Done right, user-generated content can empower customers and fans to promote your brand – hello, free marketing!
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way for brands to build an online community, increase engagement, and to fill content gaps. 76% of users find content posted by other consumers to be more honest than brand content. This is important!
People love having their photos shared and getting attention from brands they love, however, brands need to ensure they are reposting correctly. You wouldn’t ask a professional photographer to take product photos for you and not pay them. Even if they are amateur photos, proper credit needs to be given.
Here are some best practices for properly attaining user-generated content:
Try to ask for permission.
This can be done in a comment or through a DM. Example, asking people to reply with #brandnamerepost or asking them to confirm that you can repost. Doing this ensures that the content owner knows you are using their photo.
Have a UGC hashtag.
Similar to above, ask users to use a specific hashtag if they want to be reposted or include the USG hashtag in your Instagram bio. If users choose to use the UGC hashtag, you know that you have permission to repost. Olapic’s survey found that 60% of respondents have used a branded hashtag, so getting users on board won’t be too difficult.
Give photo credit in the caption.
Just tagging them in the photo isn’t enough. At the end of the caption, make sure to mention which user you got the photo from.
Use a repost app.
Using an app keeps the quality of the photo, and copies the caption and username. While screen-shotting the photo is an easy fix, the quality isn’t great, and well all know about the benefits of quality photos on Instagram. You don’t need to use the original caption, but it’s handy to have the owner’s username ready to paste.
Make sure it matches your feed.
I talked about this in my Instagram series, but having a cohesive feed is important for branding, especially on Instagram. When choosing USG content, use an app to make sure it will match. You want the posts to flow so that you can’t easily pick out which is USG and which is your content.
Consider who your target audience is.
Make sure you are finding and reposting content that is appropriate for that audience and created by them. If you are targeting millennials, try to repost millennial users’ content.
See what well-loved brands are doing.
When in doubt, look at brands that are doing USG right, and mimic them. It’s never too late to start and I truly believe that all brands can benefit from using USG. Here are some to take a look at:
- Roots Canada
- Starbucks and Starbucks Canada
- Chapters Indigo
- Parabo Press
- Day Designer
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a lawyer and cannot speak to the exact legal implications surrounding this topic. This is information I have learned from observing brands on social media.