User-generated content, commonly referred to as UGC for short, is images, blogs, videos, and many other types of media that are brand related yet created by customers.
UGC is normally created by customers once they receive the product or service. The claims that are made in UGC content carry an air of credibility and trustworthiness as they’re being shared by the end user instead of paid influencers who tend to show bias when doing sponsored posts.
What are The Benefits of User-Generated Content
So let’s be real, legacy advertising doesn’t have the same effect that it used to. Viewers, especially Millenials and Gen Z, distrust conventional advertising and in fact, a whopping 96% of shoppers say the same. This is probably because they’ve grown up in the era of connectivity, and spent a lifetime being bombarded with commercials at every turn.
Nowadays, marketers and brands are adapting to the changing landscape of advertising that younger generations are spearheading. Gen Z’ers are all about online authenticity, which is why user-generated content has become so effective.
In a recent study, 72% of buyers said that they trusted consumer reviews as word-of-mouth recommendations. In fact, what’s even crazier is that over 25% of leading brands’ search results are links to UGC.
- Brand Loyalty
The way UGC content helps to build fierce loyalty is through social proofing.
Social proofing has become one of the most important facets of any marketing strategy because as mentioned previously, most consumers no longer trust brands yet they’d feel comfortable purchasing at the recommendation of a friend, relative, or even a content creator. By using UGC, brands are able to share their customer’s opinions, reviews, and first-hand experiences which in return helps to build trust with prospective buyers because the content is perceived as authentic.
User-generated content in some ways is democratizing marketing; its created by the users, for the users. With no means to misguide, UGC places the customer’s opinion and experience front and center for all to see in a simple yet reliable way.
UGC is great for conveying an authentic message, but the best part is that it’s also an extremely cost-effective marketing method.
Why would a brand spend money and resources creating content themselves that’s going to ultimately be less effective than if a customer had produced their own? The answer is – they shouldn’t. Because by now we know that users trust users, not brands.
Simple things such as having a product review option on an eCommerce store can free up time for brands to focus their attention on other tasks. Why? Because brands can take those customer reviews and repurpose them for different outlets.
If you’ve not seen store reviews being added to pretty graphics and posted on Instagram by brands then you’ve been living under a rock.
When consumer trust is at an all-time low, brands can never have enough UGC content!
- Boost Engagement and Conversions
User-generated content is fast becoming the most effective way for brands to grow their sales and generate new interest in their products. We’re not even making it up, the numbers speak for themselves! Brands that used UGC saw an increase of a whopping 161% and that’s across all verticals and industries.
For example, Ann Summers added a review option to each product page of their website to create “product-specific UGC”. They saw a 230% increase in sales after making this change to their site. They also realized that allowing negative reviews to remain on display led to an increase in sales of 76%.
Because user-generated content is created by customers making each piece of content entirely unique, while at the same time catering to prospective buyers with similar interests. For example, someone with oily skin will listen to product recommendations from someone who also has oily skin. This content paradox leads to increased niched marketing and higher sales.
How you can become a UGC creator
The main advantage of being a UGC content creator instead of a conventional influencer is that you actually don’t need a large number of followers to get started. Because the content you create isn’t being posted on your channels instead it’s published by the brands to their accounts, it takes the number of followers out of the equation and becomes focused on the content quality.
The main thing to do if you’re wanting to get started with UGC is to work on your content creation skills. There’s a fine line between UGC looking authentic and well done, to just damn right lo-fi and unprofessional.
Research and Learn About What Makes Good Content
You can start by researching brands you’d like to work with, and then taking a look at the type of UGC content that they’re posting. Can you spot similarities between different pieces of content? Does there seem to be a reoccurring theme?
While researching the user-generated content make sure you’re not just mindlessly scrolling by without actually evaluating what you’re consuming. This is an important foundational step that will help you understand the type of content that brands are looking for.
Become An Expert In Making Content
Don’t stress! We’re using the term “expert” lightly – we know that learning a new skill takes time, and your first piece of content will most likely not be your best. But practice makes perfect, and the best thing to do is to start.
Find other UGC content that you like and then recreate it! If you’re interested in creating videos then you can start by practicing how to deliver scripts, learning about angles, and testing out editing software. And if your interest lay more in creating photo UGC then you can start by learning how to set up proper lighting, camera settings, and poses.
The important part is getting started because you’ll learn as you go along and create the content.
Start Pitching Brands
Brands aren’t going to come looking for you, especially if you’re just starting out. That won’t always be the case, once you’ve perfected the art of creating content and have your own unique style that stands out from the crowd, then sure, brands will find you and you won’t need to do any of the chasings.
And even if you have experience in creating content outside of UGC, you’ll still most likely have to find and pitch brands yourself in the beginning.
There are three ways to find UGC-related opportunities.
- Freelancing job sites like Upwork
- Dedicated social platforms such as Influee, MiniSocial, or Billo
- Direct pitching brands
Being a UGC creator is exactly the same as any other field related to producing content, it takes time and most importantly, effort. Mistakes will be made, and you’ll learn along the way – but always make sure to have fun!
UGC really is that simple! Simple, yet effective.
Follow the tips outlined in this article to become a UGC content creator and start building relationships with brands while empowering their customers and your peers by telling your story, creating engaging content, and providing authentic product reviews.
Don’t forget, gone are the days of conventional advertising! More than 90% of shoppers nowadays say they are influenced by UGC when making purchasing decisions. More and more brands are going to start using UGC content, meaning that if you start now – you’ll be ahead of the game.