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The Rise of the UGC Creator

Who are they and what do they do?  

By Carla Watts

Tuesday, 19th of December 2023

The Rise of the UGC Creator

The utilisation of user-generated content (UGC) to promote products or to tell a story is not a new concept to brands. However, the way this content is being developed professionally through UGC creators, is a new, cost-effective option that many brands are adopting and reaping the benefits of. This blog post will explain what UGC is, the effectiveness of UGC, the role of UGC creators and the differences between UGC creators and influencers. 

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) has been around for years, long before social media. It has been traditionally defined as brand-specific content that is created by customers and published on social media/other channels. User-generated content is shared organically by customers from their own platforms and can take many forms including images, videos, reels, TikToks, Facebook posts, reviews or blog posts. 

What are the benefits of User-Generated Content?

User-generated content can pose many benefits to brands, one being its ability to enhance a brands’ authenticity (this article from Nosto explains why authenticity matters). This is because it allows the brand to highlight their products/services from the perspective of their customers. As a result, prospective customers are more likely to relate to this type of content and thus invest in a brand, and buy their products. 

Another benefit of using UGC is the way it can cultivate a strong sense of community among customers by actively involving them in a brand’s content creation process. Customers can openly share their experiences with a brand, product, or service which can establish connections between customers who share similar interests or preferences.

UGC can also help increase conversion rates and drive sales by offering social proof and showcasing real-life experiences of other customers. Prospective buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they see UGC that highlights the positive experiences of existing customers. 

Furthermore, UGC can have a positive impact on SEO. Google, as well as other search engines, tend to prioritise websites which are regularly producing new and engaging content. This can effectively enhance a website’s search engine rankings and increase organic traffic. Additionally, by users interacting with UGC on social media platforms, social signals are generated which can also improve a website’s search engine rankings. 

Finally, UGC is often a more cost-effective option for brands as it reduces content creation costs. UGC eliminates the need for brands to create every piece of content themselves which can be both time consuming and expensive. Brands can instead use the content created by their own customers and now UGC creators to significantly reduce costs. 

UCG content creator recording a video for a brand

What is a UGC creator?

The value of UGC has become increasingly apparent which has contributed to the rise of so-called UGC creators. This refers to creators who are paid by brands to create specific content which showcases their products/services in a way that appears authentic and organic. This content is created to live on the brand’s social media pages which means UGC creators do not need a large following, nor do they even need to appear in the content. 

What is the difference between UGC creators and influencers?

UGC creators can appear deceptively similar to influencers as they both produce content for brands, however, it’s important to understand the distinction between UGC creators and influencers since they remain fundamentally different from each other. 

Firstly, paid UGC creators are paid to create specific content for a brand that emulates typical user-generated content which is distributed across the brand’s marketing channels. They typically don’t share the content on their own platform and so they do not need to have a large following. Brands are paying them for their ability to create quality content, rather than the value of their audience. 

On the other hand, influencers are paid to create content and distribute it across their own social media channels. Influencers usually have a substantial following on social media as brands use them to promote their products to their audience, thus using their influence to promote their brand.

Thousands of brands reap the benefits of working with both influencers and UGC creators every day. To find out more about how brands use UGC, check out my other article Eight ways brands work with UGC creators and why 

EIGHT WAYS BRANDS WORK WITH UGC CreatorS

Here are eight different ways brands can effectively utilise user-generated content

By Carla Watts

Tuesday, 19th of December 2023

Nike #justdoit

In today’s digital landscape, the rise of UGC creators has transformed the way brands utilise user-generated content. By harnessing the power of UGC creators, brands can effectively connect with their target audience, build trust, and leverage the creativity and authenticity of their customers. This cost-effective approach enables brands to tap into the power of user-generated content to drive meaningful engagement, increase brand credibility, and ultimately boost sales. 

Here are eight different ways brands can effectively utilise user-generated content with real-life examples. 

Nike #justdoit

1. Social Media Campaigns:

Brands often incorporate user-generated content by encouraging customers to create content featuring their products/services with a specific hashtag. This enables them to collect a wide range of UGC and showcase it across their platforms.

One example of this is Nike who often urges its customers to share their achievements using the hashtag #JustDoIt. This UGC helps to build a sense of community online. 

Trivago competition

2. Contests and Giveaways:

Running UGC contests where customers submit photos/videos/written content for prizes can help build a buzz around a brand and get more people talking about them on social media.  

For example, Trivago ran a UGC contest on Instagram with a $500 prize. Participants were asked to post a picture of their favourite hotel listed on Trivago using the hashtag #trivagofaves. 

3. Influencer Marketing Campaigns:

Brands can also collaborate with influencers who can create content in the style of UGC that features the brand’s products/services. This helps expand the brand’s reach and credibility among the influencer’s audience. 

Glossier, for example, frequently collaborates with influencers to showcase pictures and videos of how they incorporate Glossier products into their daily routine. 

Quay Australia website

4. Product Reviews:

Brands can encourage customers to leave reviews and share their thoughts which can provide new customers with valuable feedback and build trust. 

On Quay Australia’s website, visitors can view photos of real customers wearing different sunglasses styles in their ‘styled by you’ section, providing social proof for prospective buyers. They also showcase written reviews from customers on their website. Therefore, UGC product reviews help to enhance customer engagement and boost conversion rates.

5. Testimonials/Success Stories:

Brands can also ask customers to share their stories and experiences about how a brand’s product/services have improved their lives. These testimonials can then be used for marketing purposes. 

For instance, HubSpot highlights customer case studies and testimonials on its home page so it’s the first thing that potential customers will see. They often share figures, such as “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Grows Its Audience By 81% With HubSpot. By outlining impressive statistics and notable brands, site visitors are made aware of the capabilities of HubSpot which can help improve conversion rates. 

6. User-Generated TV Commercials:

Some brands involve their customers in creating TV adverts by inviting them to submit videos showcasing their brand experience or explaining why they love the brand. 

An excellent example of user-generated commercials was the ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ Campaign by Doritos that ran for ten years. This gave fans the opportunity to submit their own commercials with the premise that they may be aired during the Super Bowl. Every year, Doritos would pick a few commercials that would be aired, as well as a winner who would receive $1 million. This campaign generated significant attention and media coverage, and gave aspiring filmmakers and content creators the chance to gain considerable exposure. 

7. Social Change:

Brands can also incorporate UGC to help advocate for social change and engage their audiences with meaningful causes. 

For example, Lounge Underwear is dedicated to empowering women, as well as advocating for women’s health. They launched their #FeelYourBreast campaign in 2019 and each year they share content created by their customers which encourages people to #FeelYourBreast. In 2022, the company raised over £500,000 for Breast Cancer Awareness. As a result, UGC allowed Lounge Underwear to build an online community which is based on shared values and a common goal of empowering women everywhere. 

IKEA Open Source Sofa Design from Royal Academy of Arts workshop

8. Innovation and Product Development:

Brands can ask their customers to contribute ideas or suggestions for new products or improvements to existing ones. This UGC can be used to drive innovation and better meet customer needs.

IKEA is a prime example of a brand that actively encourages its customers to submit ideas and improvements for new and existing products. They do this through their co-creation platform and initiatives like IKEA Bootcamps. This interactive approach enables IKEA to engage with their customers, gather valuable insights and enhance their product development process. The Privacy screen and Baby’s crib in the photo from The Wall Street Journal below were proposed designs from the Royal Academy of Arts during an IKEA sponsored workshop.