B2B Comms: User-Generated Content on Instagram
If you’re not familiar with User-Generated Content (UGC), this basically refers to content created by your customers and other contributors. The most common forms of UGC are pictures, videos and testimonials. B2B companies are increasingly utilising the potential of UGC featuring such content for example on their social media channels, including Instagram.
Why does UGC make sense on Instagram? Instagram currently has the highest engagement rate of all social media platforms and consumers rate UGC 35% more memorable and 50% more trustworthy than any other media. Also, 93% of consumers find UGC to be helpful when making a purchase decision. Interestingly enough, millennials are the biggest drivers , contributing over 70% of all UGC. But what if your audience isn’t made up of social-savvy millennials but of, let’s say, shrewd software or service purchasing managers? Read on to find out if Instagram is also an attractive platform for B2B communicators.
Why should communicators use UGC?
If you’re a professional communicator looking to improve the effectiveness of your social media strategy, there are several benefits that UGC brings to the table.
First and foremost, if you produce your own content for social media, it’s not only expensive but it also takes a lot of time. It can take from 6 hours to 4 weeks to produce a blog post or up to 4 hours for a single social media post. UGC, on the other hand, can be much more cost effective. And if you decide to create UGC-based ads, on average, they usually get 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click.
On top of that, featuring UGC on your social media also helps you generate leads and drive traffic to your site more effectively.
Last but not least, capitalising on UGC also boosts your engagement rates and gets more people talking about your brand. More specifically, studies show that brand engagement rises by 28% when readers are exposed to a mix of professional content and UGC.
Example of successful B2B brands leveraging UGC
First up, Hootsuite runs a fun “#IWorkFromHere” UGC campaign that encourages Hootsuite users to share how and where they do their social media work. This campaign isn’t overtly salesy but still showcases the benefits of using Hootsuite and promotes the company in a subtle way.
Then there’s social media management software firm Buffer. The company consistently curates images from its communities to present Buffer users at work while subtly promoting its own content and offering. Interestingly, this approach also encourages more engagement from their existing follower base.
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Finally, container shipping company Maersk Line won the award ‘Social Media Campaign of the Year’ for its UGC campaign at the European Digital Communication Awards. In this campaign, they engaged their followers in a fun game dubbed “spot the container” where followers would take pictures of Maersk’s containers and uploaded them on Instagram.
Best Practices: How to get started with UGC
If you want to maximise the success of your UGC campaign, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
Give your customers an incentive to create UGC
This is fairly straightforward – tell your customers what’s in it for them and you’ll generate more content in a short period of time. Many companies run UGC contests, but if you don’t want to spring for an expensive prize, you could simply talk about the “prestige” of being featured on your Instagram account.
Ask customers for permission before featuring their content
Even if you’ve stated in a previous post that customers who use your branded hashtag might get featured on your page, it’s likely that not all your followers would have seen that post.
Bearing this in mind, don’t assume you can simply use a customer’s visual on your Instagram. Instead, make sure you contact them and ask for permission before featuring their content. You should also link back to their account and give them credit for the visual in question within the caption.
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Create user-generated FAQs
A study by Forrester showed that 72% of customers prefer to use self-help options instead of reaching out to a company directly. As a matter of fact, B2B customers are self-reliant when it comes to researching information essential to a purchase decision. So set up an FAQ page framework which members of your target groups can use to post questions and answers themselves thus generating valuable content and engagement for your brand.
Promote third-party reviews
Identify the most helpful customer reviews and re-share these in your Instagram stories or account profile. According to statistics, 97% of consumers, which to some degree also include B2B buyers, agree that reviews influence their buying decisions – and 82% of them consider user-generated reviews to be valuable.
Make employee-generated content part of your strategy
Having trouble generating enough UGC? Instead of only relying on your customers, get your employees to join in the fun and generate content for your Instagram account as well. Also, brand-related messages are re-shared up to 24x more when disseminated through employees than by your brand page directly.
For instance, check out this picture that an IBM employee posted about her workday. After IBM shared this picture on their Instagram account, it quickly hit a whopping 1,500+ likes:
How to measure the ROI of UGC
When it comes to measuring the ROI of UGC, it’s important to look at the effectiveness of UGC both on and off Instagram.
First and foremost, compare and contrast your UGC Instagram posts to your non-UGC posts and determine which type is driving more engagement. Here, you’re basically looking at likes and comments.
On top of that, you’ll also want to evaluate the effectiveness of UGC in terms of generating leads and driving traffic to your website. While you can’t include clickable links to websites in your Instagram posts, you can do this on your Instagram Stories. Bearing this in mind, it’s worth experimenting with featuring both in-house produced content and UGC on your Instagram Stories. From here, track your click-through rate and the number of clicks you generate and benchmark the effectiveness of your UGC.
Finally, keep in mind that all UGC (not just the ones that you feature and re-post on your Instagram account) will help drive brand awareness. For instance, if you run a UGC competition on Instagram and you get over a hundred customers uploading UGC related to your brand, you’re basically generating Earned Media from all those customers.
A final word on using UGC on Instagram
PR pro and marketers have long pigeon-holed UGC as a B2C marketing strategy. True, there are plenty of amazing B2C UGC campaigns but B2B communicators can also successfully employ UGC tactics and content within their plans.