User-generated content (UGC) is now a staple in digital marketing, as it can significantly influence online consumers' purchasing decisions.
Among the popular types of UGC content are videos, and social media giants YouTube and TikTok thrive on this content format. In 2022, YouTube content creators uploaded around 500 hours of videos, while YouTube Shorts acquired two billion monthly logged-in users as of July 2023. Many consumers also rely on customer reviews—another type of UGC—when shopping.
As more consumers engage and rely on UGC, many brands collaborate with UGC creators to upscale their marketing campaigns. It might also be time to integrate this marketing strategy into your campaigns.
The best UGC creators to partner or collaborate with are passionate about creating authentic content to showcase your brand, build communities, and foster connections.
If you're unfamiliar with UGC creators, this guide will help you learn why you should work with them. We will also discuss tips for becoming your own UGC creator.
UGC creators are content creators who focus on publishing authentic content that showcases products or services. They mostly create and publish short-form videos that can be branded content or not. They upload them to social media platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, and Instagram Reels.
UGC creators film and narrate their content from their perspectives, which gives their videos an authentic feel. This style inspires consumers to buy a product or service because they see real people using it.
Here are other UGC content formats published by UGC creators, which can be in text or video format:
You shouldn't confuse UGC creators with influencers. They may seem similar, but they have distinct characteristics.
UGC creators and influencers can be anyone, but UGC creators are mostly not associated with brands, while influencers primarily focus on branded content. Follower count doesn't necessarily matter for UGC creators, but it does for influencers.
Moreover, UGC creators are usually daily consumers sharing their genuine experiences with your brand. In contrast, influencers are social media stars who persuade their followers by promoting your brand's products or services.
Since UGC creators are daily consumers, they're generally more authentic because they choose to provide reviews and share experiences without compensation. Concurrently, they deliver diverse perspectives due to varying opinions and experiences.
UGC creator partnerships and collaborations aim to earn the trust of their followers and your target audiences. They leverage this trust to build communities and connections for your brand. But how do they do it?
With many brands vying for sales and recognition, trusting one can be challenging for consumers. They want to ensure high-quality products and services by being selective with the brands they engage in and purchase from. This is why they consider reviews and recommendations.
As such, UGC creators create authentic content by expressing themselves, being sincere, and being transparent. They aim to publish content that consumers can genuinely connect to.
UGC creators also foster authenticity by producing content that aligns with your branding, values, and beliefs. It highlights your unique selling proposition, differentiating your product or service from competitors.
Since UGC content includes reviews and recommendations influencing purchasing decisions, many businesses use them as social proof to increase conversions and create more buzz around their brands.
Social proof is the evidence that shows previous clients' or customers' experiences with a brand's product or service. It is the validation your prospects and existing customers need to evaluate the quality of your products or services—like a stamp of approval.
Consumers engage in UGC similar to their loved ones or professional network. This is why UGC creators deliver authentic social proof to showcase why your product or service is worth buying, building trustworthiness and consumer confidence.
For instance, product reviews feel more relatable when your existing customers and target audience see real people like them using your product. This relatability is the key to fostering the consumers' trust and confidence in your brand, making them trust UGC creators like they would a trusted friend.
People have an innate desire to belong, to foster a sense of connection. It is an essential part of the human experience. UGC creators humanize their marketing approach to build online communities that feed into this sense of belongingness.
These communities focus on shared interests and welcome diverse voices. They can generate more buzz for your brand through word-of-mouth that gets consumers talking.
When consumers see and hear that others are satisfied with a product or service, they mostly want to be part of the current demand. This desire to participate generates creative and diverse content that can increase your user engagement rates, brand awareness, and conversions.
Suppose a popular technology UGC creator uploads an unboxing video of a smartphone. Their excitement and reactions while opening their new device make the content more natural and relatable.
Concurrently, their thoughts and opinions on the phone's features make it easy for viewers to understand the specifications. This humanized approach connects with consumers on a more personal level.
Despite having specific niches, UGC creators can attract and engage audiences beyond their followers. This audience reach has different demographics and can be local or international consumers.
When you work with a UGC creator, you leverage their followers and reach. Firstly, they'll use social media platforms to post content mentioning or tagging your brand. They will include popular and brand-specific hashtags to increase visibility. This way, your brand has more chances of reaching a broader audience segment.
Secondly, UGC creators collaborate with other content creators and influencers or join trends and challenges. These partnerships, collaborations, and challenges can expand your exposure and introduce your brand to more prospects.
User-generated content can also become viral when it rapidly spreads on social media because it resonates with a large audience. This viral effect can reach a global audience beyond your target market and the UGC creator's followers.
Moreover, UGC creators can host promos, giveaways, and contests using your brand. These formats encourage consumers to create their own UGC content based on the requirements. Not only do they expand your reach, but they also foster community engagement.
Most in-house marketing teams juggle multiple tasks daily, and yours could be the same. Fortunately, collaborating with UGC creators can decrease your marketing team's workload and pressure in many ways.
UGC creators can provide a bank of content to maintain your brand's online presence. While these content creators constantly produce UGC content, your marketing staff can focus more on strategic growth tasks and projects.
Marketing campaigns involve an extensive creative process. UGC creators can ease this process by generating authentic content that mirrors your target audience's experiences, reducing your marketing team's time spent on creative production.
When your brand has high demand, your customer inquiries can significantly increase. This influx is good because many consumers are interested in your business, but your in-house marketing and customer service team may need help to handle multiple messages simultaneously. This is how UGC creators become your brand advocates.
Rather than receiving many queries at once, consumers can directly interact with your UGC creators and answer questions on your behalf. Not only does this decrease the burden of demand management, but it also enriches your brand connections and communities.
Influencer marketing is equally advantageous but typically costly, especially when partnering with macro- and mega-influencers. With UGC creators, however, you can get high-quality content at lower rates.
Here's why UGC creators are generally more cost-efficient than influencers:
UGC creation involves comprehensive planning, production, and editing. Additionally, you can't just repost any UGC content you might encounter. Even posting has several factors to consider.
Here's how to maximize UGC and UGC creators efficiently and accordingly:
Every marketing strategy has specific requirements. So, before searching for UGC creators, you must determine your content marketing needs.
This process enables you to identify what you want to achieve, allowing you to tailor your UGC creator search to your content marketing requirements.
For example, if your goal is to target younger audiences, you must find content creators for this demographic. If you want to build trust and credibility, look for UGC creators with a reputation for honest product reviews. These approaches ensure your UGC aligns with your marketing goals and target audience.
Furthermore, understanding your content marketing needs enables you to establish clear expectations in partnerships and collaborations. This clarity ensures that the content UGC creators produce matches your branding and values.
Concurrently, understanding your target audience's demographics, pain points, behaviors, and interests ensures that your UGC content will appeal to and resonate with the right market segment.
Once your content marketing needs and target audience are set, you must outline your goals and strategies.
In this step, creating comprehensive UGC guidelines is crucial. These guidelines are a structured framework that contains your Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART) goals and Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis.
This step also enables you to establish a social media planner detailing the timeline and budget of your marketing campaigns. This way, your UGC creators and social media management team stay on track with the workflow.
Moreover, outlining your goals and strategies helps you determine how to use UGC content efficiently. Suppose you see many UGC content mentioning your brand. How will you use them to support your marketing goals? That's when your strategy outline becomes handy.
After outlining your goals and strategies, it's time to reach out to relevant UGC creators. However, this isn't as simple as it sounds.
Manual UGC creator search can take time. If you can, use influencer platforms to ease the process. Although these platforms are influencer databases, they can provide a database that generates relevant UGC creators in just a few clicks. Then, scale this list down based on your goals before sending outreach messages.
Outreach involves marketing strategies to promote your brand to UGC creators. Besides grabbing the UGC creators' attention in the first few sentences of your message, you must keep them interested to read until the end.
An outreach message must include the following:
You can send your outreach messages directly from influencer platforms since they have integrations that automatically connect to UGC creators' emails and social media.
You may still send direct messages to their emails and social media DMs. Some UGC creators may be busy, so don't be discouraged if they don't respond immediately. Send a follow-up message within two to three business days to bring your message to the top of their inboxes.
Reposting UGC is common but requires the original content creator's explicit consent. You must always ask permission, even if the content mentions your brand. Asking permission is a way to show you appreciate the content. It also prevents copyright issues that involve legal repercussions.
Reach out to the original poster's direct messages and express your interest in reposting. Be transparent about how you plan to use it. Check if they allow modifications and respect their preferences if they don't.
Asking permission from original content creators isn't enough. Just because they gave explicit consent doesn't mean you can post their content without credits and attribution.
Credits and attributions mean you acknowledge and recognize the original posters' effort. As such, you must put proper credits and attribution by mentioning or tagging the original content creators' names or usernames with their contributions. You must also check how these UGC creators want to be credited.
Besides recognition and acknowledgment, credits and attributions let your audiences refer back to the reposted content's source.
With these, you uphold legal and ethical marketing when using other content creators' social media posts as promotional materials. This way, your audience knows you value their trust and adhere to ethical marketing.
Working with UGC creators is beneficial, but you can also become one, particularly when you need to save costs. Here's how to become your own UGC creator:
Every marketing strategy requires thorough research. You must conduct market analysis to see how UGC marketing performs in your niche. Focusing on your niche is also essential to make your content the best fit for brands you want to collaborate with.
Market analysis lets you research relevant content categories and identify opportunities and gaps. These insights provide unique perspectives to expand your knowledge and strengthen your UGC marketing campaigns.
If you don't have a niche yet, here are some industries you might want to explore:
Once you understand the UGC marketing landscape, create a UGC-specific social media account. Having a UGC account lets potential collaborators and partners discover you faster.
Separate this profile from your personal account to focus on UGC and protect your privacy. Then, create a username representing your niche and brand, and finish the setup by adding a compelling bio and other relevant details.
After creating your account, follow content creators sharing knowledge, experience, and tips about the UGC and UGC creator economy, acquiring contacts, and gaining your initial earnings as a UGC creator. Their insights will help you augment your UGC skills and knowledge.
Remember to choose the social media platforms that align with your goals. It's best to create multiple profiles to maximize the reach and audience of different channels.
You can create UGC content materials anywhere—at home, outdoors, or in stores—provided there isn't too much background noise. Many UGC creators create content at home, where they have their filming setups. You must also establish your filming setup so you can shoot smoothly.
You don't necessarily need high-end equipment. A phone with a decent camera and tripod is enough to produce compelling UGC.
However, if you want to upgrade your setup to produce more high-quality videos, here is the additional equipment you need:
The quality of your setup won't necessarily affect the quality of your content. Many UGC creators produce quality content even without professional equipment. You can upgrade your setup once you get the hang of it and receive feedback from brands and audiences.
Once you have your filming setup, the next step is to film trial videos to practice editing skills. UGC videos are typically 15 to 60 seconds long and require editing to ensure quality.
Video editing can be tricky to learn, so you must take the time to hone your skills. Fortunately, there are straightforward editing apps that can make learning easier. Some of the most popular user-friendly editing apps are InShot and CapCut. Social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram have user-friendly editing features.
Use these apps to practice your editing skills and familiarize yourself with essential editing tools. The more you get used to the features, the better your editing skills will be.
UGC creation requires products and services. However, potential partners and collaborators will only send you products when you have your portfolio. So, how can you build your portfolio to get them to collaborate with you?
Start building your portfolio by creating UGC using your favorite products or services for free. You don't need the brands' permission as long as you put disclaimers that your content isn't sponsored content or paid advertisement.
Here are some types of content you can make for free:
Ensure to include different types of UGC content in your portfolio. Many content creators recommend creating a portfolio on Canva and Google Slides. These platforms have customizable portfolio templates to help you get started.
Potential partners and collaborators may show interest in working with you as they discover your UGC content. You should grab these opportunities to monetize your content. However, before accepting, you must check their expectations, requirements, and guidelines.
You can also apply to brands using your portfolio. Use platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to apply or create listings of your UGC creation services.
Pitching yourself to brands, partners, and collaborators is crucial. This process is similar to applying for jobs. You must ensure your pitches stand out because you may compete with various UGC creators.
When creating and presenting your pitch, you must focus on how your UGC can provide value to brands. Tailor your pitches according to each brand and provide content examples that appeal to their target audiences.
UGC creation rates vary. Brands, partners, and collaborators usually set specific rates for brand deals, branded content, and paid advertisements. Staying informed with market rates will help you choose partnerships that pay fairly.
By getting fair and equitable compensation, you ensure that brands know your worth and are someone who doesn't settle for less.
To learn more about negotiating with brands, follow UGC creators who discuss details on getting fair pay. Some content creators provide tips on how to set your prices as a beginner UGC creator.
Successful UGC creators value feedback to improve their content. You must encourage your audience to provide feedback to enhance your content and strengthen your relationship with their communities.
This way, you establish your career as a UGC creator who acknowledges your followers' and audiences' opinions to create content that resonates and enriches user experience.
Pro Tip: Refrain from using #UGC and #UGCcreator hashtags, as they might signal the search engine and social media algorithms to show your content to other UGC creators. Instead, use product- and industry-specific hashtags so your content has a better chance of showing up on potential partners' and collaborators' feeds.
UGC creators are content creators who provide optimal user experience to consumers. They are passionate individuals who can elevate your content marketing strategies.
While you can outsource UGC creators, you can also become your own UGC creator. Remember UGC creation requires hard work and consistency to generate a stable income. Keep honing your skills and expanding your experience so brands know working with you will be worthwhile.
Partner with Archive to upscale your UGC marketing today. Our AI-powered platform provides UGC management and social listening for Instagram Reels, Stories, and TikTok to help you find the best UGC content for your business in just a few clicks.
UGC creators usually earn $100 per post. They can make as much as $5,000 monthly.
While UGC creation requires editing and content creation skills, UGC creators don't necessarily need professional experience. Anyone can be a UGC content creator. You just have to be passionate about content creation. However, you must still upscale your creation skills by reading resources or attending creator workshops.
No, you don't need many followers to be a UGC creator. UGC content focuses on relevance, authenticity, and genuineness, not on creators' influence.