Hey there, MOOTS 🌟
We’re treading into the trending realm of UGC (User-Generated Content) and asking the question many of us have whispered at cocktail parties: “UGC Creator or Influencer? Which hat am I wearing today?”
Okay, maybe you haven’t asked that specific question at a cocktail party. Maybe you’ve just asked yourself or your creator bestie while sitting on your respective beds, DMing each other while eating your #TiffanyPlate.
Anyway, we’re going to take all the confusion away from the differences between UGC and Influencer content, why brands are obsessed with it plus a sprinkle of insider tips for those looking to shine in the UGC Creator space.
Buckle up buttercup, it’s about to get juicy.
What is UGC?
In digital marketing, UGC is just a fancy way of saying content that regular people (you know, non-creators) post about brands. Think of it as stuff you’d share on social media – photos, videos, reviews, shout-outs, or even a podcast. It’s all about real people sharing their real experiences.
When we really like a brand’s product, we love to jump on social media and share a photo or video of us talking about the product, service or experience. We tag the brand and share that content. That’s UGC.
Why Brands Love UGC Content
Let’s set the scene and look at a specific example. Someone has just bought a really cute dress. They’ve done a #GRWM vid styling the dress and are totally rocking the look.
The brand is tagged and sees the content and it’s like HURRAH!
The brand now has authentic content relating to their product, which they didn’t have to create themselves. This type of content builds customer trust because consumers trust recommendations from others more than they trust brand advertising. This of course drive sales.
And, the brand has the opportunity to have their social team get in touch with the person to ask for permission to repost the content. Awesome, more content that the brand didn’t have to create themselves. Better still – it’s authentic, relatable and trusted by their customer base.
What is a UGC Creator?
UGC Creators are engaged by brands to create content that looks like it was created by the average peeps. In other words they are paid to create that raw, unpolished content that looks like it’s been created by a consumer.
What are differences between UGC creators and influencers?
We know the difference between a regular peeps and UGC Creators – regular peeps just post branded content, UGC Creators are paid by brands to produce that raw, unpolished content.
There’s two main difference between UGC Creators and Influencers: Content Distribution and Content Production.
📤 Content Distribution
The difference is UGC Creators provide content for brands to use on their own channels or in their ads – like an actor or model might and don’t post on their own channels.
Influencers are used to reach a wider audience. In other words, UGC Creators don’t usually have a large audience or following, but influencers do.
Of course, there’s some exceptions to this, which we cover off in Episode 16 of the podcast.
🤳 Content Production
The goal of a UGC Creator is to produce that raw, authentic consumer content feel. This means they’ll usually shoot on smart phone and maybe edit with Capcut. They’re not out there using fancy equipment and advanced post production for their content.
This is intentional and a mechanism to make the content grab your attention. It looks natural and organic, but it isn’t.
How brands work with UGC creators
Brands look for UGC Creators to pay to create UGC-style content that blends into users feeds – mostly across TikTok, Instagram Reels and Shorts. UGC content is commissioned for blog and other content types too.
Top 3 Tips for UGC Creators
If you’re UGC Creator, or thinking about becoming one, it’s important to know that the UGC Creator market is saturated. It’s not completely saturated but as a UGC Creator, like Influencers, you face heavy competition to make your profile stand out with brands.
✔️ Differentiate yourself create content in a less saturated vertical. You know what I’m saying – fashion, beauty and lifestyle are saturated. So what? It’s a big world out there and there’s lots of other topics you can create content for – pets, gardening, tech, money, craft, job hunting, space tourism. That last one is totally random but the point is, look beyond the obvious and look at industries that have been slow to move into the UGC space and bingo – there’s your opportunity!
❌ Don’t bombard brands with the same Canva template and cut/ paste pitching email that they’ve seen a hundred times before. In fact, consider if you should even be approaching brands at all. Just like our very own cancel culture, brands are becoming increasingly happy to clapback from fatigue arising from the constant inundation of creator pitches. Cultivate your aesthetic and portfolio and find the right ways to approach brands.
🌟 Professional UGC Creators rise above – while the UGC Creator market is saturated, it’s not saturated with experienced and professional creators. Build your distinct aesthetic, your portfolio, make it each for brands to contact and engage with you, and stick with it. Like all successful careers, it takes effort but the results can really be there when you put in the quality work.
UGC Trends and Statistics
📲 Consumers increasingly turn to social media to get their information: We all heavily rely on recommendations from Influencers, reviews we see online, etc.
🛍️ Trust and Purchase Decisions: According to a recent report, 79% of consumers say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
📈 The demand for social media content has gone way up: With most brands having marketing strategies across a ton of social media platforms, email marketing, and their website or blog, they need to be pushing out new content more frequently than ever before. This is hard to maintain for most brands, whether they have a dedicated social media team or not.
💯 Authenticity Matters: A recent report indicates that 90% of consumers believe authenticity is important when choosing brands they like and support, and UGC is often seen as more authentic than brand-created content.
💰 Changing Brand Budgets: Working with UGC creators is cheaper for brands and can significantly increase their return on ad spend (ROAS).
📌 Increase in UGC in brand marketing strategy: More than half of marketers say that UGC is a key component of their marketing strategy, largely because it plays such an important role in how it positively affects consumer decisions.
🎥 UGC on Social Media: AdWeek reported that brand engagement increases by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product videos.
🤳 A shift from perfectly curated content to more authentic content: People don’t expect perfectly curated content anymore—not even from major brands and companies. Instead, consumers value authenticity, relatability, and personality.
🌱 Influence on Millennials: A recent survey found that millennials (people aged 18-34) spend 30% of their daily media consumption on UGC, which is 5x more than traditional media.
🔍 SEO Benefits: Ratings and reviews, which are a form of UGC, can produce up to an 18% uplift in sales, according to a recent report. This is partly because fresh user reviews can boost SEO.