Struggling to produce content on scale? With this guide to User Generated Content you can get your customers to do it for you

What is UGC?

It is well known that creating content on social media is a key way to grow your business. With people like Gary Vee even going as far as suggesting 100 pieces of content a day. The most common question we hear is “How am I meant to make time for that?!”

Imagine a world where you could create content with little work or time. User Generated Content (UGC) is exactly what it says on the tin, content generated by the users of your service or product. This could be people posting images of your product, or reviews of the service you provide.

UGC is good because not only does it allow for different images of your brand to be shared online, but also shows that people genuinely use it! 76% of people find images posted by other users to be more authentic than content posted by brands themselves!

How?

I hear you asking but how? Plot twist, you can’t make UGC, but you can encourage it. There are 4 key ways to do this.

1- Give them a place to take photos

If you’re a physical location, be it an event, play centre, golf course or even hotel, you can set up an area for people to take photos. Not only are you encouraging and suggesting the creation of UGC, you can also make this area represent your brand to its full potential, whether that’s with your logo or with your mascot.

2- Suggest a hashtag for them to use

In order for you and other users to see the content being produced, you can suggest a #hashtag for them to post their images to! Keep this both unique, to make sure it’s just content meant for you on there, and also consistent so it remains in people’s minds. You can put the tag on your products packaging or posters around your location.

3- Offer reposts

To encourage people to post their own images you can offer the chance of a repost. As your brand grows the idea of getting reposted to your page will be a tasty prospect to customers, so they will want to post more and more!

4- Ask people!

Why not post on your products packaging or poster at your event asking them to share images to your hashtag!

How to put this to good use

So you’ve finally got to the point where your customers are sharing images or posts about your brand, the next part is using this content. 

1- Repost to Instagram Stories

The easiest way to use UGC on your own social media is to repost on Instagram Stories. You can do this by pressing the paper airplane icon next to the like and comment button on any instagram post. This maintains a clear link back to the original poster’s account. It is still however considered good practice to seek permission to repost in this way.

2- Repost to your main feed

Reposting to your main feed whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter is another great to way to show off UGC. Semrush say that engagement on your social media profiles can increase by 28% if you post a mixture of UGC and your own content! You do however need to be careful as you could run into copyright issues with the original author if you don’t get permission or post credit in the right way. We will discuss this further in the next section.

3- Use in printed materials

You can also use these images produced by your users in your printed materials such as banners, flyers and brochures! Once again you need to be aware of the legality of this so you don’t undermine another users copyright. 

Legal stuff to be aware of!

When it comes to using another users content you need to be aware of a few things! As with all images on the internet, the copyright or ownership of the image belongs to the original poster or creator. Remember you want your users to keep providing UGC so to credit them properly and ask for permission not only protects yourself legally but also shows that you appreciate the permission to use content.             

Airbnb for example use this template to seek permission from their users. By the user replying with #Airbnbphoto they are hereby agreeing with the terms and conditions and giving them the permission they need! A template like this might be what you need if you have intentions of using the UGC on scale! Failing that a simple message letting them know what it would be used for is sufficient as long as they come back to you and accept the terms. 

So that’s a summary of how you can use User Generated Content for your business. What will you do to implement the use of UGC in your business?