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How to Use UGC to Jazz Up Your Instagram Stories

how to use ugc to jazz up your instagram stories

We’re happy to share this is a guest post from Marissa Conniff of TwoSix Digital. It’ll give you some great tips and ideas for starting to integrate more of your visitors and locals into your Instagram Stories.

Tourism marketers leverage user-generated content in their social media posts – but not many are using it for Instagram Stories. The “Stories” format is loved for the real-time, unfiltered nature of its content — that’s why it only makes sense to use your audience’s photos to paint the real picture of your destination here too.

So let’s jazz up your Instagram Stories with these easy-to-implement ideas!

Highlight a specific theme in your Instagram Story with UGC


Let’s start out simple. Pick a theme, any theme!

Feature a theme that’s relevant to a traveler, such as food, the beach, the museum, or a local landmark. Then, find social content relating to that theme, and get rights to it. Take your best theme-related content and share it as a story. It’s that easy.

Then you can save these themed stories as highlights on your profile. That way, whenever a traveler wants to see a bunch of food photos, you already have a curated collection, ready for them to browse.

Feature the best photos of the week in your Instagram Story

Find and get rights to 3-10 inspiring UGC photos of your destination taken within the past week and share them as a story! Include a call to action to hype up your hashtag. This way, even if people don’t hop on over to your profile page, they’ll still be able to see a bunch of the best recent visuals from your destination. This would be a fun series to do every week, and would encourage usage of your hashtag!

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Spotlight a visitor who took tons of awesome photos


Sometimes a visitor really nails it, and shares tons of photos that you’d like to feature. Ask them if you can feature some of their photos in an Instagram Story.

It’s a win-win: you’re able to show your audience some great authentic content taken from another traveler — and you’re also able to reward this content creator with a spotlight. What’s more, when other people see that you’re looking for content to feature, more people will be incentivized to post their snaps as well.

Share user-generated photos from an event as the event is happening!

Roll up those sleeves and create something really cool with user-generated content in real time. Share an Instagram Story of an event while it’s happening — through curating the pictures people are already taking at that moment! (And don’t forget to include useful information about the event such as time, location, and hashtag, so that other people know where the excitement is happening!)

Tip: To make your content curation process smoother, you can consider creating a specific hashtag for people to tag on the photos they want you to share. Before the event, tell people you’ll be looking for photos to repost (like through a social post, or even an on-stage announcement, depending on the event!), so that people are more likely to share their snaps now, as opposed to when they get back home.

Create a contest and have users vote for the best user-generated photo

Part of the fun with Instagram Stories are the added features such as stickers, text, and polls! Crank up engagement by finding two similar images and having your audience vote on the favorite. What’s that? More engagement? Mail the winner a prize. Even something simple like a pen, button, or sticker.

Add user-generated content to your Instagram Story!

Instagram Stories keeps your brand top of mind. In an ideal world, travelers would always be itching to catch all your newest posts, and checking your profile every day — but in lieu of that, you can count on Instagram to keep your profile literally at the top of the app.

Show the world authentic moments created by your audience! With over 300 million daily users – IG Stories seems like a great place to shine.

Looking for more info on Instagram Stories? Here’s a list of recommended articles. For ongoing tips about Instagram Stories, and digital marketing – follow TwoSix Digital on Twitter and Facebook.

Marissa Conniff is the Senior Content Marketing Strategist at TwoSix Digital. She focuses on creating content plans, performing digital audits, and running the social media for TwoSix – a full service marketing agency for the travel and tourism industry. Marissa’s favorite social media channels are Snapchat and Pinterest. She also loves to cook!