Collecting and putting your user-generated content to work is important.

Not only is it a chance for you to give social love back to your best brand ambassadors (aka your customers), studying your user-generated content helps you to learn more about your customer, understand who they are and what they’re into (which will ultimately help you find more people like them).

As much as we all love working on our business, tasks like this are time-consuming and can take up all of your time if you let them.

That’s why in today’s blog post, I’m going to share with you exactly how we used virtual assistants to help us collect our user-generated content (UGC).

In this post, you’ll learn:

  1. How to set up your storage system for UGC
  2. What tools you should use to make UGC collection easy for your team
  3. Our step-by-step instructions for collecting UGC
  4. How often you should collect UGC

Because I know you’re a busy person who doesn’t have a lot of spare time, I’ve written this blog post so you can send the URL to your team and they can follow it like a manual.

Let’s do this!

Step 1: Set up your storage

As far as where you should store your user-generated content, there’s really no right or wrong solution. We use Google Drive for Trefiel but you could just as easily use the storage on your hosting or Dropbox. The most important part is setting up the folders right:

  1. You want to create a folder called User-Generated Content or UGC.
  2. Inside that folder, you want to create 3 folders – Boomerangs, Videos, Images
  3. Inside Images, you should create 2 folders – Good Quality and Bad Quality
  4. Inside the parent UGC folder, you should create a blank document called ‘To be downloaded’

Next up, collecting the content.


Step 2: Collect your user-generated content

Phase 1 – Creating a list of all the places where content is uploaded

Before delegating this job to your virtual assistant, you’ll first need to create a list of all the places they can find user-generated content for your business.

  1. Create a file in your UGC folder called ‘Places to find content’
  2. Create a list of platforms where your brand is featured (eg. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Blog Posts).
    • If you’re collecting content from Instagram –
      • Write a list of all the common hashtags your customers use
      • Make sure your assistant has access to your account so they can download your tagged images as well
    • If you’re collecting content from Facebook –
      • Create a direct link to your public posts page on Facebook
A template to use for your places to find user-generated content file
Here’s an example of what your ‘Places to find user-generated content’ document can look like. We usually like directly to the reviews and posts to help our team out.

This phase can be a little boring but I promise you, taking the time to prepare this will ensure you won’t get emails asking basic questions and you’ll know that content is being collected from all the places you know it’s being uploaded to.

Phase 2 – Setting yourself up with the correct tools

If you need to:

Download content from Instagram

You can use InstaGDownloader which is a Google Chrome extension.

Download videos from YouTube

You can use Online Video Converter to do this.

Take screenshots of blog posts

You can use Full Page Screen Capture which is another Google Chrome extension.

Once you have your workspace set up, you can start collecting content.

Phase 3 – Collecting all of the UGC you have for the first time

Now, if you haven’t been collecting UGC, you’ll need to complete a ‘catch up’ session which, depending on how long the business has been operating for, may take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks.

  1. Open up the ‘Places to find content’ file.
  2. Go through each platform and as you download each customer image or video, follow the below steps
    • Change the name of the file downloaded to be the same as the person’s username (this will allow you to repost it and tag the image with the correct customer’s username). 
    • Go to the UGC folder and upload the file into the correct folder –
      • If it’s a video, upload it into UGC > Videos.
      • If it’s a Boomerang, upload it into UGC > Boomerangs.
      • If it’s an image, take a look at the quality before uploading it –
        • Is the image clear, well-lit and taken with a good camera? Upload it to Images > Good Quality.
        • Is the image grainy, dark or blurry? Upload it to Images > Bad Quality

Phase 4 – Collecting UGC on a regular basis

Once you’ve completed the initial ‘catch up’ session, collecting UGC is a simple task.

  1. Open up the ‘Places to find content’ file.
  2. Go through each platform and download the content.
  3. Rename the files to include the person’s username.
  4. Upload the file into the correct folder inside the UGC folder.
  5. Check the ‘To be downloaded’ file and follow the same procedure.

That’s it!

Phase 5 – Spotting content on Instagram that won’t be indexed in hashtags

Sometimes your customers will @ tag your images, but they won’t include any of your brand hashtags. When you’re managing your community or one of your team members is:

  1. Keep an eye out for images which only have an @ tag, no brand hashtags.
  2. When you see these, copy the post link and paste it into . You can do this by –
    • Viewing the post on desktop and saving the URL to the ‘To be downloaded’ file
    • Or by viewing the post on mobile, click the 3 dots in the upper left-hand corner , selecting ‘Share’ and then ‘Copy link’.

Step 3: Create a schedule

The last step in collecting user-generated content is doing it frequently enough to make use of great content your customers have uploaded. It depends on how much content your customers are producing and how active you want to be on your social media platforms. For Trefiel, we did it every two weeks and the team member managing our community kept her eyes peeled for great content that could be reshared immediately.

To make this task a normal part of your team member’s role, make sure you create a repeating event in a shared calendar and directly hand over responsibility. What I mean by this is –

Clearly state to your team (or team members) that it is up to them to check the calendar and make sure this task happens.

What happens if you don’t? Well, you’ll become the person who has to remember and remind everyone about their job… and trust me, it isn’t fun or sustainable.

Ready, set, delegate!

I want to remind you of three very important points before wrapping up this post.

1. Tweak this process to make it work for your business

Delegating (especially to virtual assistants) isn’t a point-and-shoot game. You need to:

  1. Understand what you’re asking your assistants to do
  2. Clearly write instructions for how to do that
  3. Set strict deadlines for when tasks should be completed.

I’ve written this post with the hope of taking point two off your plate, but I also want to remind you that you must understand exactly what it is you’re assigning to your team before you assign it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something you didn’t want and will have wasted everyone’s time and your own money.

So tweak this post and make it fit your business and its specific requirements.

2. Don’t step away completely

I would highly recommend that you check in on your assistants or team to make sure that the work continues to be done and the output is correct. We’re all human and when there’s no accountability, we forget or become plain lazy.

3. What are you going to do with your user-generated content?

Just collecting the content is not enough. Before you hand off this task to your team, think about and answer these questions –

  1. How are you going to reward the customers who post?
  2. How are you going to incentivise other customers to post?
  3. What are you going to do with the content itself?

If you’re looking to gain more user-generated content, running giveaway marketing campaigns can be a great way to incentivise the type of content you’re looking to collect. The content also makes fantastic content for Facebook ads images and videos – just make sure you get permission from your customer to use it.

Do you need help with internal processes?

I have systemised a large portion of my own business by putting into place repetitive internal processes for most tasks. If you’re at the point where you:

  • Need to systemise your business in order to grow
  • Don’t have any internal structure or processes and you don’t know where to start

Send me an email and let’s talk.

Streamlining, delegating and automating is one of our favourite ways to help businesses and I’d love the opportunity to help you create a system that works inside of your business.

What one client said after implementing this

“We implemented your UGC guide for collecting content and we discovered heaps of new content that we can use. Thanks so much for your guide. :)”