews that are either brief, or have great snippets or “soundbites” you can pull from them; while long and extensive reviews can help your case on Google, they’ll be way too much text for Instagram users who are there to focus on the image.
Utilizing user generated content offers a lot of benefits, including the ability to increase your number of followers and your engagement on Instagram. It’s a good practice to add to your social media marketing strategy, particularly when you’re focusing on Instagram. With these 5 strategies and places to find great UGC, it’ll be easier than ever to find content to repurpose on Instagram—you just have to look.
What do you think? Is UGC a part of your marketing strategy? Where do you find great UGC to share on Instagram? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!