How To Use User Generated Content to Get More Instagram Followers


Do you want to get more Instagram followers?

Who doesn’t?

Here’s the good news, Instagram is still a great and easy platform to increase followers.

A question I get a lot from businesses is: How do I get more followers and what should I be posting?

Many make the mistake of only posting quotes thinking that it’s the short cut to success. While that’s okay, being repetitive can be boring. It doesn’t help you stand out.

What should you do then?

The answer is utilizing user generated content a.k.a. UGC.

What Is User Generated Content (UGC)?

UGC is content created by others (creative people, your fans/followers, etc.)

On Instagram, UGC comes in many formats. You can get it by sharing others user’s photos, running photo contests, product or reviews, etc.

Why bother with UGC?

According to Nielsen’s research, 43% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after learning about it on social media via UGC.

Furthermore, your fans might even be better at capturing stunning images than you.

This is key because, on Instagram, it’s all about posting images that stand out. Using the right UGC can help your Instagram account stand out and get more followers.

As fans, getting published on brands or businesses page is an accomplishment. How do I know? As a customer, I too want to be on their page. It’s bragging rights for me that my photos are great enough to be featured, and it helps me to get more followers too.

In this guide, I’ll show you how you can use UGC to your advantage and get more Instagram followers.

1. Find a niche / angle

The first step is developing an Instagram niche or angle for your business.

Take @coffeenclothes for example, their Instagram account shares content of fashionable people with their daily coffee. It’s an angle that clearly focuses on fashion and coffee.

coffee clothes

Imagine if you own a cafe, you too can utilize something similar to that theme.

Here are a few questions to answer:

      What do you want others to associate your brand with?
      What is your company culture?
      Are you a fun brand or a professional brand?
      What do your employees think about your brand?

    The good news is you can still change over time as you learn more about what your audience love. However, it’s important to start right because it sets the tone of what your Instagram account is about.

    If you don’t have any ideas still, do read some examples that I have below from going through different types of accounts.

    2. Create and set a consistent tone

    Step two is all about setting the right, relevant tone consistently.

    UGC is all about letting your customers or fans do the talking for you. But they can’t speak if you don’t show them what your brand is all about.

    Here’s what you can do:

    i. Take photos of what you want your products to look like

    If you’re good at photography, you can start by sharing content of what you want your theme to look like (e.g. black and white, outdoor photos, etc). Share images according to the tone you’ve decided and do this constantly. This will allow others to get an idea of what they should be sharing to be featured on your page.

    ii. Find content from other creatives
    If you’re not an excellent photographer, you can find content from others instead. This is suitable if you’re a service company or an individual page. What you can do is snap and share pictures from other accounts.

    What you can also do is ask them for permission before sharing their pictures. This will allow you to create a personal relationship with them.

    How can you attract more UGC from fans?

    i. Get the basics right.

    It’s important to get the basics right. This includes sharing your hashtags in your bio and let people know that you’ll share pictures of people who use your hashtags.

    Be sure you use your hashtag in your photo captions too.

    ii. Be active in the community

    Your community won’t know about you if you don’t participate. If your business focuses on travel, find active hashtag within that community (e.g. #wanderlust) and engage with the users on that hashtag. Leave your digital footprints by liking and commenting on their photos.

    I did this for a client recently. It started slowly but the momentum soon snowballed into an active community of people hashtagging our page in their photos.

    I recommend you spend at least 10-20 minutes a day doing this. The more time you devote to doing this, the more useful it will become.

    iii. Organize a contest

    If you already have fans who love your product, attract more content by giving away something in exchange for their content. People love free stuff from brands they support.

    How do I know? I participate in them often. In fact, I launched my contest recently and had over 600 entries.

    Get your fans and followers to share their content and get them to use your hashtags. Winners will then be given something while the rest will be featured on your page as time goes on. This helps you to spread the word on your Instagram page.

    Think of this as an incentive to get them moving.

    Great examples of profiles and businesses utilizing UGC

    1. Kapten & Son

    Kapten & Son is a lifestyle watch and sunglasses brand. On their Instagram page you’ll find that they set their tone right with the type of images they generate and will gladly feature UGC of the same ilk. When a UGC hits the tone of their brand you will likely see it on their page.

    kapten son

    2. Buffer

    Buffer is a scheduling platform business which features photos from their community on their page. People can tag the hashtag #bufferstories to be featured. They have some of the best images from some amazingly talented users on their page. In fact, UGC plays a big part in them doubling their Instagram followers.

    3. Cammi Pham

    Being a social media marketer and avid traveler, Cammi not only shares images from her adventures, but she also shares images from other travelers on her page. For me, she has one of the best accounts with an average of 3,000 likes per photo.


    Summing up:

    Today’s customers trust content from a UGC more than they trust branded content. UGC comes across as honest, reliable and relevant. As an avid online shopper myself, I too visit brands’ Instagram accounts and look through their content before deciding to purchase.

    All that professionally taken product shots becomes boring after awhile. Yes, their products can be beautiful when handled by a professional hand, but what we really want to see is how it stands in the hands of you and me.

    UGC doesn’t have to be hard. Once you’ve put in the hard work to set everything up, it will be second nature to you.

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