It’s expensive to rely on branded studio shoots all the time.

Besides, 93% of marketers in the State of UGC Report 2021 agree that consumers trust content created by customers more than content created by brands. And 66% of consumers think transparency is one of a brand’s most attractive qualities.

The premise of UGC? Let your users do the hard work for you.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content (UGC) is original content created by other people about your brand, service, or product. UGC content creation comes in many forms — encompassing stories of customers' experiences, product reviews, review site submissions, entering giveaways, even podcast mentions.

Where does UGC come from?

The three main examples of users we see behind UGC content creation are customers, influencers, and employees.

Customers

Within your customer base you will have loyal customers — these are your most enthusiastic and dedicated customers, and are usually very engaged. They're probably the best user to reach out to for very specific types of UGC you need (i.e a tutorial).

But there's a catch.

It's important to remember that customers are not professional content creators, so manage your expectations with what you will receive.

On the flip-side, it can be this raw and authentic account of a product or experience from real people that also wins potential customers over.

72% of consumers believe that reviews and testimonials submitted by customers are more credible than the brand talking about their products.

Influencers

Influencer-generated content (IGC) is content created by influencers. The industry still classes this as UGC, but you’re dealing with professional content creators.

Like we said before, it’s great to have customers creating content for you, but not all content is created equal.

IGC is generally more polished and of a professional quality that often outshines the UGC created by customers. Influencers have proven they can build a mass following and engagement through their content creation abilities.

But you do need to find the right influencers. Just because they are a celebrity or macro-influencer doesn’t mean they are the right fit or will generate the most engagement.

The 2020 State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report stated micro-influencers see 7x the amount of engagement over mega-influencers. The number is even higher on TikTok.

Employees

Employee-generated content (EGC) can be used to give a behind the scenes look into your brand from their perspective. EGC helps establish brand identity and authenticity.

The State of UGC 2021 Report found that brand messages were reshared up to 24x more when distributed by employees versus the brand social accounts.

3 Brands With Killer User-Generated Content

Frank Body

Frank Body has built its $20 million global beauty brand purely on social media, of which the growth is attributed to a deliberate UGC strategy.

As well as featuring UGC on its main social media platforms, Frank Body has a dedicated Instagram account where they share content of customers’ before and after photos. To curate this content they encourage customers to use the branded hashtag #thefrankeffect.


GoPro

GoPro has very successfully managed to create an engaging online community and sell a lifestyle by leveraging UGC.

Everyday at least 6,000 GoPro-tagged videos are uploaded to YouTube, even during the pandemic.

They regularly feature UGC on their social media platforms.

Gymshark

Gymshark relied entirely on UGC to build its success on TikTok, now sitting at 3.5 million followers. The use of a #gymshark hashtag helped to curate the content and the brand reposts the videos using the hashtag to encourage the community to continue producing content.

@gymshark We’ve all been here with this machine💀@GregorandHattie #Gymshark #GymTok #PullUp ♬ original sound - Gymshark


The Benefits of User-Generated Content

If the data on why you should be getting UGC alone hasn't convinced you it's worth the investment, these benefits will.

Huge content library at your disposal

If you can build a community like Frank Body, GoPro, or GymShark — you’ll have content constantly ticking over in the background to use at your disposal.

Many brands use UGC in their marketing efforts to build credibility and drive conversions by repurposing the UGC content creation into ads, landing pages, social posts, and emails.

Even the best creative minds can fall into a rinse and repeat routine. With UGC you’re welcoming content diversity and the opportunity for users to provide a fresh take on your brand, product, or service.

Here’s some content ideas to think about for your next UGC content campaign:

  • Testimonials
  • Boomerangs
  • Product reveals
  • Before & afters
  • Unboxings
  • Product tutorials
  • Product reviews
  • Comparisons
  • Reactionals
  • Screen records/ walkthroughs

Cost-effective word-of-mouth

Branded studio shoots are expensive. For five unique concepts that can turn itself into 50 iterations, you could be looking at a minimum of $15k.

With UGC, it could be free. Your customers have purchased the product already, now they are creating content about your brand.

And, if you follow our strategy of seeding product to influencers — this also won’t end up costing you more than the product you send.

Unique assets that showcase and highlight your product in the most authentic way

You can’t fake authenticity — UGC is content made for users, by users. Compared with UGC, studio shoot assets are more salesy, lack diversity, and are pricey.

Your audience can identify or resonate better with a range of genuine users who are just like them. And people trust user-generated visuals over any other type of content.

Foster brand advocates

Engaging influencers and customers for content and establishing long-term relationships with these users creates brand ambassadors.

In cases where content produced by micro-influencers is successful, you can contractualize the work they do for you to ensure long-term brand advocacy.

Increase brand awareness

We don't endorse the expectation that influencer marketing will have an immediate impact on direct sales. What we do expect is when more users create content and share it across their social networks, this increases the reach of your brand.

64% of consumers agree that when a brand they like or use re-shares content by customers, they are more likely to share content about the brand or its products.

How you then utilize UGC is also important in generating brand awareness.  Advertising it across different social media platforms and sharing in social media posts are great ways to integrate UGC into your marketing strategy to maximize the return.

But if you’re dealing with content created by an influencer, you want to know how to maximize the reach beyond a one-off organic post using influencer whitelisting.

UGC Final Tips

So you know you need UGC, what next? Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind.

Don’t forget to ask for permission to use the content

We have a full user-generated content rights guide to keep you out of trouble. Take a leaf out of Patagonia’s and Boxed Water’s book and credit or tag the creator in the post.


Avoid UGC Platforms & Outsourced UGC Content Creation

While it can be tempting to invest in platforms or freelancers claiming to be experts at creating UGC, you should avoid this at all costs.

Cheap UGC that you outsource attracts inauthentic, low-quality “creators.” The relationship immediately becomes transactional and people see straight through this.

Conclusion

User-generated content (UGC) is content created by users of your product, brand, or service. Learn the benefits of UGC for your brand & why UGC created by influencers will always win.

If there is one thing you should take away from all of this: the best performing UGC celebrates authenticity. Once you get UGC working for your brand, you’ll start to uncover incredible content creators. These quality content creators are very likely going to be influencers. The long-term goal would be to get them to become part of your affiliate program.

Think it's going to be too expensive to work with influencers? Give us a chance to tell you why this is simply not true. Book a call with us (no strings attached) and we'll explain how we help brands get the most ROI from their UGC.