Right now, authenticity rules – and brands know it. That’s why the most successful marketing strategies of the moment all have one thing in common: UGC.
In today’s world, brands are constantly on the lookout for new ways to connect with their audiences and forge authentic relationships. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is via User-Generated Content (UGC). UGC is content created by a brand’s own followers that can be leveraged to showcase real-life usage, build trust and credibility, and increase social engagement. The success of UGC has seen brands rethink their marketing strategies. Rather than commissioning pricey advertisements or paying top influencers, smaller creators with loyal followings are becoming favored.
In this article, we’ll explore the rise in UGC, why it’s become successful, and how you can be partnering with brands to create your own User-Generated Content.
Why is User-Generated Content so successful?
UGC is a powerful tool for building trust and credibility with brand audiences. Often with simpler, more relatable production value, UGC sees real people sharing their experience with a brand. Since the pandemic, social attitudes have changed – we’re favoring authenticity over flawlessness. In line with this, consumer attitudes are changing. As a whole, we’re more skeptical: it’s unlikely we’ll invest in products unless we see real evidence of value. Organic UGC (that is, the content that is produced without any sponsorship from a brand) is invaluable. We’re especially likely to trust in products that the creator isn’t making a monetary gain, because, well – why would they lie?
Essentially, UGC helps increase engagement by driving the conversation. When followers see others sharing their experiences with a brand, they are more likely to join in and share their own stories. This increased engagement will ultimately lead to more conversions for the brand.
Why is it important to brands?
With the rise of authentic social media, consumers are looking to connect with brands in more genuine ways. UGC is a perfect vehicle for this because it’s organic and builds trust. When brands use UGC, they are showing that they value their customers and are willing to showcase their experiences. This can lead to stronger, more authentic relationships with customers and increased loyalty to the brand.
According to everyonesocial.com, “UGC campaigns can see a 50% lift in engagement compared to non-UGC campaigns, and 84% of millennials say UGC on company websites has an influence on what they buy.” This shows just how important UGC can be for brands looking to connect with audiences who value authenticity and transparency.
Creating your own User-Generated Content
If you like the idea of reviewing products, or, even better, your content specializes in one area (like cosmetics, games, TV, fitness, EQ) you sound like an ideal candidate for UGC creation. The great thing about UGC is that astronomical social stats are not what matters most. So even if your community is small, if your audiences are engaged, you can still be a great candidate.
The best way to get started is to do just that: next time you like the look of a product and decide to invest, why not make a Reel, IG Story, or TikTok about it? As you make more and your community grows, you’ll have more bargaining power with brands if you want to start reaching out for sponsorships.
Reaching out to, and collaborating with brands
So, how do you reach out to brands? It can seem daunting at first, but the process is straightforward. Once you’ve researched brands within your niche and studied their previous user-generated content, your first port of call should be via Instagram direct message. A lot of brands are dealing with influencers directly here but if they’re not, they’re likely checking messages and should be able to provide a marketing email to reach out to.
Some other places to look out for brand collaboration emails are social media bios and the ‘Contact Us’ pages of official websites. Failing this, try reaching out to fellow content creators for intel. After all, nobody will understand the hustle as much as they do! Haley Ivers’ website, for example, is a fantastic resource for budding collaborators.
When you’re ready to kickstart conversations, be professional, be confident about your value proposition, and lay out what you can offer the brand in terms of content and reach. Provide examples and demonstrate your followers’ engagement.
Remember: following up once or twice is okay. Brands receive hundreds, if not thousands of collaboration requests. It’s not unusual for them to miss an email or two. When you follow up, be polite and remind the brand how much of an asset you can be. Send over one of your newer posts or comment on something on their social channels that you saw and liked. This will help you stand out.
Now you’re privy to the ins and outs of user-generated content, it’s time to pick up your smartphone (and your Pivo Solo Creator kit, of course) and get started. Get creative and good luck!