User generated content for retail


One of our newest social media experts shares three main aspects of her experiences on harnessing the power of UGC in Instagram.


Utilizing user generated content, or UGC, is an important and efficient way to share content on a retailer’s Instagram page. UGC is content that is created by customers, fans, associates or anyone who posted content and tagged the brand in a post.


I come from a retail background and was in charge of creating, choosing, and scheduling content for a main retailer’s corporate Instagram account. I basically lived and breathed UGC and content selection for two years. With the help of the social analyst on my former team, we were able to find the sweet spot in content selection. In this blog post, I’ll share three main categories: the benefits of using UGC, strategy behind UGC collection, and how the way you choose UGC is important.


Benefits of using UGC: There are many benefits from using UGC in a brand’s Instagram strategy, that’s undeniable. Not only does it provide a bank of content to use when you’re a little light on content, but it also is a more humanized content, rather than produced. Think of it this way, it’s like the content your friends post as opposed to professional studio marketing images. That being said, a post of a smiley woman with a cute outfit on performed over a post of a smiley model who was photoshopped to perfection with a cute outfit on. Why is this? In my previous experience, I found that Instagram users were a lot more likely to engage with a photo if it doesn’t look produced because it’s more relatable. From a survey done by Olapic in 2014, they found that 63 percent of consumers trusted UGC photos rather than brand-created images. Of course, this doesn’t mean to solely use UGC in your retail Instagram marketing strategy. Although social media is ever-changing, flatlays, lifestyle content, and video content historically performs extremely well, too.


Strategy behind UGC collection: UGC collection is an aspect that is usually pushed to the back burner when thinking about a retail brand’s social media marketing strategy. Yes, brands want UGC to use, but they forget that it needs to be asked for. An easy strategy for UGC collection is creating a campaign behind it. A curated hashtag that users can post with their image makes it easy for both the user and your brand. Users are able to use the hashtag when they post anything relating to your brand, while you are able to either search that hashtag and find the whole selection of UGC or use a tool that collects pages of the hashtagged images in a bank and lets you select from there. A few brand posts about the campaign will spark users to use the hashtag! One important disclaimer behind UGC is that you need to make sure you can legally use the images. Asking permissions on the photo is essential to miss out on any legal issues.


Choosing UGC: An important task behind UGC is choosing what to use for your brand’s Instagram page. Although you want to use UGC to humanize the brand, you also want to make sure the UGC is elevated. Clarity of the photo, brand rightness, and quality of the photo is super important and can make or break how professional a brand’s page looks. For example, while doing the social media at my last job, I had issues with UGC photos being too edited, too filtered, not brand right, not natural, etc. Picking the most natural, unfiltered post was usually the smartest choice. All of these factors come into play when you want a photo to perform well on your social platforms.


Need more guidance on UGC or other proven tactics? Contact us, we’re ready to help.

Sign up for email updates!

By signing up, you agree to receive emails from Flint Group. Unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Questions?