7 Awesome Examples of User-Generated Content on Instagram

There are some awesome examples of User-Generated Content on Instagram.  We set out to find some of them for you to share in this post.

Here are 7 brands who have grown their presence online through the clever and savvy use of User-Generated Content.

Find out how these 7 Awesome Brands use User-Generated Content on Instagram
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Find out how these 7 Awesome Brands use User-Generated Content on Instagram
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Image by Shutterstock


What is User-Generated Content & Why Does it Matter?

User-Generated Content (UGC) is just what it sounds like – content generated by users. It's content created and shared by your community around your brand or product or message.There's one type of marketing that has taken off over the past few years. It's User-Generated Content.

Even though we might think of ourselves as master storytellers, the stories we tell about our brand can never be as powerful – or as prolific – as the stories our community tell about us.

If someone takes the time to tell a story about their experience with you, your destination, your product, your business, then they have an affinity with you.

Their story is worth 1000 times what you can say about your own business.  That's why user generated content is so powerful when you can tap into it the right way.

The Tourism industry is notoriously good at empowering user-generated content.  Australia set the scene with their #seeaustralia hashtag which grew their account to be one of the biggest Facebook pages for a destination (and then on Instagram too).

Destination Marketing Organisations around the world use UGC effectively to market across a range of social platforms. But what about other types of businesses?

Let's take a look at a few different types of businesses that are using User-Generated Content on Instagram in effective ways. They include software companies, and product companies (and of course, tourism).

User-Generated Content on Instagram that Will Make You Turn Your Head

1   Xero

Xero uses effective User-Generated Content on Instagram.
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Xero uses effective User-Generated Content on Instagram.
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Xero makes accounting fun on Instagram.

Xero is the accounting software that I use. I cry when I think about how many hours of my life I wasted with accounting in our two businesses before I started using Xero.

Cry.  Tears of loss.

Xero is amazing, and it almost makes accounting fun.  But, you might be thinking “why in the heck are we talking about them on Instagram?”.

Well, even an accounting software company can create great content!  They do it by not posting about accounting software very much at all. Even though their software is awesome. 

They do it with User-Generated Content on Instagram.  They do it by telling the stories about the small businesses all over the world using Xero to save time and get more done!

It's like “Humans of New York meets the Accountant”.   Meet the guys from The BoardRoom NZ:


They also showcase “Xero Businesses” through products they create – sharing great products and a story about the product or business.

The Hashtags

Xero use the hashtag #DoBeautifulBusiness as their key hashtag, along with #Xero and #XeroCustomer.

They also tag their customers in the post so you can find and follow them.


2   Airbnb

Airbnb are one of the most successful Instagram accounts using User-Generated Content. In fact, they are almost 100% based on User-Generated posts.

Airbnb's Instagram account using User-Generated Content
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Every day, around the world in multiple locations, their team asks the simple question to users. They find great photos and videos shared with the #Airbnb hashtag, and ask:

Why did you travel?  Where did you stay?   What did you find?  – AirBNB

Airbnb curates the stories of thousands of people with User-Generated Content on Instagram.

They get permission to share the content and use the answers to these questions to guide their storytelling.

Eric Toda (Global Head of Social Marketing) describes it like this:

It's our job to listen, understand why you travel, and tell your story back to the audience that's following us – Eric Toda.

Airbnb do a great job of showcasing the stories of their guests, their hosts and those that provide local experiences.

and of course they share all sorts of Airbnb properties from the quirky to the super small:


The Hashtags

AirBnB use a number of hashtags for User-Generated content on Instagram. These include the #AirBNB Hashtag but also #NotYetTrending (to feature unique, not-yet-discovered places).  Their hashtag #LiveThere also taps into the wonder of “living” in a city vs just visiting… and how you can do it with AirBnB.

3  Frank Body

Frank Body use a lot of User Generated Content on Instagram
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Frank Body use a lot of User Generated Content on Instagram
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Be like Frank. Be Frank.

I have long admired Frank Body's use of User-Generated Content on Instagram.

Partly because it's savvy marketing, partly because it's sassy and cheeky and partly because it's just so fun having “Frank” (he's a coffee body scrub, by the way) speak to you as though he is a real person.

Like this:


Even the bubs get in on the fun!  Frank Body share loads of User-Generated Content on Instagram – their audience revels in lathering themselves in coffee grounds and taking selfies!


Breaking news: Babe discovers how to have luxurious four hand spa experience at home.

A post shared by frank body (@frank_bod) on

The Hashtags

Frank Body have built a huge hashtag hub of content using the hashtags #letsbefrank and #thefrankeffect.


4  Queensland

If you know me well you know that I love to travel and I am fortunate to do a lot of speaking and training in the Tourism Industry (mainly around visual storytelling).

I often use Queensland as an example of best practice when it comes to sharing User-Generated Content, and I get to shout out about the state where I live!

Queensland excels at User Generated Content on Instagram, especially drone photography and video.
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Queensland excels at User Generated Content on Instagram, especially drone photography and video.
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Get above it with Queensland!

But I want to point out how they are really showcasing a particular type of content lately – drone photography and videos.    Drone footage is still new and it gives us such a fresh perspective on all the places that, until now, have been photographed so many times in familiar ways.

An Aerial perspective feels like you are seeing it for the first time!

Like this amazing shot of Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island, one of my favourite places in the world:


What are you waiting for? Come and swim with the manta rays!  This video shot around Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef is stunning:


The Hashtags

Want to lose yourself in Queensland?  Search on #ThisIsQueensland.

On and don't forget to use it when you come here. You are coming, right?

5  Moment

Moment App uses User Generated Content on Instagram
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Moment make exceptional lenses for iphones – to help turn your phone into a professional-ish camera.

Naturally, they have a good eye for images too but they also (like all the brands mentioned here) excel at leveraging User-Generated Content on Instagram.

So, it's a no-brainer that they should have grown a strong, passionate community of iphone-photographers using their lenses for zooming, macro-ing, and all the iphoneography things!


The Hashtags

The guys at Moment ask their community to use #shotonmoment to be featured. And over 120k photos says it's a great hashtag!

Check out their hashtag hub here.


6  Later

Later is another software tool that I love. They have a killer app for scheduling and posting to Instagram.

Later uses User-Generated Content on Instagram
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It should be no surprise that an Instagram app uses Instagram well, but you'd be surprised how many don't!

Later nail it.

They have built a solid following by using … you guessed it.. stunning User-Generated Content on Instagram.

Not only do they share great UGC but they plan their feed to look gorgeous and curated.

Which, again, is no surprise,  as Later has a really cool preview tool for planning out your feed.  Check out their feed here.

They also do some pretty cool Insta-Stories Takeovers with Influencers and creative Instagram users.  This taps into – you guessed it – User-Generated Content on Instagram:


The Hashtags

Later are masters at curating content but don't have a specific hashtag to get shared on their feed. However, one thing I will say about hashtags on Later is that their tool LOVES hashtags.

They have a really cool Hashtag and Caption tool, so you can save your favourite hashtag sets/hubs to use again when you post.


7  Buffer

Buffer uses User-Generated Content on Instagram
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I want to round out this post with Buffer.  You probably know Buffer as being an awesome social media scheduling tool and their team posts some of the best, most helpful blog posts on social media and marketing.

But their feed is something really cool on Instagram. It's not just about social media.  Instead they showcase another part of the Buffer lifestyle.

They have a nomadic team, working remotely around the world.  Their feed shares the essence of just that – working remotely around the world.  In fact, it shares the “world” in general.   They do it by sharing images posted by their Buffer Community (and their own).


The Hashtags

The #BufferCommunity is strong my friend, it's strong.  Check out their curated feed of Buffer-ites here.


Get Permission for your UGC

Phew, that's a lot of User-Generated Content

There's a LOT of community on this page – these brands are doing it well when it comes to sharing the content of others.

It's easy to think that you can just go an share someone else's photo on Instagram as long as you tag them.

Just because others do it, doesn't mean you should too. There have been a number of cases recently where legal issues have arisen.

It's simple to ask for permission – always get permission in writing and also credit the person on your post. You can do this easily by sending a DM or posting on their feed to ask for permission.  If you do it this way, be sure to take a screenshot of the permission in case the post disappears.

But there's a more solid way and one that I recommend you check out:

Meet Tack

The best way to ensure you are legally covered when sharing User-Generated Content is to use a tool that manages your rights requests and permissions and stores the images too.

Tack is a great tool for managing the entire process of getting rights permissions.

And here they are on Instagram:

Found on Tack helps you curate and get rights to use User-Generated Content on Instagram
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Found on Tack helps you curate and get rights to use User-Generated Content on Instagram
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Find UGC and get rights with Tack

I wrote about Tack here. Check it out.

If you are diving into User Generated Content you will want to have a system for seeking permission, storing permission and sharing content. Tack is all that.

Over to You

Are you using User Generated Content on Instagram? 

Did this post give you some ideas? Tell us in the comments below what your favourite account is to follow for UGC! 

7 Examples of User Generated Content on Instagram
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7 Examples of User Generated Content on Instagram
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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