How to Use UGC on Instagram: Turn Fans into Advocates

April 18, 2023
Written by:
UGC on Instagram Strategies

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Today’s social media-savvy audience expects something more than perfectly manicured posts; they want a vote of confidence from fellow netizens. 

That’s where user-generated content (UGC) can help you. 

Loyal customers validate your brand's reliability by posting your products on social media. Reports corroborate this by stating how consumers find UGC 2.4 times more authentic than branded content.

User-generated content acts as strong social proof, raises brand awareness and helps you stand out among competitors. And for that, Instagram can be a potent platform.

Let’s say you received the bag of your dreams and now you can’t wait to show it off. What’s the first social media platform that comes to your mind? Instagram

But for budding and mid-size merchants, collecting and displaying user-generated content effectively may be a little hard to grasp. 

So, we are here to help make Instagram UGC easy for your brand by showing you all the ins and outs of this recent marketing buzz. 

What is UGC?

UGC refers to the original brand-specific content and is shared by unpaid contributors. It acts as virtual word-of-mouth and establishes your brand’s credibility. 

Many brands can tap into the authentic voices of their community to create a more engaging and relatable online presence. From customer reviews to social media posts and forum discussions, UGC can help your brand connect with your audience in a way that traditional marketing tactics simply can't match.

There are different user-generated content formats brands use. These include: 

  • Customer photos: Users post pictures with your products or swag related to your brand. 
  • Videos and reels: Customers documenting how they use your products, their experience with your brand, etc. 
  • Reviews: Consumers stating the overview, pros and cons of your product, customer service, etc. in text-based formats. 
  • Testimonials: People narrating their experience of being your customers in audio, video, or text-based format. These mostly include in-depth insights into how your products solve their problems. 

Suggested reading: Why is Content Moderation Important for User-Generated Campaigns?

How to use UGC on Instagram

While paid ad campaigns are quite popular on Instagram, the media-sharing virtual space is also a fantastic medium for UGC. Here’s how you ace the UGC game of Instagram:

  1. Encourage people to share with branded hashtags

Hashtags dominate Instagram. So, to maximize entries, create one that’s unique to your brand or a specific campaign.

Encourage your followers and customers to use your unique hashtag while sharing content. This will set you apart from your competition and make your campaign more visible. 

Hashtags make tracking submissions easy and offer you a long-term source of UGC on Instagram. All you have to do is search your hashtag on the platform and voila! You get tons of fresh user-generated content in no time. 

source: Calvin Klein

For example, Calvin Klein has created a dedicated campaign on their website, urging customers to share their looks on social media using their hashtag #mycalvins.

This has brought the brand a whopping 872,642 pieces of user-generated content. Darshan Somashekar, who runs social strategy at, suggests using hashtags. “We regularly vary the hashtags we recommend to our users. We find that some are more effective than others. The more it stands out and creates a sense of curiosity, the better.”

  1. Run contests or giveaways

To get the best user-generated content, you must get your audience excited about your UGC campaign. One of the best ways to do that is by starting contests and giveaways on Instagram. 

Contests are fun and easy and answer your followers' common question: “What’s in it for me?” Such initiatives will incentivize your followers to participate actively in your UGC campaigns. 

For example, if you run a contest that requires votes, the participants will post on their socials. That way, you get personal endorsements for your brand. 

source: Starbucks

Starbucks took this lane to conduct its UGC marketing and arranged the Red Cup Contest. The fan-favorite coffeehouse chain invited its followers to use its iconic holiday red cup to create unique designs, snap a photo, and share it on their Instagram. This strategy also added an extra layer of brand promotion since their logo is displayed in every image.

  1. Ask for feedback and reviews

Want to ensure the most authentic user-generated content on Instagram? It’s simple! Ask the ones you target for your products. 

Reach out to your customers through emails and social media, collect their testimonials, and showcase them on your Instagram. 

This gives you a chance to gather customer testimonials and enhance customer experience. Your consumer feels valued and you get to collect joyful experiences to showcase and criticisms to learn from.

Source: Glossier

Few brands come close to Glossier’s expertise in collecting and displaying UGC on Instagram. Instead of going in the general direction of polished ad campaigns, the beauty brand mostly depends on its marketing at UGC. Apart from posting the beauty routines of real people, it showcases customer feedback on its Instagram handle. 

  1. Showcase UGC in stories and posts

Create posts around the user-generated images and videos. Include a catchy caption and don’t forget to tag the creator. Showcasing UGC on posts and stories is an excellent way to increase engagement. It also incentivizes other followers and customers to create more content and get the chance to be featured on your Instagram. Win-win for both!

source: Instagram

For example, Aerie, a clothing brand, regularly features customer-generated videos on its Instagram stories and posts to showcase how consumers love its products.

  1. Repurpose UGC for Instagram
source: Instagram

Are you collecting testimonials? You can put them to good use on Instagram, like Alfred. 

To make the best of your UGC campaign, you need to track multiple channels to gather happy narratives, testimonials, and other user-generated content across multiple channels. 

Monitor review sites for testimonials. Use social listening to track Twitter threads on your brand. Then turn these text-based reviews into images and reels and share them on your Instagram. 

This way, you leverage all testimonials you get and extend their reach through repetition. It shows your audience that you have a wide fanbase and they like your brand enough to talk about it across different channels. 

  1. Reshare UGC to stories

Instagram population loves sharing videos and images over stories. Keeping track of that can bring you loads of spontaneous UGC to showcase. 

Capitalize on Instagram stories as much as you can. Found a fan raving about your new launch on Instagram? Share their post on your stories, like Camping With Dogs.

source: Instagram

However, before sharing, reach out to the creator and ask for permission (don’t worry, the answer is, almost always, an enthusiastic yes). You can also repurpose the user-generated content while sharing them on your stories.

As stories are only available for 24 hours, add them to relevant highlights on your Instagram profile. 

  1. Run polls and Q&As on stories

Another way of collecting authentic user-generated content is by conducting polls and Q&A sessions on your Instagram.

Apart from engaging your audience and starting conversations around your brand, polls are a source for conducting quick product research and gathering UGC. This way, you can see what products are their favorite, what they like about your brand, or how your brand helped them with their pain points. 

Host live sessions regularly and engage with your audience. This can be a good way of collecting customer feedback as well. 

You can host quizzes on your Instagram. This will also help you in collecting UGC. 

  1. Create UGC campaigns

UGC campaigns should be a regular part of your brainstorming sessions to leverage customer content in the best possible way. After each product launch or the company's new milestone, build relevant UGC marketing initiatives. 

This involves creating different contests and hashtags depending on different seasons, locations, and target markets. Diversify your tactics with each campaign. Schedule Instagram posts for every UGC campaign to ensure each starts on time, whether it’s around a holiday season or just a specific date.

Each new UGC campaign will let you collect fresh testimonials and increase your audience base. You can target different segments more effectively, maximizing impact. 

Simplify UGC with the right platform

source: Growave

User-generated content is more than a temporary wave. It can impact purchase decisions better than any skillfully crafted marketing campaign. 

So, it's no surprise that top brands now swear by UGC campaigns to reach a wider audience and drive more revenue. 

But for a budding business, handling the nitty-gritty of Instagram UGC marketing is not always easy. 

Do you find yourself lost in pursuing the perfect user-generated content? Growave is there to supercharge your Instagram game. 

It is an all-in-one marketing platform with features like social sharing and a shoppable Instagram feed. From collecting user-generated content to showcasing them to jazz up your Instagram, Growave will be your best friend in UGC marketing. 

And that’s not all! The platform’s advanced analytics will dig out the best-performing customer-created content so that you can get the most out of your Instagram presence. 

It's the perfect way to make your Instagram page stand out and build a community of loyal followers. So why not turn your fans into advocates and drive growth with Growave? Book a demo today!


Modern customers are becoming increasingly more mindful about what they invest in. In such a landscape, the sustenance of your business demands upfront and marketable authenticity. 

For that, conducting UGC campaigns on Instagram and other social spaces is your best shot. 

User-generated content raises brand awareness and enhances reach. It also makes a costly and tricky process like customer acquisition much smoother and more prudent. 

But to excel in UGC marketing, you need a solid strategy that aligns with your long-term business goals. 

Conduct regular audience research and never shy away from asking for feedback. Get creative with your hashtags and captions. Always keep the tone of your Instagram profile welcoming and on-brand. 

With proper tools, engaging initiatives, and a dash of creativity, user-generated content can be your marketing goldmine for establishing credibility as a brand.

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Frequently asked questions

What is Instagram UGC?

Instagram UGC is an app that easily integrates into you ecommerce store and builds your sales funnel on Instagram. With Instagram UGC you can display your Instagram profile in store, link products to your Instagram and feature user-generated content. You can easily convert shoppers through your instagram and feature your Instagram pictures on your main site.

Why should you use Instagram UGC?

There are several benefits to using Instagram UGC; it turns your Instagram into a shoppable store, it creates beautiful catalogs in your site and it provides a layer of authenticity with UGC. You can also turn your Instagram into an additional sales channel, while boosting your social media.

Can you customize your Instagram UGC app?

Instagram UGC comes with a few customization features; customer product tags in page, the style of your in-store display, a dedicated page, control over where images are displayed, and which images to display.

How does Instagram UGC feature in your store?

You can build customizable displays in your store on multiple pages, displaying your Instagram profile in your store. You can also control which images appears on page, which images are highlighted and content generated by users. Instagram UGC can also be used to create product tags on your images to monetize your social media.

Can you choose which images to display with Instagram UGC?

With Instagram UGC, you have full control over which images you wish to display, where they are displayed, and their layout.

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