What is UGC?
UGC stands for user-generated content and refers to any content created by users or customers of a brand. Simply put, it’s original, brand-specific content published on social media or other digital channels. UGC has become a powerful tool for brands and businesses to connect with customers and create engaging content. We recently shared this piece of UGC on our Instagram.
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What is a UGC creator?
So, who are the people creating this content? UGC content can come from customers or loyal brand fans. An example could be a fan’s post about a new product on Instagram, a customer’s unboxing video on TikTok, or a user’s testimonial on a website. Often, this content is made by a UGC creator, someone a brand pays to create sponsored content to showcase a specific business or product.
Why is UGC important?
UGC is influential in today’s digital landscape because it’s used across all stages of the buyer’s journey. People love to hear from other consumers who use a brand’s products and services. For example, let’s say you are considering purchasing a new camera but are unsure which model to go with. So, you visit the company’s TikTok page and watch a video of someone using that specific camera and sharing its top features. If you like what you see, it may influence you to engage with the video and potentially purchase the device — ultimately increasing conversion. UGC is rising in popularity, as many people consider it more authentic and trustworthy than traditional advertising created and released by the brand.
This blog provides a comprehensive guide to understanding UGC and how you or your brand can use it effectively to achieve your goals.
Understanding user-generated content
UGC can come in many forms, including text, videos, images, product reviews, YouTube content, blog posts, live streams, testimonials, social media posts, and podcasts. For social media marketers, it’s all about finding the right fit for the brand, which could mean trying various UGC approaches.
Visual content includes images, videos, and live streams and is the most common user-generated content. That’s because it can be quickly and easily repurposed for social media, emails, or marketing campaigns. An example of this type of content could be a product unboxing, live-streamed review, or product demo. When users post photos and videos of themselves using a product, they naturally encourage others to try it for themselves.
Reviews and ratings
When customers leave reviews or ratings, it’s helpful for future customers. Asking customers to leave ratings is a great way to increase engagement, and those reviews can be shared on social media, in email campaigns, and more.
Social media posts
UGC has also become a massive part of many brands’ social media strategies since content can easily be repurposed and shared across social platforms. For example, you could repost a TikTok video on Instagram as a reel.
However, UGC isn’t limited to reviews. You can also work with creators to produce content for your social media channels. Or, if you’re a creator and love a brand, reach out to them and pitch your ideas. You never know — they might love it and commission a piece of work. Here’s an example of UGC content that we recently featured on our YouTube channel:
The benefits of UGC for brands and creators
UGC has become a very powerful marketing tool — it has many benefits for brands and creators.
For brands, user-generated content builds trust, brand loyalty, and a sense of authenticity (all of which are key for converting customers into loyal fans and brand advocates). Brands employ UGC in their marketing strategy for a few reasons:
- Exclusive content: Users create unique content for brands and share it with their friends, family, and coworkers.
- Credibility: UGC helps establish trust between customers and brands because customers love authenticity and “real” reviews from other customers versus the company itself.
- Conversions: User-generated content enhances brand engagement and encourages community participation — increasing traffic and conversions.
UGC is also an excellent way for brands to grow their business because it’s cost-effective, and outsourcing means it’s easier to scale. It can also eliminate the need to invest a lot of money in hiring expensive agencies to produce campaign content.
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Many benefits come with being a UGC content creator, including participating in a brand’s growth and being an influential part of its community. Additionally, creators are incentivized through payment and free products and services. For example, often travel creators are rewarded with free or discounted travel or hotel stays.
How to become a UGC creator
If you’re interested in becoming a UGC creator, there are many sites that can help you get started. Indie Media Club recommends these first steps:
- Identify your industry/niche
- Create content for that industry
- Showcase your content in a portfolio
To expand your reach, you may also want to create an account on Upwork and join Fivver’s freelance marketplace. But there’s no better way to learn how to pitch to brands than to learn from the pros! One of our favorites is UGC Ang (@ugcang). She shares handy hints about UGC in her TikTok videos.
Best practices for encouraging UGC
Many marketers consider visual user-generated content to be “content marketing gold” because it’s proven to be much more persuasive than brand photos or videos. But how do you encourage your customers and fans to create UGC? Here are a few best practices:
Providing incentives and rewards
Everyone loves contests and giveaways! Encourage your customers to share their stories or experiences with your brand’s product or service by creating content on social media and offering an incentive.
Creating a positive brand image and culture
Your brand’s image is essential as it shapes your customers’ perceptions. Pro tip: Plan a marketing campaign communicating your brand’s values and company culture. The more positive your brand’s image is, the more encouraged customers will be to create content for you.
Utilizing social media and online platforms effectively
A solid content strategy across social media and online platforms is crucial for customer engagement. Create a buzz about one of your brand’s products through sneak peeks, quizzes, games, or by offering freebies on your social platforms. Customers will be more anxious to create content for you when you show that your brand is “fun” and “engaging”. For example, we recently held a competition with Rode to engage with our community — stay tuned for more to come.
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We hope this blog has given you the knowledge you need to engage with UGC marketing. For brands and businesses, leveraging user-generated content effectively can most certainly be a game-changer when it comes to your marketing strategy. And by encouraging UGC, your brand will be well on its way to increased engagement and conversions.