You’re scrolling through Instagram when a coffee video catches your attention. The clip cuts to coffee beans grinding, milk foaming, and finally, a hand holding a fresh cup of joe against a snowy mountain backdrop. As the morning light reflects perfectly off their mug you can’t help but think, “If only I had that specific coffee, my mornings would be perfect.” And then the coffee brand is artfully revealed. Has this happened to you? If it has, you’ve witnessed user-generated content (UGC) in the wild.
Brands are moving away from hiring influencers for sponsored posts, and turning towards hiring content creators for UGC. This is truly the next big thing in marketing, and is proven to have one of the highest conversion rates for content!
So What is UGC?
User-Generated Content is any content created for your brand by someone who is not an official representative. This could include anything from videos and images to reviews, and can be used across social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. UGC is original and brand-specific, aligning with the goals and vision of your business.
Why is it blowing up?
There is a huge trend of content creators across social media platforms (specifically TikTok) clueing people into this line of work. For some, it’s simply a side hustle, but for others, it’s their full-time job! The best UGC creators are breaking down how they make upwards of $10k a month to inspire their followers. However, as true entrepreneurs, many of these creators also develop their own “courses” to teach others how to do what they do and sell them at high dollar amounts.
Besides these aforementioned TikTok creators, more and more businesses are becoming interested in user-generated content as it’s shown to have higher conversion rates than any other kind of brand campaign!
Who Makes It?
Some of the most popular videos on TikTok are unboxing and hauls— the masses love seeing creators they enjoy and trust presenting everything they buy. Their comment section is flooded with, “Where can I buy this?!” This kind of content can be organic (the creator purchased from this brand, loved it, wanted to share it) or contracted (the brand makes a deal with the creator, outlines the content they want, and it’s all signed-off on.)
We all have our favorite brands, the ones we come back to over and over again. Finding people who genuinely love your brand and are excited to share it is a win-win opportunity, as they probably are already mentioning you on their platforms! It’s much easier to create genuine videos and posts raving about a brand when you already use, wear, or consume their products.
There is an entire genre of content creators online who are dedicated to making UGC. They may not have a large following, but they enjoy being in front of the camera, make quality content, and are offering their UCG skills to brands. This kind of content is based more on talent than reach, because it’s not typically posted on the creator’s page. While you can work with influencers and have them create UGC, it’s exponentially more expensive and can involve a lot more contracts and red-tape. For these smaller creators, developing relationships with brands can help build their following and engagement, so it’s a win-win for both company and creator!
What Can It Offer Businesses?
Designing photoshoots, scouting and hiring models, editing the photos, every part of a campaign is time and labor intensive. When working with a UGC creator, all of that work is outsourced for you, and at a much lower cost. The creator will capture the content, edit it, even post it for you in some cases, and their team of one is much less expensive than any other creative team. Plus, it’s a huge time saver!
Build relationships with content creators
If you’re a small brand that doesn’t have name recognition, it’s hard to get people to buy from you. The average person doesn’t know who you are, what you do, the quality of your product, etc. This can also make it hard to sign on influencers to work for your brand. But, if you’re able to pay content creators to make UGC, and it starts circulating, other creators will be more likely to work with you!
Build value + brand recognition
Consumers don’t want to feel sold to, they want to feel included! Everyone wants a more authentic buying experience, and consumers are more apt to trust creators who they see on their phones every day, rather than an omnipresent brand. Studies show that people trust other people, even if they don’t know or follow them, more than they trust any brand.
How To Find UGC Creators
So now that we know what UGC is and how it can benefit your business, how do we find these highly skilled, versatile creators?
Most UGC creators post frequently, and want to be found by brands. By searching tags like #UGC #UGCConcepts #UGCTips #UGCCreator, you will find a plethora of smiling faces ready to make content for your brand.
While TikTok and Instagram are the obvious social platforms to search, we can’t leave Twitter and Pinterest out of the conversation. Now that Pinterest has a creator fund and rewards, similar to TikTok, more and more people are using it to showcase their skills. And while many don’t think of Twitter as a visual medium, it is actually a fantastic place to post high quality images (the compression is better than Instagram’s,) and with retweeting and quote tweets it can be even easier to find the best people for your brand.
Another platform to look into is Upwork. Here you can post your job listing, and the creators will find you! Also on the flipside, many creators post their own listings on the site, offering their services with a breakdown of their pricing and expectations. It’s a great place to shop around and find current creators rates, helping you to build your next listing more appropriately.
How To Get Started
Say you’re a small coffee shop that’s looking to delve into the ecommerce world by selling your beans online. Problem is, only locals know about your shop and they don’t need anything shipped to them. You need posts that will make strangers want to follow you, but you’re not that handy with a camera and being aesthetic really isn’t your strong suit. A quick search on TikTok for “UGC Coffee” will instantly show you creators who excel in making coffee related content. From here, find videos that emulate the vibe or style you think matches your brand best, and reach out to that creator!
Pro Tip: Often if you find someone on TikTok, the best bet is to head over to their Instagram (which is usually in their TikTok bio,) as TikTok doesn’t let you message someone who doesn’t follow you. Start the conversation, and get ready for your brand to expand.
The Bottom Line
UGC is starting to redefine how brands, creators, and consumers exist on social platforms. Are you ready to make it part of your business strategy, but still need guidance on how to begin? Reach out to us at (305) 455-0720 or e-mail GetTheScoop@iScreamSocialMedia.com to further discuss finding creators that fit your brand needs, and to learn more about our customized social media packages!