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Five Ways to Incorporate User-Generated Content into Your Social Strategy

Olivia Fitzpatrick
October 7, 2020
Last Updated On
August 4, 2022
Handbag laying on its side with items slipping out

User-generated content (UGC) can be a tricky pillar to tackle in a social marketing strategy. While brands are often tagged in hundreds, sometimes thousands of images per day, building out a strategy for sourcing and repurposing this content on Instagram can be overwhelming. The accessibility to glossy photo shoots and real-time content has become limited, forcing brands to turn elsewhere for relevant content. Why not rely on those massive brand fans already tagging you in great photos and videos?

Why Is UGC Important?

First things first, it’s mandatory for us to discuss UGC’s importance in terms of existing within any brand's social media strategy. One of the main reasons it’s important is because it helps diversify your feed and fill in gaps where your team may be lacking inspiration or new products to feature. The second main reason UGC is important is that it shows your followers and customers that you’re present and care. Reposting customers' shots on your feed shows them that you’re listening and can even give them an incentive to purchase and photograph your product if they want to be featured on your feed. Overall, UGC is a mutually beneficial relationship for everyone involved and we’ve outlined five simple yet effective ways to incorporate UGC into your brand’s social strategy and the brands that are leading the way.

1. Celebrate Your Fans

Let’s start at square one. No brand would be anywhere without the happy customers who keep coming back. We’re talking about those fans that not only buy your product, but talk about it, recommend it and, of course, post about it. Consumer marketing studies have shown that 84% of consumers trust peer reviews and only 23% said the vendor was influential in their purchases. It’s time to tap into those organic fans who are already creating great content for you and foster those long-term relationships that result in repeat purchases.

UK activewear brand Sweaty Betty is no stranger to showcasing community content in-feed and connecting with its audience. The brand frequently features users who tag them in videos of themselves getting active in Sweaty Betty apparel, showcasing the customer experience and celebrating those who interact with them on social.

Sweaty Betty customers working out

2. Partner Up

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Incorporating UGC from other brands you already work with can be a great way to dip your toes into repurposing content. Not only does it showcase a brand partnership or campaign, but builds out a mutually beneficial content library as well. Retailers are a great example of this. Oftentimes, a retailer will repost photos and videos from a brand they stock, saving time on content creation, while showcasing product shots they might not have been able to produce themselves.

Though beauty retailers are often known to incorporate this into their UGC strategy, delivery company, Deliveroo, deserves a shout for putting a new spin on the partnership content. Constantly repurposing photos from the restaurants and chains they partner with, the result is a series of mouth-watering food shots that fit seamlessly into their feed.

Pizza with orange drinks

3. The Magic of Video

There is no one more knowledgeable about your products than the people who use them day in and day out. These fans know everything there is to know about product usage, product compliments, and application hacks. We know that consumers increasingly trust their peers over traditional brand marketing tactics, especially in an Instagram-filtered world. Incorporating video UGC not only showcases and inspires brand loyalty but allows future buyers to envision it fitting into their everyday lives.

Beauty brands, like Benefit Cosmetics, have caught on to this. Benefit regrams content from makeup artists who feature their products in tutorials, creating a full feed of quick “how-tos” right at any prospective customers’ fingertips.

4. (Hash)Tag, You’re It

Some of the most simple hashtag campaigns have gained brands thousands of pieces of user-generated content and, in turn, garnered millions of organic reach. Creating a unique brand hashtag makes it fun and easy for users to get involved and generate buzz. It doesn’t have to be complicated—just an easy way for fans to connect with their favorite brands and for brands to reach a larger audience.

Redbull often features users who tag their action-packed content with #givesyouwings. The hashtag has over 433K posts attached to it and some of the top posts have over 1 million views, providing Redbull with a plethora of amazing content in one click.

Redbull video of man jumping out of room into water

5. Level Up

Maybe you already incorporate user-generated content from Instagram onto your feed and you’re ready to level up. Why not try leveraging UGC from Instagram on your website? On-site Galleries are a great place to repurpose UGC and convert your audience. You can share mini slideshows of photos users have tagged you in (with permission), showcasing brand loyalty and building trust among those on your website in the consideration process.

Beloved handbag brand Anya Hindmarch hosts a carousel of UGC at the bottom of its home page, featuring adoring fans with the brand’s products and allowing them to shop the pieces with a simple tap.

Dash Hudson UGC dashboard

Get Started Today

So, where to begin? Using Dash Hudson allows brands to quickly surface and sift through hundreds of @mentions and photo tags, as well as request content rights to ensure proper permissions are in place when you share the posts you love. Discovering and repurposing great content created by organic fans saves brands time, and money, and builds trust among consumers. Dash Hudson helps foster meaningful brand connections by surfacing this content with campaign reporting to allow you to create a seamless UGC strategy. Time to get regramming.


Why is UGC so successful?

UGC is so successful because it helps take the predictability and formula out of a brand's social presence. By integrating real customers' or influencers' photos into their feeds, brands can show users that they are an interesting and engaging account to follow and interact with and that there is a possibility of being featured yourself. 

How do you promote user-generated content?

If your brand is looking for more UGC, it may be time to change your strategy. If you can create content or buzz around your brand that gets people talking, that is a good start. Additionally, you can try running contests to get users to submit their images. 

What is an example of UGC?

A standard example of UGC is when a person has either bought or received a product or service and then makes a post (photo or video) about it. This can be as simple as a person purchasing a new sweater from a brand, and then making a video about the sweater and tagging the brand in it.

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