How to Legally Repost User-Generated Content on Instagram

Reposting UGC Rules #2: How to Ask for Permission to Legally Repost User-Generated Content on Instagram

When it comes to sourcing UGC, brands usually go about it in two ways: browsing for interesting UGC content in your feed, or by searching a branded hashtag. 

Regardless of how you find it, as a brand you need to ask permission from the original creator — even if they tagged it with your specific UGC-focused hashtag. 

So let’s take a look at how you can reach out and ask permission. 

#1: Send the Creator a DM 

Some brands like Daniel Wellington and Lush choose to only repost content where their products have been featured, or their customers are talking about their brand.  

And this type of UGC is usually found by checking your tags and mentions. 

But some brands like to use more universal UGC — content that matches their overall theme and aesthetic but doesn’t necessarily have to have their product or service in the image. 

For example, at Later, we like to share content created by our community — designers, illustrators, photographers, and animators — that are working hard to create cool content on Instagram. 

And while we love to mix and match content types, the images and videos we share always tie in with our bright and bold aesthetic: 

More often than not, our social media strategist Mel Brittner finds posts by scrolling through our home feed, searching relevant hashtags, and checking our tags and mentions. 

Once she finds an image that works for the Later feed, she sends the creator a DM to ask permission. 

It’s important to go the extra mile and send a DM to the creator, instead of just leaving a generic comment on their post. Remember that you’re asking permission to use a creator’s work — it’s worth sending them a personalized note! 

Plus, 65% of people will grant permission to use their photos within 24 hours — so the chances are you won’t lose any time by sliding into their DMs! 

Find Your Instagram Tags and Mentions with Later! 

Did you know that you can check your tags and mentions with Later? 

Next time you open Later on desktop, you’ll see a few options under “Collect Media” in the sidebar. Think of this as command central for finding on-brand content that you can incorporate into your social calendar.

If you click Tags or Mentions, you’ll find any content you’ve been tagged or mentioned in on Instagram.  You can then select the posts you want to re-share and add them to your media library.

It’s a great way to keep tabs on what your fans are saying about your brand and find valuable UGC content for your feed! Just don’t forget to reach out and ask for permission before you post.

Search by mentions and tags is available on all Later Paid Business plans (requires an Instagram Business profile.)

#2: Ask for Confirmation on a Branded Hashtag Submission 

Do you have a branded hashtag for your brand? And do you encourage your audience to tag their posts with the hashtag if they want to be featured on your feed? 

This section is for you, because it still remains as one of the darkest gray areas for legally reposting user-generated content! 

Brands like Kapten & Son and STA Travel use branded hashtags to find user-generated content for their feeds: 

People who use your branded hashtag may be implying that they give permission for your brand to repurpose their content, but your bedrock principle should be that all UGC is, by default, copyrighted by the owner or creator of that content.

We reached out to the lawyers at Gowling WLG, an international law firm, to ask for more advice on this area of the law. 

They advise confirming that the original poster of the content exclusively owns that content, and then getting that poster’s permission to repurpose it. They also recommended seeking the permission of any person depicted in a photograph.

Let’s take a look at Airbnb’s best practices for UGC on Instagram. Airbnb has a beautiful Instagram feed full of breathtaking places to stay all over the world, and their content is mostly user-generated content from Instagram.

According to Simply Measured, 80% of Airbnb’s Instagram engagement comes from UGC, and they’re a great example of how to not only succeed with UGC on Instagram, but also how to do so legally.

Instagram users, who are also usually customers, tag @Airbnb or hashtag #airbnb in their Instagram posts when staying in one of Airbnb’s many properties around the world. 

With almost 4 million posts tagged with the #airbnb hashtag, there’s no shortage of content for Airbnb to choose from. 

But when it comes to getting permission to repost, Airbnb goes a step further — if Airbnb loves a photo, they request permission to repost these photos in its own feed through Instagram comments.

Airbnb leaves a comment asking users to go to a link where they can read and agree to Airbnb’s terms of use for UGC. Users are asked to reply with #AirbnbPhoto to confirm and provide the link to the Airbnb home featured.

If you look at their UGC terms of use, you’ll notice that it says that by replying with #airbnbphoto, you are giving permission for Airbnb to use your photo with credit on their channels.

Whether you decide to invest in a UGC permission strategy like Airbnb, or to simply ask for permission in DMs, it’s important that you treat UGC like the copyrighted content it is.

Your customers should have no doubts about how you intend to use their content, and playing fast and loose with permissions could jeopardize your brand’s reputation.

Find Content Tagged With Your Branded Hashtag with Later:

It’s now super-simple to keep track of any content that’s been tagged with your branded hashtag with Later.

Head back into your “Collect Media” tool in the sidebar of Later on desktop, and click Search by Hashtag.

Here you can add your branded hashtag, and keep it saved as a search in Later to display the last 7 days of posts across Instagram that use your hashtag. 

Then all you have to do is add those posts to your library for sharing once you have approval — easy! 

Start searching for user-generated content by hashtags with Later! Find and repost UGC in minutes — it’s free!  

Source:, originally published on 2021-08-27 05:42:16