Businesses have long relied on influencers and brand amabassadors for that promotional push, but UGC creators are quickly claiming their spot in the digital limelight.
At the moment, user-generated content (UGC) holds tremendous potential for creators seeking monetization opportunities and for brands aiming to tap into genuine, word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, the #UGCCreator hashtag has already garnered 1.5B views on TikTok, with its popularity continuing to surge.
To learn the ropes of UGC creation and acquire all the tools you’ll need to get started on this exciting journey, read this article til the end!
Boost your content creation with hundreds of post ideas, examples, and Canva templates.
- UGC creators are people who generate authentic-looking content for brands on various social media platforms. In exchange for their efforts, UGC creators receive incentives, such as financial compensation or complimentary products and services.
- UGC creators and influencers have different roles in the marketing industry. Influencers are paid to promote products on their own social media channels and have a larger audience reach. Meanwhile, UGC creators provide content directly to brands for their channels. UGC content tends to be more authentic and unpolished, reflecting the real experiences and perspectives of consumers.
- Businesses are aware of how influential UGC is in effectively promoting their products. That’s because, unlike traditional marketing, UGC establishes genuine connections with a broad range of audiences.
What Is A UGC Creator?
UGC creators are people who generate authentic-looking content for brands on various social media platforms. In exchange for their efforts, UGC creators receive incentives, such as financial compensation or complimentary products and services.
Unlike professionals tied to established media outlets or organizations, UGC creators rely on their ingenuity, talents, and knowledge to produce captivating and relatable content that connects on a core level with their audience.
User-generated content (UGC) helps brands to promote their products or services. Testimonials, instructional guides, unboxing videos, reviews, and demonstrations are some popular forms of UGC.
What Is the Difference Between Traditional Influencers and UGC Creators?
An important thing to know is that UGC creators and influencers play different roles in the marketing industry.
While influencers are often paid to promote products on their own social media channels and have a wider audience reach, UGC creators provide content directly to brands for their channels.
Additionally, UGC content is often more authentic and less polished, reflecting the genuine experiences and perspectives of real consumers.
Here are the main differentiating factors that separate influencers from UGC creators:
- Origin of Content Creation: Traditional influencers often begin by crafting a personal brand around their niche or lifestyle, whereas UGC creators typically start by sharing personal experiences without the initial intent to influence.
- Content Authenticity: While influencers, due to brand partnerships, might face questions about the authenticity of their branded content, UGC creators, on the other hand, are seen as more genuine since their content arises organically from firsthand experiences.
- Monetization: Influencers employ a structured approach to monetization using sponsored content and affiliate marketing; in contrast, UGC creators often begin unsponsored and monetize as they gain organic traction.
- Audience Relationship: Influencers build relationships based on aspiration, with followers idolizing their lifestyle or expertise, while UGC creators foster trust and relatability, rooted in genuine feedback and shared experiences.
- Brand Engagement: Traditional influencers enter structured, contractual engagements with brands, whereas UGC creators might begin with organic brand interactions that can later evolve into formal partnerships.
- Content Control: Influencers curate content with a focus on brand alignment and aesthetics, whereas UGC creators offer a more spontaneous array of posts driven by real-time experiences.
Why Do Brands Hire UGC Creators?
Although the concept of UGC creators is relatively new, traditional user-generated content (UGC) has been around for some time and has become an effective tool for social media strategies.
Given that increasing brand awareness and driving sales are valuable outcomes for businesses, it is not surprising that brands are willing to compensate UGC creators.
Here are the main reasons why brands choose to work with UGC creators:
- User-generated content feels authentic
- UGC is an updated basic marketing strategy
- It helps brands expand their target audience
- It’s cheaper than influencer campaigns
- UGC content drives sales
A. User-Generated Content Feels Authentic
UGC is seen as 2.4 times more genuine than brand-created content by consumers, and for a good reason: it possesses an inherent authenticity that brands often find challenging to reproduce. This stems from UGC creators’ unparalleled capability to promote products or services organically, all while focusing on what the brand’s target audience values most.
Here is an example of UGC content from @L’Oréal’s TikTok account:
Had you not known that UGC was a thing, you could have easily assumed that this is an ordinary beauty routine that you can replicate at home with L’Oréal products.
B. UGC Is an Updated Basic Marketing Strategy
For the longest time, brands have harnessed and monetized the power of customer testimonials, case studies, and reviews. We’ve all seen ads with everyday people sharing their honest opinions about a brand’s newest product.
In this day and age, user-generated content is the latest version of this strategy. UGC provides businesses with genuine-looking content that acts as social proof, which is a powerful way to drive sales.
C. It Helps Brands Expand Their Target Audience
Businesses can use UGC to create authentic connections with demographics that would be difficult to reach through conventional marketing approaches. This is because content created organically demonstrates a brand’s significance and inherent worth within particular communities.
When potential customers see authentic content created by their peers, it builds trust, as they perceive it as unbiased and reliable.
D. It’s Cheaper Than Influencer Campaigns
When working with influencers, brands must compensate them for both creating content and promoting it on their channels. The amount brands need to pay varies depending on the influencer’s reach and level of engagement, and can be in the millions for well-known celebrities.
On the other hand, UGC only requires payment for the content itself. This type of content is often just as good, if not better, than content created by influencers. On top of that, UGC gives brands complete control over how the content is shared and strategically positioned.
E. UGC Content Drives Sales
Numerous companies invest in UGC for their social media advertisements due to its impact on consumer purchasing choices. UGC serves as social proof that showcases individuals using a particular product, which can ultimately boost sales.
Additionally, UGC isn’t overtly promotional, which can make it more effective than traditional campaigns.
10 Successful Strategies to Get Started as a UGC Creator
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective strategies to become a UGC creator:
- Do your research
- Invest in equipment and build your set-up
- Identify the brands you want to work with
- Practice creating UGC content
- Build your UGC portfolio
- Offer value when reaching out to brands
- Use platforms to find brand deals
- Build an online presence
- Improve and adapt consistently
- Know your worth
1. Do Your Research
Focusing on a specific niche is mandatory when creating user-generated content, as being highly knowledgeable about a particular topic makes you the right fit for the brands you want to work with.
While sticking to one category may limit the number of potential clients, working within a specific niche can bring credibility and expertise to the content you create.
To determine your niche, research popular content categories and identify gaps in the market. Look for brands that could benefit from a unique perspective on their product or industry.
It’s important to choose a narrower topic that you excel in, yet is not overly saturated with competition. Here are some potential areas of interest that you can explore:
- Fitness & Wellness: While this industry is quite broad, consider delving into specific fitness areas like low-impact workouts or daily exercise routines.
- Growth & Career: If you excel in helping others excel in their careers, boost productivity, structure their days, and prioritize tasks, this is the area where you can shine.
- Cooking: If cooking a good meal is your superpower, focus on a specific niche within the culinary world, such as vegan cooking or creating diet-friendly meals.
- Books: Although it may seem unusual, there is a niche community for book lovers. Find groups where people chat about different books, authors, or genres and use that knowledge to draw inspiration for your content.
- Beauty & Skincare: If you’re knowledgeable about using different products or treatments or have experience with addressing different skin issues, this niche might be it.
- Fashion: The possibilities are endless in this niche, and if you have great taste in clothes or a unique style, you could put together daily outfits to discuss seasonal fashion trends as a form of UGC content.
Check out this collaboration between @iam_natasha and @alphaskincare:
At a first glance, it looks like an ordinary review from a satisfied customer, which is exactly what @alphaskincare was hoping to achieve through this partnership.
In reality, @iam_natasha partnered up with a brand that has a similar target audience and that aligns with her passions and expertise. Through her UGC, she provides descriptive, visually appealing step-by-step tutorials that showcase various products in action.
2. Invest in Equipment and Build Your Setup
UGC can be captured in various settings — outdoors (provided there isn’t an overwhelming amount of background noise) or in the cozy confines of your own home. Countless UGC creators choose the latter since they can fine-tune their filming arrangements to perfection.
Gear-wise, there are several pieces of equipment you may want to consider as a UGC creator:
- A good camera
- A reliable microphone
- Various backdrops
- Additional props for video content
- A social media management platform
A. A Good Camera
Invest in a professional-grade camera or a good smartphone, since many of them have exceptional features and can outperform basic digital equipment.
A ring light is more than enough for basic UGC creation, but if you want to become a pro, it can be beneficial to research more advanced lighting equipment.
C. A Reliable Microphone
Poor audio can ruin your UGC content, so if your phone’s recording feature doesn’t cut it, consider investing in a separate microphone or lavaliere.
D. Various Backdrops
If the background in your clips is cluttered or distracting, it’s best to conceal it. You don’t always have to go for a plain, blank sheet as your backdrop. Instead, you can explore your creativity and use different fabrics or materials.
E. Additional Props for Video Content
Props can help you tailor the content to your audience and also contribute to making a cohesive impression on your following.
F. A Social Media Management Platform
UGC creators often produce content for various social media platforms at the same time, and managing that much content at once without the right tools in place can create chaos. This is why you need to find an all-in-one social media management tool that will streamline your efforts to become a successful UGC creator.
Create, schedule, and manage your social media content with SocialBee
Here’s how a social media management platform like SocialBee can help UGC creators:
- Centralized Management: With multiple social media platforms in use, it becomes challenging to manage them individually. A social media management tool allows creators to manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard, streamlining the posting and engagement process.
- Scheduling: Planning ahead is key in the world of content creation. SocialBee helps creators to schedule their posts in advance, ensuring regularity and consistency in content distribution, and freeing up time for content creation.
- Analytics: Understanding one’s audience is paramount for any UGC creator. These tools offer insights into post engagement, audience demographics, best posting times, and more. These metrics help UGC creators to tailor their content in a way that better serves their audience.
- Engagement: Engaging with the audience is as important as the content itself. A social media management tool helps to track and manage comments, mentions, and messages, which enables creators to engage more effectively and promptly.
- Content Repository: SocialBee offers the ability to store content, making it easier to plan and visualize a content calendar.
- Collaboration: For UGC creators who work in teams or collaborate with others, some management tools offer features for team collaboration, making the content creation and posting process more seamless.
- Cross-Posting: SocialBee allows for simultaneous posting across various platforms, ensuring that content reaches all segments of an audience.
- Efficiency and Productivity: Streamlining various aspects of social media management saves creators a significant amount of time, allowing them to focus on content creation and other meaningful tasks.
- Canva Integration: With just a single click, you can kick-start your graphic designing process. Seamlessly import them into SocialBee’s content editor and assign them to your social media feeds.
- AI Content Generator: Overcome any creative block by choosing and customizing one of our 1000+ social media prompts, and use it to generate social media posts.
Create, Plan, and Analyze Your UGC with SocialBee!
3. Practice Creating UGC Content
Your first attempt at UGC creation may not be your best. Try to recreate the material you have gathered through research. If photography is your strong suit, focus on acquiring fundamental skills like mastering poses and set lighting.
If you want to create videos instead, refine your script delivery skills and familiarize yourself with various camera angles, transitions, and video editing techniques.
Expert Tips on How to Create UGC Content from Dara Denney
Dara Denney is a standout Performance Creative Consultant, partnering with renowned brands to optimize their presence on platforms like Facebook and TikTok Ads.
She is not only a behind-the-scenes strategist, but many also recognize Dara from her insightful YouTube content.
In her video about how to create user-generated content, Dara Denney, with over eight years of experience in paid social media advertising and content creation, reveals the following seven expert tips:
- Use Engaging Hooks
- Use multiple captivating hooks to grab attention.
- Employ strategies like reverse loops, TikTok trends, post-it note responses, and bubbles.
- Incorporate surprising, outlandish, or oddly satisfying elements.
- Always create at least two different and engaging hooks.
- Make the Most Out of Golden Hour Lighting
- Utilize the golden hour for optimal natural lighting.
- While artificial lights like ring lights are useful, natural golden hour lighting often looks best.
- Ensure that lighting complements the aesthetic of your content.
- Keep a Clean Background
- Avoid clutter and unnecessary items in the background.
- Ensure that the background is clean and aesthetically pleasing.
- Minimize Background Noise
- Turn off disruptive appliances like AC, fans, washers, and dryers.
- Consider outside noises if filming by a window.
- For voiceovers, use headphones with a built-in microphone. Earbuds with microphones are recommended.
- Present Your Best Self
- Spend time on personal grooming: do your hair and makeup.
- Wearing outfits that boost confidence can result in better content performance. Presentability directly impacts content performance and client satisfaction.
- Include Transitions
- Provide clients with a folder of transitions.
- Use camera movements to make content more dynamic, such as moving the camera closer or farther from the product.
- Focus on Aesthetics
- Invest in backgrounds, props, and plants to improve the look of your content.
- Ensure content is visually appealing to keep clients satisfied.
4. Build Your UGC Portfolio
Your portfolio is essential for highlighting your skills as a UGC content creator and attracting potential clients.
Include a diverse range of work and adapt your portfolio to your target audience. Avoid overwhelming your portfolio with an excessive number of samples, as this can make it difficult to navigate.
To start creating your portfolio, you need products to work with. However, brands usually only send products to individuals who already have a portfolio. Is there a way around this?
To create content featuring your favorite products without relying on brand permission or sponsorship, use products that you already have at home. Start recording videos or taking photos, and your portfolio will be ready to go in no time.
A great idea would be to use a social media management platform to monitor your analytics, download them as a PDF report, and share it with customers.
Easily monitor and download your analytics with SocialBee
This approach eliminates the need to jump through hoops or justify your pricing when reaching out to brands.
5. Identify the Brands You Want to Work With
To achieve success as a UGC creator, effective networking and outreach are mandatory. Interact with potential clients in places where they actively search for creators like yourself, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok. Additionally, you could try email outreach or looking for opportunities on freelancer platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.
For a proactive approach, use these platforms for outreach as a UGC creator:
- A. Personal Branding: Share updates on your account, showcasing your journey as a UGC creator. Include a call-to-action that invites brands to reach out to you for UGC collaborations.
- B. Cold Outreach: Identify brands that genuinely resonate with you and that you would enjoy creating content for. Get in contact with employees from these companies and express your interest in creating content for them. Alternatively, try connecting with brands and fellow creators through other social media platforms and attending industry events.
PRO TIP: Smaller businesses that are only beginning to establish their presence on social media are more likely to require UGC services.
6. Offer Value when Reaching Out to Brands
With so many UGC creators, competition is tight. That’s why you must think of your pitch as a job application process.
When crafting your content, emphasize the brand itself rather than focusing solely on yourself. Clearly illustrate the value you can offer to the brand through your UGC.
Additionally, customize your pitch for each specific opportunity you pursue. In your portfolio, curate relevant examples that align and resonate with the industry of the brand you are targeting and their audience.
Here is a UGC pitch you can use as inspiration when reaching out to brands:
Subject: Elevate Our Impact Together: Exclusive UGC Collaboration
Dear [Brand’s Name],
Greetings! I’m [UGC Creator’s Name], an expert in [relevant content niche]. Having admired and featured your trailblazing [products/services], I envision a partnership that amplifies our combined potential.
Your dedication to excellence has not only impressed me but has been a recurring theme in my content.
Here’s a glimpse into my results:
I’ve also created a [social media post of your choice] to envision how I’d spotlight your brand: [Link to the sample content].
Together, we can explore:
Intrigued by the possibilities? Connect with me at [contact information of UGC Creator], and let’s create a success story.
Enthusiastically awaiting our collaboration!
[UGC Creator’s Name]
Here are a few tips to make your email pitch stand out as a UGC creator based on the example above:
- Direct and Engaging: The pitch grabs attention immediately, eliminating unnecessary fluff and getting straight to the point.
- Evidence-Based: By providing links to previous content and showcasing past results, it establishes credibility and offers a tangible sense of the creator’s capabilities.
- Tailored Content Sample: A sample tailored for the brand demonstrates the creator’s genuine interest and gives a practical glimpse of what the collaboration might look like.
- Clear Collaboration Opportunities: The pitch lays out a structured proposal, detailing exactly what the partnership would entail, from product reviews to live interactions.
- Metrics & Results: Highlighting specific metrics (like views, likes, shares, or engagement percentages) provides a quantifiable measure of success, making the collaboration’s potential value evident.
- Call to Action: The pitch ends with a clear invitation for the brand to connect, fostering immediate action.
Professional Yet Enthusiastic Tone: The tone strikes a balance between professionalism and genuine enthusiasm, portraying the UGC creator as both competent and passionate about the potential collaboration.
7. Use Platforms to Find Brand Deals
Cold outreach can be challenging because it often yields low success rates, and it can be disheartening when your emails go unanswered.
8. Build an Online Presence
Check out how @realskindiaries maintains a social media presence as a UGC creator:
When brands see how your preexisting content aligns with their niche and the social media users they’re targeting, they’re more likely to consider you for UGC creation.
9. Improve and Adapt Consistently
The only way to stay afloat in the UGC industry is to evaluate your performance consistently, gather constructive feedback from your audience, and work on refining your skills.
To stay adaptable, you must fully understand the specific needs and preferences of different brands through research and familiarizing yourself with certain concepts.
Brands determine the strengths of a creator by assessing their portfolio and social media presence. This is why creators must ensure that a brand aligns with their passions and interests. Even if you have incoming clients by this point, keep up with industry-related knowledge and trends.
B. Campaign Goals
Usually, brands will establish goals for each video, so creators can have clear directions. Depending on your niche, try to familiarize yourself with basic jargon, which will allow you to effectively communicate with the brand and tailor your content to meet those goals.
C. Clear Deliverables
Both brands and creators need to establish clear expectations and outline deliverables. Brands should specify the desired content they expect from a creator, such as one TikTok video and an Instagram Reel. Make sure that it’s all in writing, ideally in the form of a contract.
10. Know Your Worth
Just like influencer marketing, the payment rates for UGC can vary. Typically, it’s the brand or platform that determines the payment for brand deals. However, keep an eye out for the standard market rates. This knowledge empowers you to select deals that offer fair compensation, which will benefit both you and other UGC creators by ensuring equal pay.
UGC Creators Frequently Asked Questions
Begin Your UGC Creation Journey Today
In this article, we discussed the benefits of user-generated content and shared our tips for becoming a UGC creator.
If you want to express yourself freely, connect with a vibrant community, and showcase your unique talents and ideas, grab your camera and let the world be your canvas!
Embrace the power of UGC with SocialBee, the one-stop social media management platform that helps you create, schedule, and post your content. Happy creating!