One of the best ways to grow and build a community on Instagram is by giving opportunities to your followers to create User Generated Content (UGC). Essentially this means that you are asking them to create content that you can share on your platforms, without them really realising it. Not only is it a great source of content for your account, but it also allows you to strengthen relationships and build a community the more that people get involved.
1. Ask past customers for a review or recommendation
This is an obvious one, and I’m always amazed at the number of people that don’t do this. If you have great reviews and comments from past customers or clients you absolutely need to be putting those on your Instagram grid and into a Stories highlight. This is your social proof! It’s so important to have it clearly visible to anyone that discovers your Instagram page. It’s true, you may have it on your website already or on your Google listing, but you need it on your Instagram page too. You need to capture the people who aren’t at the stage where they are going to progress to your website (yet).
2. Repost images of your customers using your product or enjoying your service
When you get tagged in an image or a story, repost it! You could be sitting on a goldmine of content and not even realise it. Make sure you are checking your tagged content regularly (see image below). If there are some images that would look great on your grid, ask if you can repost them! Just remember to tag the original account into your post.
3. Run a selfie or a photo competition
If you want to run a competition, but also want some content you can re-post, then consider a photo-based competition. The prize is up to you, and be sure to do a grid post that covers the rules of the competition thoroughly. You can find competition guidance from Instagram here. Perhaps you could ask your followers to take a selfie of themselves either using your product or doing something that reflects your business ethos? (Recycling, drinking Vegan milk, reading with their kids etc). Remember to create a specific # for this competition so you can track entries and collate the images that would be great for your feed or stories.
4. Ask in advance for reviews and posts of your product or services using your branded #
Before you post your product to your customer or start your event, be sure to have some printed material that asks them to post to their Instagram with a photo and to tag you in it. Be clear, simple and precise with your requirements. The easier you make it for people, the more likely they are to participate. You could even offer an incentive to make this idea even more attractive! Doing this consistently should provide you with a continual stream of quality User Generated Content.
5. Start a hashtag campaign
Consider starting a campaign that supports your brand values that you know others would get involved with. So for example, you might be an eco-friendly business and start a hashtag to encourage reusing old packaging. This could then not only be a source of content for your own Instagram page but as others get involved and use the specific hashtag for the campaign, you will be able to share a lot of their content as well.
By trying the methods above to create User Generated Content on Instagram you are encouraging your followers to become cheerleaders for your brand. You will be building on your social proof and ultimately getting more exposure. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Please let me know if you try one of these methods, I'd love to hear how you get on.