User-generated content is a powerful form of marketing for any brand. It allows you to strengthen your relationships with followers and customers and broaden your online presence.
Around 86% of millennials believe that user-generated content (also known as UGC) is a good indicator of a brand or product’s quality. UGC speaks volumes more about your brand than your own content.
With an average of 60 million + images uploaded to Instagram every day, making Instagram one of the biggest platforms for sharing and finding UGC.
Instagram plus UGC equals marketing gold.
What is User Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content (UGC) is content created by individuals outside of the business. It’s authentic and created by people who love your brand.
Interested in adding UGC to your social media content mix?
To learn the best practices for finding and using UGC, here are the six best brands that dominate user-generated content on Instagram.
Airbnb is known for its captivating images of user-generated content, in fact, almost all of Airbnb’s social media content is UGC. The only time you’ll see something fully branded from Airbnb is in its ad campaigns.
Every day, Airbnb shares UGC from around the world, asking questions, and making suggestions to their followers. Developing a discussion with wanderlust travels who might be interested in bookings with Airbnb for their next stay.
A picture is worth a thousand words
It may seem like a simple task, but this marketing strategy has helped to create Airbnb’s online culture. 61% of marketers said authenticity is what makes content marketing most effective.
Airbnb’s UGC Lesson: Select the Best Images
UGC. Can represent how people genuinely feel about your brand (for better or worse).
Let’s be fair; not every UGC is worth a repost. Try to find the best images that represent your brand and repost them on your social media pages.
Here are a few guidelines for selecting UGC images or posts:
1. Pay Attention to the User’s Profile: You want to make sure the person’s profile matches your brand values. If your followers view the personal profile tagged to the image, they shouldn’t be caught off guard by the person’s own personal values.
2. Check the Caption: It’s easy to get distracted by a good photo, but what the caption says is also important. Read through and see if it’s all words of praise or hint of sarcasm. Also, check to make sure your competitors aren’t mentioned or tagged.
3. Get the Perfect Product Picture: UGC doesn’t always need a face or person present. It can be a creative layout and setting, just be sure that your products and label/logo are prominent at first glance for good publicity.
Luckily, today everyone wants to be an influencer, so it’s become much easier to find content that puts quality at the forefront.
Still need help to decide what kind of UGC to post? Check out this article on how to use User-Generated Content effectively.
Adobe Photoshop is another account known for sharing and publishing UGC on social media platforms. Each post highlights the tools, features, and the artist in the caption.
Adobe has mastered the art of soft social selling by showing off not only the creative community but also developing discussions and features that put them as the primary focus.
65% of customers agree that UGC is more interesting than the content created by brands. Which explains why Adobe makes little to no effort to sell Adobe products or its monthly subscription. Instead, they let the art do the talking, drawing in each follower.
Adobe Photoshop UGC Lesson: Always Tag or Credit Your UGC
We’ve all heard the term “sharing is caring.”
It’s true; sharing is caring for both the followers posting UGC and the brand reposting it.
People want to share content on social media as badly as they want to be recognized for it. So give your followers some props!
Customer Insight Group and Latitude Research found that people share for these five main reasons:
- To bring valuable, enlightening and entertaining content
- To define themselves to others (and to themselves, too)
- To get and stay connected to others
- For self-fulfillment, to be credited by others for what they shared
- To support causes they believe in and brands they like.
That’s how important sharing and having content shared is to people.
Which leads me to my next point.
Ask for permission.
I’ve noticed a few big brands have skipped this part, well except for brands like Whole Foods and GymShark. As much as people love sharing content, it’s their content first and foremost, even if your brand is tagged in the picture.
After you’ve gotten permission, give your fan credit for their content. It’s become a social media etiquette to tag people in UGC on your page. This encourages people to keep sharing content and tagging your brand. It says, “Oh, We notice you.”
Xero is an accounting software that’s mastered the holy trinity of social media marketing; community, branding, and most importantly, UGC.
Each post speaks more about the customer, their mission, and the results of supporting the community that surrounds them.
Scroll through each post, and Xero’s tools or services are never really mentioned. Only the customers they serve.
Xero’s UGC Lesson: Share Real Experiences
Social media was originally meant to be social. Social selling was just something that we all stumbled on.
Today, people buy experiences, not products.
Customers want to hear more about experiences and stories; they buy into a concept or an idea rather than the product itself.
Sharing real experience also humanizes your brand
Maybe you’ve considered using storytelling for your social media marketing, but you don’t know where to start. Look at these 20 Creative Ways to Use Social Media for Storytelling.
Preview is an app for editing, filtering, and cropping images to your Instagram’s aesthetic. So naturally, they use their social media to show off all their users’ Instagood feeds and post.
Did you know custom hashtags help you to find UGC
Preview also has a custom hashtag, #iPreview used by fellow previewers for Preview to find their content.
Instead of waiting to be tagged or lurking around on Instagram or Twitter, promote a branded hashtag that allows you to see content in your explorer feed easily.
Preview App UGC Lesson: Openly Ask for UGC
Over 50% of consumers want to be told what sort of UGC to create.
Yup, it’s that simple. Letting your followers know you’re open to reposting or the type of UGC you want can send them into a creation frenzy.
Preview has been reposting UGC since the first day it created its Instagram page, but now and then they still ask followers to send in UGC. Check out the post below:
If your followers are camera shy when it comes to providing UGC, you can host a giveaway. Ask customers to submit UGC to enter. Once you’ve selected your winner, you can ask for permission to repost your followers’ favorite giveaway entries.
Super Goop is a sunscreen beauty company that prides themselves on their trending hashtag #butfirstsunscreen. Unlike the other UGC brands listed so far, Super Goop publishes a content mix of promotional, educational, and UGC to represent their branding.
How do you create the perfect content mix?
When you’re planning your content strategy (for marketing or social media), you want to consider the content that represents your brand. Here are five types of content to consider:
- Industry expertise: Focus on what your business does best and provide advice to your target audience.
- Brand focus: Highlight what your product or services do for your customers and how you’re shaping your niche.
- Audience goals: What does your audience want to accomplish? For example, if you’re in fitness, talk about how the gym can get you closer to your fitness goals.
- Audience interests: If you sell sports gear it means your audience might be interested in tips related to their sports. You are balancing your industry expertise and their interests.
- Free resources: What kind of resources or freebies can you provide your audience? Think of Ebooks, quizzes, giveaways, or infographics.
SuperGoop UGC Lesson: Get Testimonials From Your UGC
UGC can be a great platform for real testimonials. Testimonials and reviews from customers are the icing on your content cake.
According to BigCommerce, the regular use of customer testimonials can help you generate roughly 62% more revenue.
Maybe you found the perfect image for your UGC, but the caption is lacking. Reach out to the person and ask for an honest review.
Glossier has been listed as one of “The Social Media Brands to Follow” by marketers consistently over the past four years. Their social media marketing success boils down to their simple but effective content mix of branding, audience interest, goals, and UGC.
One of the key contributors to the brands success is how strong Glossier’s color palettes is for spot-on branding, even with its UGC. Ragan says that 80% of brand recognition regularly comes from color impression alone.
Glossier UGC Lesson: Use UGC to Get Customer Feedback
UGC can also be a safe medium for customers to give feedback and suggestions on products you might want to consider for your next sale or product idea.
Think about it
Your customers are already talking about you, why not control and direct the conversation to you?
You can get customer feedback by reading through the comments. You’ll be surprised what customers have to say about you through the content they share. It also allows you to reply and show off your superb customer service skills.
Ask for what you want. Let your customer know that you want to know what and how they think about your products, from dm’s to the comment section.
Building a community, consistently posting and monitoring social media, can feel overwhelming. But with the help of a loyal following and fans, UGC can take away from the day-to-day content struggle.
But with great power comes great responsibility, so consider these six things when curating UGC for your brands:
- Select the Best Images
- Always Tag or Credit Your UGC
- Share Real Experiences
- Openly Ask for UGC
- Get Testimonials From Your UGC
- Use UGC to Get Customer Feedback
Which brand caught your eye on this list? What brands do you think should have been added. Comment below and let me know.
I’d love to hear from you.