User-Generated Content: What It Is And How To Use It

By Dr Larry Rosen, March 26th 2024
2 minutes read

Internet users come from various backgrounds, locations, and experiences. It’s what makes social media so engaging: new ideas and perspectives that breathe new life into each user’s unique content. 

For businesses and influencers, increasing your follower count is crucial—and leveraging follower content is a powerful way to build community and enhance your online platform. 

From gaining authenticity to building trust with your audience, knowing what user-generated content is and how to use it is a huge step in creating a more connected online presence. Here’s how to tap into the creativity and experiences of your audience to boost engagement and facilitate a more interactive environment between you and your fellow users. 

What Is User-Generated Content? A Quick Guide


User-generated content (UGC) is any content that is created and shared by users rather than brands or content creators. The content can take many forms, such as text, images, videos, reviews, and more. The term typically refers to content shared on social media platforms where users regularly contribute their own content. 


Examples of user-generated content include: 

What sets user-generated content apart from other forms of content is that it’s created entirely by users who are not directly affiliated with a brand or organization. It can be a potent tool for building community, particularly when businesses encourage users to generate content to be featured. 

By including UGC, businesses can create a space for like-minded individuals to connect and share the things they care about, while engaging with others in a community around a particular brand. 

The Many Benefits of User-Generated Content


With at least 95 million posts shared on Instagram each day, utilizing user-generated content involves harnessing an existing momentum with users who are already actively contributing and sharing content. UGC is simple for brands to feature and highly beneficial as a social media marketing tool.


Here’s why user-generated content is so valuable: 


User-generated content is one way to ensure your brand remains relevant while continuously evolving to keep up with the changing needs of your audience. 

How to Find User-Generated Content


With the capacity for creativity at anyone’s fingertips, finding user-generated content involves looking for the right things in the right places. To actively seek UGC, it’s helpful to explore different avenues that provide UGC such as: 


Use social media monitoring tools to track and check platforms for content related to your brand or a related topic of interest. Narrow your results with specific searches using relevant keywords. 

Of course, the BEST way to find user-generated content is to create opportunities for users to submit it. This is where a bit of strategy comes into play. 

8 Tips to Encourage User-Generated Content Submissions


Social media platforms are the go-to source for users looking to stay up to date with the latest and greatest in a way that feels fun, relaxing, and engaging. To encourage user-generated content for your brand, it’s crucial that your audience feels motivated in that same upbeat direction. 

Here’s how to make the process more enjoyable: 

  1. Develop unique and catchy hashtags related to your brand and its campaigns. 

  2. Regularly feature UGC on your channels, appreciating those who submit content. 

  3. Respond to comments and foster a dialogue that encourages users to share. 

  4. Create a dedicated place on your website or social media where users can submit content. 

  5. Host contests and challenges with prizes or incentives to motivate participation. 

  6. Partner with creators in your industry to promote UGC submissions. 

  7. Host virtual events where you can capture and highlight UGC. 

  8. Celebrate outstanding submissions by thanking them on your channels. 

Whatever you do to encourage UGC from your site visitors, make sure your efforts always align with your brand and keep your users engaged. The more appreciated your users feel, the more likely they will be to interact with your brand and, more important, contribute new UGC. 

How to Use User-Generated Content on Instagram


Instagram is all about the scroll. Your goal is to stop your audience from scrolling and spark a community-driven initiative where user-generated content can take center stage. 

Leveraging user-generated content on Instagram is one of the top ways to build community around your brand. These strategies can help transform your platform and use UGC on Instagram effectively: 


The key is to stay connected with your audience as you encourage user-generated content.. Keep an eye on brand mentions and tags, and regularly repost—with proper attribution—to show you’re engaged with what your audience shares.

Inspiration and Examples of User-Generated Content in Action



Wondering how UGC looks in the wild? These user-generated content examples showcase how big brands use content created by their audience: 

  1. Starbucks #RedCupContest

Starbucks runs an annual UGC contest encouraging users to submit photos with their iconic red holiday cups. The winners get featured on their official Instagram account. 

        2. National Geographic #NatGeoYourShot

Photographers can share their best shots using the hashtag. Selected submissions are featured on their Instagram page. 

        3. Airbnb Travel Stories

Airbnb features user-generated travel stories on their account, highlighting unique accommodations and experiences shared by users around the world. 

        4. Apple #ShotoniPhone

Apple features photos and videos captured on iPhones with their #ShotoniPhone campaign to highlight the capabilities of iPhone camera technology. 

        5. Lululemon #TheSweatLife

Lululemon encourages users to share their workout routines, gear, yoga poses, and other active moments wearing Lululemon apparel with the hashtag. 

These examples show how even the largest brands integrate UGC into their Instagram strategy, fostering engagement and highlighting how their broad audience interacts with their brand. 

Use UGC to Grow Your Instagram Account


Using user-generated content on Instagram is a powerful way to fuel the growth of your account. With these strategies, you can transform your platform into a hub of community-driven content and attract new followers who resonate with the authenticity of UGC. Your Instagram could be the next Starbucks or Lululemon by adding UGC.

We are aware that adding UGC may seem daunting but it’s not. We can help you elevate your Instagram account to drive growth and engagement. Learn how Superviral can help increase likes, comments, and views on your content and help you get more followers