With consumers today creating more content than ever before, the most important driver of Instagram sales is UGC (User-Generated Content). It is extremely important for brands to get more customers creating branded content.

Of the three types of content on Instagram (Owned, Paid, and Earned),  Earned media or UGC (User-Generated Content) continues to be the strongest performer in terms of engagement.  For most brands, UGC tends to show 5-10x higher engagement rates, and many brands see average engagement rates of >20%.

That is an order of magnitude more engaging than a brand’s Owned posts, which typically get 1-2% engagement.  It makes sense since these posts are more authentic and targeted towards peoples’ individual networks.  And now, since consumers create so much content on social, brands actually get far more Earned content than Owned content.

However, unlike Owned and Paid content, many brands don’t feel like they are in control of their UGC performance.  If they need to drive more impressions from their Owned or Paid content, they just create more posts or adds.   How can a brand get more UGC?

Fortunately for brands, they are in control of their UGC destiny, and these simple social strategies help brands control how much UGC they receive.

Here are 5 ways brands can get more UGC.

1 – Engage with Customers

If a brand’s customer is going to create branded content, they want validation that the brand notices that content and appreciates it.  For most people, getting noticed is one of the top reasons they tag the brand.  Acknowledging people after a post via a repost, like, or comment is the best way to positively reinforce tagging the brand, and this activity signals to the rest of your audience that they will be rewarded for engaging.

For smaller brands, you might be able to repost (to stories or feed) every high quality post that you get tagged in.  For larger brands, focus on strategic posts.  Gymshark, for instance, focuses on reposting people that have tagged the brand for the first time.

Across brands, our analytics show that if you repost someone to stories or feed, they will start tagging the brand 40% more.

2 – Create UGC Contests

A great way to kickstart a UGC strategy is with contests. There’s no faster way to show your audience you care about UGC and build the habit of creating high quality content than a stimulating contest.

Contest guidelines:

  • Visual and Engaging Prizes.  It needs to stop your audience and drive them to create content.
  • Call to Action – High Quality UGC.  Ask for interesting content that will define your brand.
  • “Instagram – Worthy”.  Don’t ask customers to tag you from the dentist’s office.  Instagram is for visually stimulating content.

 

3 – Create an Ambassador Program

A more consistent way to drive organic, high-quality UGC is with an ambassador program.  Creating an ambassador program with a focus on content generation will ensure that your most valuable customers are setting the example for UGC.

Just like with other types of UGC, repost and engage with ambassador content to positively reinforce high quality UGC and show everyone that you are building a community around customer content.

4 – Offer Rewards for Posting

For brands that want to create a super-charged UGC community, the most impactful way to drive more UGC is to offer a reward to everyone that creates it.  This creates an immediate feedback loop with all of your customers.  Once they complete their buying journey, a brand should let a customer know that they will be rewarded for posting about their product.

Incentives like automatic discounts, points, product, or charitable donations for posting will give your customers the nudge they need to start posting about the brand.  And once they join a content-driven rewards program, they post over 50% more frequently.

 https://shopplanetblue.com/pages/rewards

5 – Measure the Results

Whether they are getting thousands of posts a day or less than a hundred posts a month, brands need to measure their UGC volume to see how effective their UGC strategy is.

Did you just start consistently asking customers to create UGC?  Did you run a contest last month?  Just like any other type of marketing, if you cannot consistently measure the results and evaluate what’s working, you won’t be able to make any long-term progress.

For every brand, the beginning of your UGC growth story should start with measurement.  That way, the end can include an executive presentation that shows a graph going up and to the right.

If you want your brand to start getting more UGC, LoudCrowd offers simple, lightweight solutions to create contests, ambassador programs, or social rewards programs.  We also can help you measure the value of your UGC and your customers creating it, to make your UGC a true marketing asset.  Contact [email protected] for more information or request a demo today.

About LoudCrowd

We believe that the most effective way of marketing and selling your product is through word-of-mouth marketing.  Currently, the best (and most engaging way) for brands to scale word-of-mouth marketing is through User Generated Content (UGC) on social platforms like Instagram.  LoudCrowd helps you analyze your UGC and incentivize your customers to grow it.

About the Author

Gary Garofalo is a marketing focused technologist and the CEO of LoudCrowd. He’s spent his career focused on analytics, strategic consulting, and building technology companies.  When he’s not writing about social media, he spends his free time reading, lamenting over the risks of climate change and artificial intelligence, and playing pickleball with the LoudCrowd team.