A great way of getting your customers more engaged in your business and social media, particularly Instagram, is by making the most of user-generated content.
Tintup describes user-generated content as “any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand.” And… businesses can use this content for their own socials. It is beneficial for two main reasons:
- The main advantage, in our eyes, is that it encourages people to post about your brand. If they see a lot of user-generated content and reposts on your platforms then they are encouraged to share their own images etc. in order to get recognised and noticed. In an age of retweets, likes, and followers, being of the upmost importance, user-generated content can be very appealing.
- It allows your brand to choose from a huge range of incredible content without having to put in the hard work and creativity yourselves.
A great platform for user-generated is Instagram. Instagram encourages a wealth of creativity and provides incredible amounts of free content to consumer, this means user-generated content on Instagram is rife.
Examples of user-generated content on Instagram
Massive brands take advantage of user-generated content by creating their own hashtags and competitions in order to get their consumers to promote their brand. Take Adobe for example, every month they create a new hashtag that encourages people to enter their competitions in order to be featured on their pages. This month (February 2019), creatives and users can add the hashtag #CreateYourStory to their images to enter a competition to be featured on their Instagram account. Their bio currently says ‘Everyone has a story to tell. This month, we’re exploring what inspires you to #CreateYourStory. Share your work using the hashtag & tag @adobe‘. Then, every few days, they share somebody’s image. With almost 900k followers, being featured on their page could do incredible things for somebody’s career for example. Plus, their account looks incredible. Check out these examples.
Gymshark’s very clever with its user-generated content on Instagram. Not only have they built their social media empire from scratch but they continue to use influencer marketing and content marketing in the form of user-generated content to an extreme. In January they started a ‘competition’ with the hashtag #Gymshark66. The aim of the competition is to share your progress or changes over 66 days (apparently, the time it takes to change a habit). The change can be anything from drinking more water to going to the gym consistently. The hashtag now has over 173 thousand posts on Instagram! This is an exceptional amount of content. Plus, if you’re lucky, Gymshark will repost your images. The prize? Gymshark clothing for a year, obviously!
Whilst it’s great to see brands like Adobe and Gymshark doing such amazing things with user-generated content, it’s an incredible content marketing tool for smaller businesses too.
A recently launched clothing line by the blogger Megan Ellaby – Saturday by Megan Ellaby, posts images from users wearing the jumpers. These are often bloggers, or people in the fashion-industry that won’t have been ‘paid’ for the content (although the item may have been gifted). This content isn’t encouraged by hashtags like Gymshark’s campaign but the content is shared by simply tagging the account @saturday_bymeganellaby in the post. These two posts below are from the Instagram account, one is from a micro-influencer with around 20k followers, but the other is from a user with just 500 odd followers. This disparity between user content is what makes this account so special, both professional content creators and average customers are having their images reposted to promote the brand to the masses and encourage everybody to share and tag the account in their posts. Plus, all the images are colourful and aesthetically pleasing.
If you haven’t heard of The Happy Newspaper, you need to! Grown and created by Emily Coxhead, The Happy Newspaper is a quarterly newspaper with lots of happy news and encouraging stories. They also have a lot of branded merchandise such as mugs and cards, all with happy and encouraging messages. Whilst a lot of their Instagram content is brand content, they frequently share images that other people have posted of their newspapers and merchandise, this not only creates variety in their content but again, encourages customers to share images of their products and purchases with the hope of being reposted.
Again, another reposting account is Lucy and Yak. This brand create independent, sustainable, and handmade dungarees. What’s not to love? They use the shopping features on Instagram (see the shopping icon on the left hand corner of the photo) but don’t just use models in their content. These two posts have been taken from other people’s accounts of them wearing Lucy and Yak clothing. Similar to Saturday by Megan Ellaby, the account uses their average customer’s content to promote their products, and uses the shopping feature to do so. This is quite common for clothing brands, and is something Topshop also does (although these are mostly posts by well known fashion bloggers).
All these examples of user-generated content on Instagram have been hugely influential elements of their digital marketing strategies, and have made their Instagram grid look amazing! If you have a small, medium, or huge, business could you implement some user-generated content? Perhaps in the form of a hashtag or sharing and reposting user content on your account? It can be such a valuable content marketing tool and clearly, it works for these businesses of all shapes and sizes!
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