May 18, 2015 Last updated on September 29th, 2020
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A few months ago, we talked about UGC (user-generated content) on Instagram and how to unlock its power. Today, we come back on this subject with updated facts and tips.

Instagram has grown more than 300 million accounts by the end of the year 2014. On average, 70 million of photos are shared on the social network. Still believe no one is posting about your brand?

Understanding your audience

According to our latest Instagram Study: 73% of users are under 35 years old (27% are between 15 to 20 years old) making the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, the predominant one on Instagram.

If you want to learn more on this generation and the role that Instagram is playing for them, we’ve written an article on the importance of Instagram for the Millennials.

It is important to know how to reach and engage with them.

This generation informs itself via social media, with the help of user opinions on different websites and word-to-mouth. The mass-media advertisements done by radio or TV does not speak to them as much as it did before. They trust individuals and mostly their peers. And this is where UGC takes place.

What is User-Generated-Content?

User-generated content (UGC) is defined as “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites”.
Instagram seems to be the platform for User-Generated-Content on pictures / videos.

Why use UGC?

First of all, using UGC makes the brand less “mercantile-oriented” and more “human”, close to its fans. By using UGC your brand will its engagement rate to new higher levels.

Let’s take a look at one of the best examples of UGC – Starbucks. With more than 20,8 million media posted with the hashtag #starbucks, it makes it one of the most used brand hashtags.


When we search for posts containing “#starbucks” we only see true User-Generated-Content (more than 20 million hits). This is a fine exemple of a brand that understands perfectly its target and their habits.

Some may say “it’s just a bunch of pics” others may say “Whoa you have a whole fan base posting for you”.
I would say “Yes! Our fans get us”, and when you have this “movement” – people creating and sharing content for you – it can only be the beginning of something great.

What is interesting with UGC is that you can analyse the content that is created by your fans. It can teach you about their habits and you can learn from your community, your direct consumers and fans: what are their interests, their habits, their choices. Who knows, you might discover new insights from your community and develop new marketing strategies.

Why User Generated Content? What are the benefits from all this?

Many reasons can make your brand want to generate UGC, we’ve listed a few here, starting with:

1) Gaining authentic content
2) Increasing your digital content
3) Collecting content from your most loyal fans
4) Consumers see the difference between paid and earned media, thus making UGC a much more trusted form of advertising.
5) UGC is also an opportunity for true brand development thanks to the helps of your fans.
6) Developing your brand loyalty
7) With UGC, you have the capacity to influence purchase decisions.

According to the study we conducted last month “76% of Instagramers declare that receiving likes encourages them to publish more. 65% of users would feel flattered or honoured if a brand liked one of their post”

Reposting UGC from users on your account encourages them to do more.

How to generate UGC?

A lot of methods exist to generate UGC.

1) One of the most simple is an Instagram Contest. With our experience in hosting Instagram contests, we can firmly state that every brand that makes a contest, generates UGC, but not only. Organising contests helps you engage your community, enhance your brand awareness and allowing you to get more followers.

In our latest study, we show that “70% of Instagramers have already taken part in a contest or might do so. 33% of them think that the easiest way to enter is to post on an official hashtag”.

One good UGC exemple is the contest done by Leuchtturm1917 with the specific hashtag #RedNotesLT1917 which generated more than 1600 User-Generated-Content for the brand.

Leuchtturm1917 contest

With our powerful contest tools, we help you understand even more your community, understand the effects of your contest and the reach you have (and much more including monitoring and moderating the content)

2) Create a specific Hashtag for your brand. Implement it in every caption of the post you make, and then simply browse Instagram for your specific hashtag with our search engine. You’ll be surprised by what you’ll find!

Last fact but not least, we revealed in our study that “84% of Instagramers like receiving likes on their publications, 76% state that receiving likes on their posts encourages them to publish more”. Which leads us to the 3rd point:

3) Encourage users to do create UGC for you, by reposting existing User-Generated-Content. This will motivate your fans, as they have the possibility to get featured by your brand.

Were these tips useful? Do you know other tips? Share them with us and get featured!

If you are looking for advice on Instagram or contests ideas on Instagram, do not hesitate to contact us.

About the author
Anthony Clasen

Anthony Clasen

Anthony is Customer Success Manager at Iconosquare, based in Limoges. He spends his days helping Iconosquare users get the best out of the platform by guiding them through the different features and matching them with their specific needs. He is originally from Cyprus and speaks (more than) four languages fluently.

More posts by Anthony Clasen

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