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Influencer Content

What is a UGC Creator?

Here's everything you need to know about UGC creators — who they are, what they can do for your brand, and how they’re changing the influencer marketing landscape.
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Have you been seeing the hashtag #UGCcreator all over your TikTok and Instagram feed? That’s because brands have recently unlocked a new kind of partnership: UGC campaigns. 

These campaigns have become a growing trend in the influencer marketing space over the last year, and UGC creators are truly changing the game when it comes to branded content creation. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about UGC creators — who they are, what they can do for your brand, and how they’re changing the influencer marketing landscape.

What is UGC?

UGC (user-generated content) refers to content created organically by a brand’s community members via social media, customer reviews, and more. Brands like to repurpose this authentic content across their marketing channels, whether it be on their own social accounts, their website, or in newsletters, to provide social proof and drive sales. In fact, UGC has been proven to be extremely powerful with 80% of consumers saying UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. 

It’s no wonder UGC is a major part of industry-leading brands’ marketing strategy. Just take a look at cult favorite beauty brand Glossier’s Instagram feed — it’s fueled entirely by UGC. 

Glossier repurposes UGC across its social channels, providing social proof.

Because of its track record of success, UGC has always been in high demand for brands across all industries. That’s why today’s smartest brands are taking charge of user-generated content creation by partnering with paid UGC creators — changing the way they leverage traditional UGC. 

What is a UGC creator and how are they different from influencers?

UGC creators are essentially freelance content creators who produce content that look like typical user-generated content — but they’ve been paid to do so. In other words, UGC creators are paid to produce sponsored content showcasing the brand’s products or services in an authentic way — typically with an image or video optimized for social media. 

By this definition, we know what you might be thinking: how are UGC creators different from traditional social media influencers?

The main difference between UGC creators and influencers is the nature of their brand partnership, as well as their audience size. 

Typically, UGC creators simply have to deliver the content that they agreed to create for the brand, but they aren’t obligated to post the sponsored content to their own channels. Some UGC partnerships may still require creators to post, but it’s in exchange for additional payment. Because UGC campaigns usually focus solely on content, UGC creators aren’t required to have a big following or show their face in their content.

Meanwhile, brands pay to work with influencers for both their content and exposure to their audience. Influencers work hard to grow a devoted community and a personal brand, so in a typical influencer marketing campaign, brands want to leverage the namesake of the influencer and grow brand trust among their loyal audiences.

Why should brands work with UGC creators? 

UGC creators give you access to a content goldmine.

From renting out a studio, to shooting with a small group of models, to editing and polishing up final assets, traditional ways of creating branded content has been a difficult and time-consuming task. The good news is that this long-drawn-out process is no longer necessary.

In the age of “lo-fi” content, authenticity is paramount. Consumers want to see more casual, less produced content that looks like what people would normally post on their social media feed — and this goes for content posted by brands, too. 

Working with UGC creators allows you to outsource your content creation efforts and produce authentic content in bulk. And by working with a diverse array of UGC creators, you’re also able to source a wide range of content featuring different people, locations, and more — allowing you to choose from a goldmine of content when running your campaigns. 

Taco Bell uses UGC to engage with its 1.5 million Instagram followers.

UGC creators produce high-converting content.

While the content that UGC creators produce isn’t technically organic, it still embodies the authentic and relatable nature that traditional UGC offers. Equipped with assets from UGC creators, you can post content that seamlessly blends in with the rest of users’ social media feeds, boosting engagement and conversions. Studies show:

  • 80% of consumers say user-generated content highly impacts purchasing decisions.
  • Over 50% of marketers believe that user-generated videos yield a higher return on investment than professionally produced videos.
  • Social media campaigns that integrate UGC experience a 25% increase in performance.

UGC creators are often more cost-effective.

Influencer marketing campaigns are crucial for reaching targeted audiences, but it can get expensive especially if you’re working with macro- and mega-influencers. On the flip side, because you’re really only paying for their content, UGC creators are often more cost-effective to work with than traditional influencers on major campaigns. In fact, they usually charge an affordable rate at around $150 for one short-form video, according to an online community of UGC creators

If you’re trying to stretch your shoestring budget, it can be smart to work with a handful of UGC creators to produce content that looks authentic, resonates with consumers, and performs well.

How are UGC creators changing the influencer marketing landscape?

Paid UGC creators may have seemed to pop out of nowhere, but their claim to fame points to bigger shifts in the influencer marketing industry that have been in the works for years

Most notably, the evolution of influence is happening before our eyes. What started as an industry reserved for celebrities, professional athletes, and the like has opened its arms to welcome everyone and their moms (literally) to join the space. Today, the way people engage with each other on social media — particularly on TikTok — has leveled the playing field of status and created new possibilities for who truly has “influence.” 

UGC creators have made it increasingly clear that anyone can influence other people’s purchasing decisions — not because they have a huge following, but because they share authentic content in the form of reviews, try-on hauls, tutorials, and more. 

So, what does all this mean for your brand?

Whether you’re working with traditional social media influencers or UGC creators (or anyone else, for that matter), focus on authenticity. Provide some guidance and advice when working with creators, but don’t establish strict rules and guidelines. This limits their creative freedom, and in turn, diminishes authenticity. Instead, trust that your creators will produce content that is in line with what they would normally post. This type of sponsored content will seem less like an over-produced ad and resonate with their audience the best.

Ready to run your first UGC campaign? Book a demo to see how Aspire can help you source UGC creators and streamline every part of your partnership. 

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