How Fashion and Beauty Brands Can Use User-Generated Content to Drive Engagement on Instagram

 

Be honest: do you ever find yourself being just a little bit jealous of another fashion brand’s Instagram feed? Post-envy is a real phenomenon (and if “post-envy” isn’t already a thing, we totally just coined it). Most brands, especially newer fashion and beauty brands, can’t help but wonder how other brands in the same space have such well-curated and beautiful feeds. Featuring amazing product shots, authentic testimonies, globe-trotting locations must cost those brands tons of money in production every year, right?

Wrong.

 

For fashion and beauty brands, it’s less about spending millions of dollars and more about:

  1. Choosing the right social media platform to focus your efforts on
  2. Creating opportunities for your biggest fans to create user-generated content (UGC)

Easy enough, right?

 

Instagram > Facebook for Fashion and Beauty Brands

There are three main reasons why fashion and beauty brands should cultivate engagement on Instagram over Facebook:

  • Demographics
  • Visual Appeal
  • Consumption Habits

Demographics
When it comes to the demographics, Instagram can lay claim to the bread-and-butter of most fashion and beauty brands. Worldwide, 16% of all female internet users are on Instagram (10% for men).

On top of having a strong female base, 59% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29. This makes Instagram one of the most powerful platforms for reaching the female millennial demographic. More importantly, for many millennials, Instagram (and not Facebook) is the platform of choice when it comes to checking out the latest fashion and beauty brand content.

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Visual Appeal
Most people don’t go to Instagram to see an inspiring shot of a new web hosting server or financial portfolio.

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Since day one, Instagram has been all about visual content. The better the shot, the more engagement the image receives. Users have been trained to seek out great looking content to scratch that visual itch. In many ways, this gives fashion and beauty brands a leg-up over other industries, as their products are all about showcasing beautiful visuals.

Consumption Habits
Everything on Instagram is presented in consumable bites. Users can spend 5 mins or 5 hours on Instagram, making Instagram a perfect time-filler for the fashionista that is looking for a little shopping inspiration while waiting for her Uber driver.

 

Why User-Generated Content vs. Regular Brand Posts?

Most marketers are aware of the Facebook algorithm that keeps 98% of their followers from seeing their posts, but you might be surprised to learn that Instagram uses a similar algorithm to determine how many of your Instagram posts are seen by your followers. In fact, 70% of a brand’s Instagram posts don’t get seen by a brand’s followers.

User-generated content helps brands get around this gap in visibility. By encouraging your fans to create and post their own content to their feeds (highlighting your brand or product, obviously), you’re able to gain some facetime with their Followers. Even more so, you can then share that UGC to your own branded feeds.

Fashion and beauty brands need to make UGC a major part of any content publishing mix. Fans are twice as likely to share user-generated content with their friends and family. On top of that, posts that feature UGC have a 28% higher engagement rate.

The UGC bounty doesn’t stop there. 76% of individuals surveyed say they trust content shared by “everyday” people more than content shared by brands. Nearly all of consumers surveyed say they trust the recommendations of others.

This increase in trust carries straight to the bottom line. Fashion and beauty consumers that see a UGC photo have a 4.5% higher chance of converting into a sale.

More UGC = More Engagement = More Sales

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How to Encourage Instagrammers to Create User-Generated Content

Photo submission contests are the perfect way for fashion and beauty brands to dip their toe into the world of UGC. In a photo submission contest, your brand’s fans and advocates post their own pictures to their Instagram feed based on any criteria you set. That could be: 

  • Showing how to use your beauty product to get ready for their Saturday night out
  • Highlighting how your products match their favorite style
  • Leaving a testimonial about what they love most about your fashion or beauty brand

The possibilities are endless.

Once posted, the user then tags the photo with a branded contest-specific hashtag (or two). This makes it easy for the brand to find all the submissions, while also helping consumers and contestants check out the images as well.

Your brand can then feature UGC on your Instagram feed during the contests, as well as showcase the winners and runners-up at the end of the contest. Just be sure you have permission (either in the rules or by talking to the Instagrammer themselves) to post the image.

Pro Tip: While you can message and work one-on-one with Instagrammers, we recommend managing your UGC campaign through a brand advocacy platform (*cough cough* like SocialToaster *cough*). Using an advocacy platform allows you to better scale your efforts, communicate with hundreds or thousands of advocates, and quantify your efforts automatically.

 

SocialToaster makes it easy to encourage your Superfans to create user-generated content on your brands behalf. Schedule a demo to learn more!