Looking for new ways to get more user-generated content? Good!
Because authentic photos and videos from followers are arguably your best marketing assets.
The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the positive impact of UGC. Fact: a whopping 62% of people say that customer content directly influences their purchasing decisions.
We’ve seen firsthand how user-generated content builds awareness for brands at Statusphere. Content by people for people is trustworthy, authentic and perfect for social engagement.
Building a collection of share-worthy customer content doesn’t happen by accident, though.
That’s why we wrote this post highlighting how to get more UGC at scale!
6 Ways to Encourage User-Generated Content from Customers
Brands are going all-in on user-generated content campaigns because the value is clear.
The good news? Encouraging UGC doesn’t have to break the bank or be a total time-sink.
Below we break down the channels available for brands to gather more user-generated content.
1. Provide Places for People to Share Customer Content Directly
If you want ongoing UGC, promoting a branded hashtag is a solid place to start. This provides a place for customers to consistently tie their tagged posts back to your brand.
The keyword here is to promote! Sticking a hashtag in your Instagram or TikTok bio doesn’t guarantee a flood of customer content. Getting the most out of a branded hashtag means:
- Inviting people to use your hashtag specifically for sharing content
- Featuring the hashtag on your own posts so it’s familiar to your followers
- Showcasing your hashtag beyond social media (think: on-site or in emails)
For inspiration, let’s look at how Crate and Barrel promote their #cratestyle hashtag campaign.
Notice how the tag is front-and-center in their Instagram bio with a specific call to action to share photos and videos?
With over 78,000 tagged posts, this is a brilliant example of how to get user-generated content on Instagram. The company regularly republishes content from customers on their main feed.
Oh, and Crate and Barrel manage to squeeze more out of their user-generated content by also promoting #cratestyle on their website.
Fact: 22% of consumers note that customer-submitted photos on product pages encourage purchases. Featuring UGC on-site goes hand in hand with increased order values and conversion rates.
Source: Crate and Barrel
As an added bonus, the brand includes the option for people to upload photos onto their website directly. This highlights how to get more user-generated content from people that might not be super active on social media.
Source: Crate and Barrel
At a glance, hashtag promotion might seem like a passive way to encourage UGC.
The reality, though? Getting your hashtag off the ground requires active, ongoing promotion.
But once your tag takes off, you benefit from a consistent source of new customer content.
2. Don’t Be Shy About Asking Followers to Post About Your Brand
Food for thought: 39% of consumers say that invitations to post UGC make them feel more connected to a brand.
Translation? Never hesitate to ask your fans and followers to share their latest purchases.
You’d be surprised at how many satisfied customers would be happy to give you a shout-out. All you have to do is ask! Doing so is a valuable interaction that makes a lasting impression on your fans.
All you need to do is give your followers a little “push” to get the customer content rolling.
Check out how Ole Henriksen invited Instagram followers to participate in a posting challenge for National No Makeup Day. The brand asked customers to go makeup-free, create a Reel documenting their natural look and tag it with #OleMadeMeDoIt.
Source: Ole Henriksen
The result? High-quality, share-worthy UGC! Customer photos like the one below only happen when a brand has a strong connection with their audience.
This process also highlights how hashtags are crucial to your user-generated content strategy. With a tag, you can consolidate all your UGC in one place. Beyond that, keep your eyes peeled for notifications and tagged social media posts.
3. Empower Customers to Upload Photos in Product Reviews
It’s no secret that product reviews are make-or-break when it comes to shopping online.
Seeing is believing for modern buyers. In fact, 44% of shoppers claim that user-submitted reviews and photos create a more positive shopping experience.
We’ve all been burned by disappointing products, right? Customer photos provide much-needed proof to ensure people get what they pay for.
That’s why so many brands encourage user-generated content like photos and videos in online reviews. As noted earlier, the presence of UGC goes hand in hand with higher conversions.
Beauty brands like ILIA are crushing it right now when it comes to UGC on product pages. Check out their “See It In Real Life” review section that showcases their products in action.
Rather than scrolling through a wall of text, customers see untouched and authentic content from reviewers. These unfiltered snapshots are powerful. Not only do they signal how the brand trusts its customers but also how much loyal customers love ILIA’s products.
UGC-filled reviews also make it easier for people to visualize their products in your hands. In the case of skincare, potential customers might see someone with a similar complexion to themselves. This marketing strategy highlights how encouraging UGC can bring you closer to your customers.
4. Run Campaigns Dedicated to Collecting Customer Content
Remember what we said earlier about the power of asking?
Consider kickstarting your user-generated content strategy with a campaign based on customers submitting photos or videos.
For example, you might host a contest or giveaway that requires a piece of customer content or #hashtag post to enter. Chances are you already have your fair share of followers that’d be happy to submit.
Check out how RISE Brewing used a contest to get more UGC below.
Clear instructions? Check. Invitation to use a hashtag? Double-check. A great incentive? Yep!
Here’s another example of how to get more user-generated content via giveaways from OZ Naturals. With clear instruction and call-to-action, entrants know exactly what they need to do.
If you already have an active email list or social following, this type of content contest is a low-hanging opportunity.
5. Regularly Publish and Promote Your UGC Across Social Media
Keep in mind that simply promoting your UGC can result in more UGC.
How so? Think of UGC as having a sort of snowball effect. Sharing a customer photo, video or review serves as an unspoken incentive for others to do the same. On the flip side, you can use your customer-centric posts as a direct invitation for more UGC.
Beyond straight-up reposting, make a point to respond to customers that do tag you or shout you out. Doing so proves that you value customer engagement. These interactions require relatively low effort on your part but can result in long-term loyalty.
Also, brainstorm opportunities for you to repurpose and republish UGC across multiple channels.
Check out how Nellie’s Clean repurposes a positive customer review on-site into a branded graphic for Instagram.
See how that works? This illustrates how to double-dip your user-generated content without much legwork.
Below is an example from Versed which features an Instagram Reel of a satisfied customer. Note how the brand tagged the creator and gave her a glowing shout-out in the post’s description.
Once you’ve figured out how to get more user-generated content, don’t let it go to waste! Some of the best types of content to republish include:
- Unboxing videos
- Customer testimonials and reviews
- Product showcases, tutorials and how-tos
Note: Make sure your brand has the rights to any tagged piece of customer content before reposting it. When in doubt, contact the creator for permission via comments or DM. Crediting the content creator is always a smart move, too. For more tips and inspiration, check out our post breaking down the fine details of repurposing UGC.
6. Partner with Creators to Get More Promotion-Ready UGC
We’ve said a million times how effective creator content is for brands across social media.
That’s because creators go above and beyond when it comes to their posts. They know what their followers want to see and how to put brands in the best light possible.
Although creator content isn’t 100% the same as community UGC, both have the power to…
- Show off your products in action
- Build social proof
- Speak directly to your target audience
After all, creator content is still authentic. This is especially true if you build partnerships with smaller creators.
The upside of creator content is that it keeps its authenticity but your brand still has a sense of control when it comes to messaging and content strategy.
Maybe you want to promote a specific product on a certain platform. Perhaps there’s a feature or ingredient that you really want to emphasize to your audience.
Creators can make all of the above happen with their distinct personal trademark. Check out the post below from one of our own creators:
This post for The Dairy Free Co. feels authentic because it is authentic. When you empower creators with awesome products and creative freedom, they’ll be more likely to overdeliver.
Why Brands Need to Get More User-Generated Content ASAP
Figuring out how to encourage UGC should be a top priority for brands of all shapes and sizes.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. To wrap things up, let’s look at some statistics that highlight the need for more user-generated content among brands:
- Buyers are 2.4x more likely to see consumer-generated content as authentic in comparison to brand-created content. No surprises here. Products presented by real people create a connection that’s difficult for brands to pull off without creators.
- One-in-five shoppers watch customer videos specifically to see a product in action before they buy. Think of your social media presence as a digital shopping window. Does your social content help people imagine your product in your hands?
- 45% of consumers say that social content from friends and acquaintances helps them find “new and interesting products.” Consider that social media is a massive source of product discovery. The more people you have shouting you out, the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd.
Want to boost awareness, drive sales and create a meaningful connection with customers? Figuring out how to get more UGC can help in a big way.
How to Collect More UGC in Less Time (and With Less Effort)
There’s no shortage of ways to encourage more user-generated content from your customers.
Whether you want to run a full-blown UGC campaign? Need to put more effort into promoting your branded hashtags? Any combination of the tips above is fair game.
Providing a bit of direction and incentive to get your followers to post can put you on the path to customer content that’s worth sharing.
As far as the “best” method to get more UGC? It all depends on what types of content your brand is after. Also, your budget and bandwidth. While UGC can take weeks or months to build organically, creator partnerships are much more timely.
In our experience, creator campaigns are unparalleled when it comes to time saved and the quality of the content produced. One of the biggest benefits of working with creators is that you can do so at scale, too.
We know the whole process represents a ton of legwork. That’s where Statusphere comes in. We handle everything from finding relevant creators to putting your products in their hands so they can post about them ASAP. You don’t have to worry about outreach or chasing down permissions for posts. Want to see how the process works? Chat with one of our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists today to understand how we can scale your next UGC campaign from scratch.
This article was first published in August 2016. It was last updated June 1, 2022.