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Tap Into the Power of User-Generated Content

a hand taking a photo on a phone

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is social media content – photos, videos, etc. – that is related to your brand but created by other people. No one is paying for this content. It’s created organically by people who genuinely want to post about this topic.


What is the benefit of user-generated content?

UGC helps your social media audience feel seen, represented, and more connected to your brand’s community. These authentic customer feelings and opinions also can serve as testimonials for your business.


Where do you find user-generated content?

Search for your business name or related terms on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, or wherever your audience is active. You can also find UGC by looking at your accounts’ tags, mentions, and direct messages.

You can also run a UGC campaign, where you prompt your audience to share content.


How do you run a user-generated content campaign?

Generally, you prompt your audience via social media, in person, or through some other method of communication to create specific content. Think about what your audience might like to see on your brand’s social media channels.

Ask participants to tag your social media accounts, send content to you directly, or use a particular hashtag so that you can find the content easily.

For instance, if you ran a garden store, you might ask customers who have planted your products to share pictures of their garden. You can post these pictures to your store’s social media accounts to show off your plants.

Want to run a user-generated content campaign for your business but not sure where to start? Book an hour-long help session with Scenda.  


Tips for Getting Great User-Generated Content

  • Only make ONE ask and make it as simple and quick as possible. People generally don’t want to spend a lot of time or effort making content for brands, even ones they love. For your garden store’s UGC campaign, you might say, “Send us a picture of your garden,” not, “Create a video tour of all the plants in your garden.” A picture is faster and easier.

  • Don’t ask people to share anything too personal or private.

  • Ask people to share something they’re already excited to talk about.

  • Don’t ask people to make an ad. Directly asking people to share what they like about your business can feel icky to the audience. Instead, make your prompts fun and audience-oriented.

  • Avoid asking people to post content on their main social media feeds. People may be particular about what they post on these more permanent, curated channels. Instead, ask them to post content to their stories or send it directly to your social media accounts.

  • Instagram question boxes are a great way to gather text-based UGC. For instance, you can post a question box with the prompt “share your study tips,” then post responses to your story or turn them into anonymous graphics for Instagram feed posts. People place a lot of value in these responses since they’re from their peers, who they trust more than businesses.


How to Use User-Generated Content

If someone tags you in a post, it’s safe to repost using the platform’s features without asking for permission. For instance, if someone tags you in their Instagram post, you can share it to your brand’s stories without asking.

If you run a UGC campaign stating how you’ll use the content and someone willingly participates, it’s implied that you have permission to share their content. However, if content wasn’t posted as part of a campaign, if there’s any gray area, or if you want to use UGC in a way that wasn’t previously stated, you should ask for permission.

If you only want to use UGC on organic social media (not in an ad), an informal message of consent or verbal consent is usually sufficient. If you’d like to use UGC in a paid ad, you should have the creator sign a media consent and/or model release form.

When posting UGC, it’s good to tag and credit the original creator! Show people that this content was created by a real person, not your brand.


Want help with user-generated content or other social media tactics? Shoot us a quick message.

Scenda is a social media agency that uses month-long programs to help businesses set up, brand, and optimize their channels. Along the way, we provide tools, templates, and training so that after finishing the program, businesses can manage accounts on their own. Visit to learn about our services, and follow us on social media.


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