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6 Ways to Score more User Generated Content (UGC) for Your Brand

Undoubtedly, when the global pandemic ripped through our world, it acted as a catalyst for transformative change. How we worked, played and interacted with each other was forever changed.

As you might have guessed, social media marketing was not immune to these changes. A study done by Stackla on post-pandemic shifts in shopping habits revealed that 88% of consumers now say that authenticity is a major deciding factor in which brands they would purchase from.

Authenticity has become an essential component to a good social media strategy.

People no longer want to feel that they are being sold to by a brand. They want an authentic point-of-view from a real person, not a marketing team. This is where User Generated Content comes in.

What is User Generated Content?

User Generated Content is content posted to social media that is made by users showcasing a product for a specific brand.

UGC Creators are typically compensated by gifting or paid.

Organic (free) UGC often comes from real buyers who have shared a product and testimonial. Often time they will tag the product page in the image or mention the product in the caption. With permission granted from these creators brands can then showcase real-time UGC to their page.

Why is UGC so Important?

User Generated Content is a great way to market your brand that simultaneously allows you to gain the trust of potential buyers and strengthen the loyalty among already established customers.

It’s a win-win for both parties.

In the same study cited earlier by Stackla, 79% of consumers reported that UGC is a major influencing factor when it came to purchasing decisions, a factor significantly more impactful than the sway of both branded content and influencer content.

The New Age of UGC

An article by Hootsuite predicted that 2023 would bring about a new era of UGC— an increase in the outsourcing of User Generated Content to freelance content creators.

While organic UGC is incredibly effective, there is a major downside to it— irregular supply. Since organic UGC is created by real people, the posting of such content is inconsistent. Users will usually make a one-off post about a brand or product and that’s it.

Instead of brands waiting for organic UGC made by actual users, they have now started paying content creators to create content that looks like organic UGC. Rather than posting it to their own social channels, however, the freelance UGC creator gives this content directly to the brand to post to their page.

But don't be confused - just because it "looks" like organic UGC does not mean that it's not. A good UGC creator will spend time with a product and learn about it before creating content. This helps them to create an informative and clear message in their contracted content.

Why Use Freelance User Generated Content Creators?

Social proof. Social proof is an observation on how we base our own decisions on the opinions or behaviors of others. The need for social proof is why consumers tend to respond more positively to content that looks and feels more organic and that features a “real” person. User Generated Content acts as social proof that your brand and products can be trusted.

Consistent Content. Using freelance UGC creators to create content gives marketers a steady stream of what appears to be User Generated Content without the wait that comes with organic UGC.

Budget-Friendly. Hiring a Freelance UGC creator is also more affordable than paying for an influencer to promote your brand to their followers and more cost effective than doing in-house content creation. This detail makes this marketing strategy a no-brainer for many brands.

Tips on How to Score more UGC for Your Brand

It makes no difference whether you post paid User Generated Content or repost organically created UGC, as long as it looks and feels authentic, users will likely embrace it.

So how do you even find UGC content that users have published to their pages featuring your brand? Here are some ways to find organic UGC and how you can encourage the creation of more UGC to post to your brand’s socials.

  1. Employee Endorsements. Even though, typically, organic UGC is created by users and brand loyalists, an alternative place to look is to your own employees. Employees can be some of the best spokespersons for your brand as they know the business and products intimately. Ask employees if they are willing to participate in a testimonial or tutorial on how they use the brand’s products in their daily lives.

  2. Encourage Tagging. This is probably the simplest way to acquire UGC as it doesn’t require any additional effort on your part. When users tag your brand in one of their posts, it automatically shows up in your tagged feed. So be sure to remind your followers to tag the brand when featuring your products!

  3. Text-Based UGC. I know I have been referring to User Generated Content mostly as videos and photos in this post, but text reviews are also considered UGC! Share user reviews from your website on your social media accounts as eye-catching graphics.

  4. Go Freelance. Earlier, I outlined why you would want to use a freelance creator to produce UGC for you. If those reasons resonated with you and budget allows, it may be time to find a content creator that’s up for the task. But…how does one find a UGC creator? It’s actually easier than you might think, although it does require some legwork. Since UGC creators are always trying to attract brands to work with, they usually have the title of UGC creator in the bios of their socials. Simply search for “UGC Creator” in the platform of your choice and start to look through their body of work. Be sure that the creator’s content looks and feels authentic and aligns with your brand’s voice. For added integrity, find a creator that is familiar with your kind of products. For example, if you are a clean beauty brand, search for “UGC creator clean beauty”. Creators that specialize in your brand’s niche will be better acquainted with the content that your audience likes to see.

  5. Hashtags. Creating a unique hashtag for your brand is a great method to help you later gather UGC. Having a branded hashtag will house all of the content that users created related to your brand for easy sharing. Just remember to ALWAYS ask the original creator for permission to repost their content to your page.

  6. Hold a Contest. This is probably the most creative way to encourage your followers to create UGC for you. As an example, Starbucks holds a Red Cup Contest every holiday season, encouraging patrons to share artful photos of their holiday red cup for a chance to win a cash prize. It’s a fun and innovative way for Starbucks to not only get great UGC, but to deepen their connection with their followers. You can hold a similar contest on your page with a product giveaway if you’re on a budget and cannot offer a cash prize.

Authenticity is going to continue to be a key player in successful social media campaigns.

You now see the benefits of harnessing the power of User Generated Content to boost brand awareness, establish trust among your followers and showcase your brand’s authenticity.

Is this a method that you are already implementing in your social media marketing strategy? Or is this a completely new concept to you? Let me know in the comments!

I hope this post was helpful in some way. Check out my Stellar Starters podcast episode where I talk to special guest and UGC Creator, Jenna Libman about the benefits and opportunities of user-generated content and how it is different from Influencer Marketing.

For more social media tips and advice, check out my other blog posts and follow me on Instagram, @LeighBCreative

And until the next one, keep rocking your brand!



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