The digital age has brought about significant and exciting changes. These changes made the content creation realm in flux. One of the most notable transformations is the rise of user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content is original, brand-focused material from ordinary people. They share this content across social media platforms. UGC comes in diverse formats, including images, videos, reviews, testimonials, and podcasts.
UGC creators have become influential agents, fundamentally changing how brands connect with their audiences. This post is for you if you still haven’t utilized UGC in your campaigns.
We will dive into the UGC creator concept, its influence on digital marketing approaches, and ways businesses can harness its potential to stimulate growth and nurture brand loyalty.
- Unlike influencers who must build a substantial following before collaborating with brands, UGC creators only require a few followers. They don’t have to reveal their identity to endorse a brand.
- UGC has been successful because genuine brand fans make it. A UGC creator is like a freelance content creator.
- When customers see ordinary people use a specific product or service, they're more inclined to spend money and purchase it.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
UGC shapes how audiences perceive brands. Positive content fosters trust and loyalty. Transparent and responsive brand handling can also turn harmful content into opportunities.
The authenticity of UGC resonates deeply with consumers. It doesn't feel like a sales pitch but a genuine peer recommendation, boosting engagement and trust.
UGC significantly increases engagement rates and drives higher conversion rates, as it's relatable and trustworthy, encouraging users to take action.
User-generated content (UGC) comes from various sources:
- Customers: They are a primary source of UGC, often sharing content voluntarily or upon request. Think of unboxing videos on TikTok or glowing reviews on Instagram. Customers may spontaneously share content about a brand or respond to specific prompts.
- Brand loyalists: These devoted customers, also known as advocates or fans, exhibit deep enthusiasm for a brand. Engaging with this segment can yield passionate UGC as they are more inclined to create content that promotes and celebrates the brand.
- Employees: Employee-generated content (EGC) unveils the brand's story and worth. For instance, photos of employees assembling orders or a video featuring team members discussing why they enjoy working for the company. This behind-the-scenes content shows brand identity, presenting authenticity through social media and advertisements.
- UGC creators: These individuals craft sponsored content for collabs to appear authentic while highlighting a specific business or product. Brands compensate UGC creators for generating content resembling authentic user-generated material as part of their content strategy.
Why should brands invest in UGC?
UGC serves a vital role across every stage of the eCommerce buyer’s journey, influencing engagement and driving conversions. This customer-focused content finds applications on social media, email, landing pages, and checkout pages.
Brands face intense competition for online visibility. Consequently, consumers, particularly the discerning Gen-Z, are more critical of the brands they engage with and buy from.
Authentic content isn’t just a consumer preference—it's a crucial element for businesses. Around 60 percent of marketers emphasize the equal importance of authenticity and quality in successful content creation. UGC generated by your customers is the epitome of authenticity among various content types.
Avoid the temptation to fabricate user-generated content or marketing campaigns. Your target audience can swiftly spot insincerity, potentially harming your brand reputation. Instead, consistently ensure that your UGC portfolio originates from three primary sources: your customers, brand loyalists, or employees.
Ultimately, people trust real people, so UGC creation is the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations.
Considering consumers are more inclined to perceive user-generated content as authentic than content crafted by brands, investing in an authenticity-driven social marketing strategy holds immense significance.
How To Find UGC Creators
As a content creator, landing lucrative brand deals and UGC jobs is an uphill battle amidst fierce competition in the industry. Brands wanting to work with these creators face the same plight — they can’t find the perfect creators who genuinely understand their brand and vision.
However, despite the competitive landscape, there is a substantial pool of UGC opportunities and UGC creators—if you know where to look. With practical strategies and tapping into UGC platforms, paid UGC gigs are within reach.
We’ve highlighted the places where content creators can discover UGC job prospects. These diverse avenues can help secure rewarding opportunities and pave the way toward fruitful collaborations.
Utilizing social media platforms
UGC and social media are inseparable. Unsurprisingly, social media platforms present immense potential for UGC content creators to discover job opportunities. While optimizing your social media accounts can attract inbound leads, these platforms also serve as a valuable resource for directly targeting companies.
Facebook, for instance, can be a goldmine for UGC creators seeking clients. Knowing where to find UGC clients on Facebook can unlock brands with notably larger budgets than other platforms.
Creating paid video content or ads for a brand often yields higher compensation than producing organic content because these ads typically generate more revenue. Consequently, brands allocate more budget to paid social media posts over organic content.
To find brands with massive budgets, focus on those running paid ads. The Facebook Ads Library is an invaluable resource for this purpose. This free tool provides insights by showcasing every ad on Facebook and Instagram, offering a wealth of information for UGC creators seeking high-budget clients.
Brands encourage their followers and customers to share their experiences and opinions as part of their social media strategy. These real product review opportunities result in an organic stream of UGC.
LinkedIn has become a solid platform for content creators aiming to establish connections with marketing channels and potential UGC clients.
After establishing a stellar profile and creating compelling content, the next step involves connecting with decision-makers. You can cultivate a following consisting of targeted decision-makers employed by brands in your industry.
You can initiate connections with executives from companies within your niche—these executives hold the authority to make hiring decisions.
X (formerly Twitter)
Is a platform where you've likely explored job postings for UGC creators, and you've probably encountered an overwhelming number of them. However, note that job listings on X (formerly Twitter) can sometimes be dubious. Observe diligence when you check them out.
Often, agencies use hashtags like #UGCcreator, #UGCneeded, #ugc, #ugcvideo, #ugccreators, and #ugcopportunity to seek UGC creators for brands.
While some postings are legitimate, the majority may not be, and the authentic opportunities are typically highly competitive. Instead of engaging with general posts, it's advisable to seek out reputable agency owners who frequently post call-outs.
By turning on notifications and actively engaging with their content, you'll likely gain more valuable insights and opportunities than applying to every post under these hashtags.
Collaborations and influencer partnerships
Partnering with influencers or micro-influencers creates opportunities for authentic content creation, expanding reach and credibility.
Creating a brand ambassador program involves engaging individuals to promote a brand's products or services. These brand ambassadors, often regular consumers or avid brand enthusiasts, passionately share their positive experiences, contributing to a consistent stream of user-generated content (UGC).
Picture brand ambassadors as enthusiastic advocates for your business, consistently amplifying your brand's presence. They encompass various individuals, including customers, employees, influencers, and other UGC creators.
Develop a dedicated landing page for your ambassador program, easily accessible by searching "brand ambassador program + your brand." Provide comprehensive guidelines for application and any applicable eligibility criteria.
Gymshark's ambassador program stands out as it welcomes anyone passionate about their products, regardless of their social media following. This inclusive approach has yielded exceptional results, with Gymshark experiencing a remarkable 68 percent sales growth, skyrocketing from $330 million in 2020 to $502.1 million in 2021.
The Gymshark Athletes are part of this program and consistently share content showcasing the brand's fitness apparel, contributing significantly to Gymshark's brand visibility.
Brands can initiate contests or campaigns encouraging users to generate content, nurturing a sense of community and ownership.
Throughout history, user-generated content (UGC) has primarily been crafted by customers. Hashtag challenges or online contests can attract numerous UGC creators.
Initiating a UGC strategy and campaign starts with setting clear objectives. Define what you aim to accomplish—boosting brand awareness, fostering a community, or driving sales.
Establish clear guidelines outlining the type of content you want from your audience. Transparency in the submission process is crucial.
Unfortunately, only a few brands provide comprehensive content guidelines. Don’t be one of them. You gain a competitive advantage by offering clear and transparent UGC submission guidelines.
Reaching Out to UGC Creators
Once you've identified and shortlisted suitable UGC creators for your brand, the next step is outreach.
Personalization is crucial when initiating outreach. It's vital to convey appreciation and value to each creator. Address them by name and reference specific aspects from their content that resonated with you. This gesture demonstrates genuine interest and research on your part.
The best way is to incorporate a clear value proposition tailored to the creator. Personalization involves highlighting how your product aligns with the creator's audience or complimenting their content or recent work.
Here are some best practices to enhance your creator outreach:
- Craft concise and straightforward subject lines for emails, avoiding spam-like words such as 'free' or 'gift.'
- End your email with a clear call-to-action, prompting a response.
- Before sending an outreach email, engage with the creator by initiating direct messages, commenting on their posts, or sharing their content on your account. This interaction fosters familiarity and enhances the personalization of your emails.
- Persistence matters. Follow up with creators at least three to five times after the initial outreach email to increase the chances of a response.
Adhering to these practices will optimize your outreach efforts, forging meaningful connections with UGC creators for effective collaborations.
Brands Working With UGC Creators
Here are five examples illustrating the impact of collecting and sharing user-generated content for brands that collaborated with UGC creators and experienced substantial business growth:
In 2017, Rihanna introduced her own cosmetics line, Fenty Beauty, which gained widespread acclaim for its extensive selection of concealer and foundation shades.
Among its initial releases was the Pro Filt’R foundation, featuring a diverse range of 40 shades tailored to match various skin tones.
Rihanna's concept behind this makeup brand was centered on inclusivity, aiming to offer a full-coverage foundation suitable for all skin types, including her own.
Fenty is one of the pioneering makeup labels featuring black models in their advertising campaigns. The brand actively encourages its clientele to share their makeup looks using Fenty Beauty products, showcasing various styles and underscoring the product line's quality.
Fenty is the most renowned brand seeking UGC creators. Scrolling through their Instagram and TikTok accounts reveals much user-generated content, illustrating the brand's widespread appeal and engagement.
If you're an athlete or mindful of your nutritional intake, you might be familiar with Roar Organic. This health and wellness beverage company specializes in crafting natural, caffeine-free, and healthy hydration drinks.
Their beverages contain only 20 calories and less than 3 grams of organic cane sugar per bottle, catering to individuals seeking a healthier alternative for hydration.
Roar Organic has adopted UGC to amplify its product promotion and connect with health-conscious individuals. The brand encourages customers to share their hydration journeys with Roar Organic beverages on social media.
This strategy emphasizes product advantages and underscores the brand's dedication to a wellness-oriented lifestyle.
The founder of this thriving brand is Amber Fillerup, who began envisioning her career at 15. Amber forged her path by working to destigmatize the use of hair extensions.
She gained recognition for her exceptional braid tutorials and distinctive hairstyles. As a prosperous blogger and influential figure in the beauty industry, Amber fully understands the impact and influence of brands that engage with UGC creators.
This company offers extensions crafted to blend with natural hair seamlessly. Their extensions comprise 100% human remy hair, boasting durability lasting up to four to six months. They’re constantly looking for hair stylists and UGC creators who want to collaborate with the brand.
Starbucks is a globally recognized American coffeehouse chain spanning over 80 countries. The company offers an extensive menu, including cold and hot beverages, juices, snacks, and pastries.
This brand orchestrates influencer marketing, social media, and UGC campaigns to amass genuine content and reviews. Among their highly viewed and favored campaigns is the #RedCupContest.
This December tradition is where the brand invites customers to submit top-notch photos of their coffees. These submissions could earn participants the chance to snag Starbucks gift cards.
Pro Tip: Becoming a UGC creator for a brand means understanding what the brand offers and making real content about it. Start by posting about your experiences on social media, using relevant hashtags, and tagging the brand to get more people involved.
Boost Your Brand Credibility With the Right Tools
User-generated content (UGC) can help cultivate trust and authenticity among consumers, which is critical for strengthening a brand's online credibility.
Archive is a powerful content management platform that allows brands to easily share and promote UGC, enhancing their digital presence and positioning them as industry leaders—leverage our expertise to optimize your content marketing and deepen your brand's influence in social media. Explore Archive's solid features to help maximize the impact of your social campaigns.
Join Archive today to facilitate more genuine engagement with your audience and build lasting brand resonance for years.
Are you still on the fence about utilizing UGC and repurposing content to improve your brand image? Archive can help you do these tasks seamlessly. Grow your audience with the right tools. Visit Archive today.
Frequently Asked Questions on User-Generated Content
How are influencers and UGC creators different?
As content creators, influencers are paid by brands to produce content aiming to reach the influencer's audience, potentially driving new audience engagement and boosting business traffic and sales.
In contrast, brands pay for content creation with UGC creators that the brand will post on its social channels. UGC creators don't necessarily need to share the content; their role revolves around crafting it for the brand's use.
Does user-generated content need to be of high quality?
Yes, UGC should be engaging and of high quality. These materials should start an interaction between a brand and its consumers. They won’t pique your consumer’s interest if they're not appealing and are poorly done.
Apart from being of high quality, they should be authentic and trustworthy to be relatable. They must resonate with your audience on social media channels while aligning with your brand image.
Do you need consent to use user-generated content?
Whether you need consent depends on the situation. It’s a yes if you intend to use UGC outside the original social media platform, e.g., reposting on your Instagram account.
It’s a no if your goal is to share or reshare on the same social media platform or embed on your website/blog while providing a link to the original post.
Generally, all UGC is subject to copyright, meaning the original creator owns the content's copyright. Seeking permission from the creator/owner is necessary if you plan to use the UGC in marketing materials, your website, brochures, or your Asset Library for distribution.
However, there are nuances when dealing with UGC found on social media. Each platform has terms and conditions granting them certain rights to content posted on their platform, allowing them to use, publish, display, and distribute it.
For instance, Instagram's terms give the platform some rights to the content. Hence, when reposting or sharing UGC within the platform, you may not need explicit permission from the creator. That includes embedding a Tweet or an Instagram photo onto your blog.