How to Legally Repost User-Generated Instagram Content

Looking at 2021, we’re seeing all kinds of new trends emerging on Instagram — raw photos, BTS content, color-coordinated grids and user-generated content. Chances are, you’ve heard about user-generated content, and you’ve definitely seen it. But if you’re not sure what it is, you’re not alone. A lot of people see user-generated content, sometimes called UGC, without even knowing it — better yet, without knowing its value! If you’re thinking about reposting user-generated content (and learning more about it), read along. 

What is user-generated content? 

Let’s start with the basics. User-generated content is any type of content (video, photo, text, etc.) that is created by a user, rather than the brand itself. A great example is when a company puts out a contest for users to submit their own creations to compete for a prize. This is a really smart way to get users to generate content for the brand, and all parties are benefitted! 

Some brands rely on user-generated content more than others. Brands that need photography for their marketing strategy and brands that like showing their product in action are great examples of this. While it’s not imperative that you jump on the UGC bandwagon, it’s important that you know how it can impact your brand and how to legally repost this content in case you do decide to incorporate it into your strategy. 

How to legally repost it

Now that you have an idea of what UGC is and what it can do for your brand, let’s talk about the legalities — literally. After all, you can’t just take others’ creations and slap it on your Instagram. There are some rules and laws in place. Follow these rules and you’ll be good to post your heart out: 

Rule #1: Ask for permission 

Here’s the simplest, and perhaps most important, rule: Ask your users for permission. While we can assume most people would love to be featured on a company’s Instagram, you never know if they’ll be happy with the picture you post, the caption you write or what you call them. Make sure it goes through them before it goes on the ‘gram. When you’re asking for permission, explain why you’d like to repost their content. Use this as a chance to be completely transparent. If they say yes but they feel misled, you may still run into some legal troubles down the road. Fun fact: Within 24 hours of being contacted, 65% of people will give you permission to use their photos. 

Rule #2: Make sure they own all rights to the content 

As silly as it sounds, you still need to verify that the content creator is the original content creator. With so many sites that give licenses to use photos (and people who aren’t always playing by the rules), you’ll want to be sure that you have the original. Otherwise, you may have an angry artist or photographer coming after you when you tried to do the right thing from the getgo! 

Rule #3: Give credit accurately 

After all of this, wouldn’t it be terrible if you spelled your content creator’s name wrong? Or if you sent them to the wrong website? Crediting your UGC content creator is 1) legal and 2) courteous. They’re providing content for your page, so it’s fair that you give them credit and send a link or two to their website profiles. You’ll see a lot of people who give credit by captioning with a “📸” followed by the user’s name and website/profile. 

Feeling like a UGC pro? We bet you are! The last step is to go forth and find content to repost — the most fun part of it all! Need help? We’re always here to help you with your Instagram strategy, from legal compliance to fun emoji stickers. Good luck! 

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