Finding the Right Creators for Your User-Generated Content Campaigns

< Blog
Updated on: October 17th, 2023Sharon Sexton14 min read
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In our connected world, user-generated content (UGC) has become an integral part of creating and growing your brand, with over 90% of consumers saying that it directly influences their purchasing decisions. Simply put, UGC builds the all-important trust factor! UGC is like customer testimonials on steroids.

When collaborating with a creator or influencer, UGC is a way to improve your overall conversion rates and boost ROI proactively. Plus, it’s easy to scale when needed, e.g., product launches, new releases, etc. That makes UGC a valuable tool in your marketing strategy and can be used throughout digital marketing and social media campaigns.

What is User-Generated Content?

So, what is the definition of user-generated content or UGC? 

UGC refers to any form of content, such as videos, reviews of products or services, content, images, and more, that is created and shared by creators on a particular platform rather than by professional marketing people or organizations. The users of social media platforms, online communities, websites, and other digital platforms typically generate UGC.

In general, UGC shares some characteristics that may include:

  • Authenticity and Trust – UGC is often seen as more authentic and genuine because it comes from real users, not marketing or advertising professionals. This authenticity can build trust and credibility.
  • Community Engagement – UGC often fosters a sense of community and interaction among users. It can encourage conversations, discussions, and collaborations within a desired online community or social network.
  • Diversity – UGC can encompass a wide range of perspectives, ideas, and styles, reflecting the diversity of the user base. This diversity can be valuable for businesses and communities.
  • Low Cost – Producing UGC is generally cost-effective for businesses and results in maximum ‘bang for your buck.’

Examples of UGC by Platform

We’ve all seen the Instagram post by a famous celebrity for the latest Nootropic Supplement, but most companies can afford to pay the six- and even seven-figure price tag. But if you look closer, you will find many examples posted by real people who just like a product or service and are willing to share their opinions on their Instagram feed.

Here are some platforms that creators are actively posting for excellent results:

  • Social Media Posts – User-generated posts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter).
  • YouTube Videos – Videos created and uploaded by individuals on YouTube, often reviewing products or sharing their expertise.
  • Blogs and Forums – User-contributed content in the form of comments, etc., on blogs, forums, and discussion boards.
  • Product Reviews – Reviews and ratings left by customers on e-commerce websites like Amazon, Google, or Yelp.
  • User Photos – Images taken by the creator and shared on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram, often showcasing personal experiences and interests.

How to Get Started in User-Generated Content 

A business or organization can often leverage UGC on one or more of these platforms as part of its marketing strategy to engage with its audience, build brand awareness and loyalty, and gain insights into customer preferences. Additionally, UGC can help create a sense of community and encourage customer and user participation, which can be invaluable for growing your brand and customer base. 

Many companies use a professional marketing agency to provide content creator management services since finding and nurturing relationships with creators and overseeing an entire campaign can be time-consuming. However, whether you choose to leverage an experienced agency or try to do it yourself, it’s essential to understand the different types of services and campaigns.

What is UGC in Digital Marketing?

So, what is a UGC campaign in digital marketing? This type of campaign refers to any content created and shared by influencers or consumers of a product, service, or brand. This content can take various forms, including text, images, videos, reviews, testimonials, blog posts, social media posts, and more. 

More than simply posting on social media, UGC is valuable in digital marketing for several reasons:

  • Brand Engagement – UGC can drive higher levels of engagement because it resonates with other consumers who can relate to the experiences and opinions shared by their peers.
  • Social Proof – Positive UGC, such as on-site and off-site reviews and testimonials, serves as social proof and can influence potential customers’ buying decisions.
  • Brand Trust Builder – users perceive UGC as more trustworthy and authentic than brand-generated content because it comes from real users who have experienced the product or service.
  • SEO – UGC can be integral to your SEO strategy and should include keywords and phrases related to a brand or product. This can improve search engine optimization (SEO) and increase organic visibility.
  • Cost-Effective – Because users create the content voluntarily, brands can leverage UGC without incurring the costs associated with producing their content.
  • Community Building – Encouraging UGC can help foster a sense of community around a brand or product, facilitating brand loyalty and advocacy.

UGC being used in digital marketing can look like these examples:

  • Customers posting photos of themselves using a brand’s product or service.
  • User-submitted videos demonstrating how to use a product.
  • Contests or challenges where users create content related to a brand’s product or service.
  • Online customer reviews and ratings on e-commerce websites or sites like Google and Yelp.
  • User-written blog posts or articles about their experiences with a particular service.

To harness the power of UGC in digital marketing, brands often encourage customers to create and share content by running campaigns, offering incentives, or simply engaging with their audience on social media and other online platforms. However, this is where an expert digital marketing agency comes into play with team members who can dedicate the time required to adequately manage the process and maintain day-to-day relations with the creators.

What is UGC in Social Media?

UGC in social media refers to any content creation generated by creators, users, or customers and shared on their preferred social media platforms. UGC is typically posted on social media platforms, online forums, blogs, or other online communities.

So, what is user-generated content on social media? Key characteristics of user-generated content used explicitly in social media include:

  • Content Created by Users – UGC is produced by regular users or customers and is often unprompted. However, many companies actively recruit customers to engage in social media through their product pages and blogs that contain links to the most used social pages.
  • Social Sharing – Users often share UGC on social media platforms, making it visible to their friends, followers, and the broader online community.
  • Engagement – UGC can increase engagement by encouraging user interaction, comments, likes, shares, and discussions.
  • Marketing and Promotion – Brands and businesses often leverage UGC in their marketing efforts. They may encourage customers to create UGC related to their products or services, which can be shared on the brand’s social media profiles or website.

Here are some ideas of ways UGC is influential on social media posts:

  • Customer reviews and testimonials on e-commerce websites.
  • Photos or videos of customers using a product or service and sharing it on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. 
  • Hashtag campaigns where users create content related to a specific brand or campaign and use a designated hashtag.
  • User-contributed content on discussion forums, such as Reddit or Quora.
  • Blog comments, where readers provide feedback or share their thoughts on a blog post and repost it to their social media feed.

Brands often find value in UGC on social media because it can create a sense of community and provide social proof of the quality and popularity of their products or services. Additionally, UGC can be a cost-effective way to generate content and engage with a broader audience. 

Looking for UGC Creators that Can Make a Solid Impact

As this form of marketing continues to grow, more and more companies and brands are looking for UGC creators. Remember, two distinct groups can be accessed: 1) paid influencers or creators who will leverage their followers for a fee, and 2) satisfied customers who will gladly leave a comment or mention your company on social media.

When choosing a UGC creator, you can consider factors like: 

  • Whether the creator or influencer will resonate with your audience and boost your campaign’s performance.
  • Whether the creator has a history of honesty and transparency in their content.
  • Whether the creator has the time and resources to create content for your business.

If you choose not to use a dedicated agency, you can find UGC creators in a variety of ways, including: 

  • Searching social media platforms for relevant hashtags.
  • Using influencer marketing platforms like TikTok Creator Marketplace, AspireIQ, or Grin.
  • Exploring content creator platforms, freelance marketplaces, casting agencies, and direct outreach.

Most paid UGC creators work independently, so you must negotiate with them on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

How to Create User-Generated Content

Finding the right creators for your UGC, organic posting, or whitelisting campaign is crucial for the success of your marketing efforts. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you identify and collaborate with the right creators.

Define Your Campaign Goals.

Clearly define the objectives of your campaign. Are you looking to increase or drive sales, brand awareness, or engage with a specific audience? Knowing your goals will help you identify the right creators.

Create a Creator Persona

Develop a persona for the ideal creator you want to work with. Consider factors like their niche, follower count, engagement rate, and content style. This persona should align with your brand’s values and objectives.

Understand Your Target Audience

Identify and understand your target audience, demographics, behaviors, and interests. This information will guide you in selecting creators who resonate with your audience.

Research and Identify Potential Creators

Use social media platforms, influencer marketing platforms, and industry-specific directories to find potential creators. Look for creators who have an audience that matches your target demographic.

Analyze Creator Metrics

Evaluate creators based on key performance metrics such as follower count, engagement rate, reach, and authenticity. High follower counts do not always translate to better results; authenticity and engagement are equally important.

Review Content Quality

Assess the quality and style of the content creators produce. Ensure that their content aligns with your brand’s image and messaging.

Check for Brand Alignment

Research the creators’ previous collaborations and content to see if they have worked with similar brands or products. Ensure their values align with your brand’s ethos.

Reach Out to Creators

Contact the selected creators through direct messages, emails, or influencer marketing platforms. Express your interest in collaboration and provide details about your campaign, objectives, and compensation.

Negotiate Terms and Compensation

Discuss terms and compensation with the creators. Be clear about deliverables, timelines, usage rights, and payment. Be open to negotiation and ensure both parties are satisfied with the agreement.

Create and Sign Contracts

Always have a legally binding contract that outlines all the terms and conditions of the collaboration. This protects both your brand and the creators involved.

Provide Creative Freedom

While it’s crucial to guide creators to align with your brand’s message, allow them the creative freedom to produce pertinent and appropriate content that resonates with their audience. Authenticity is vital in UGC campaigns.

Monitor and Measure

Continuously monitor the performance of the campaign and the creators involved. Track key metrics such as engagement, conversions, reach, and ROI. Use these insights to optimize future campaigns.

Build and Maintain Long-Term Relationships

Consider building long-term relationships with creators who consistently deliver results and align with your brand. Long-term partnerships can lead to more authentic and impactful content.

Remember to Engage with UGC

Encourage your customers and audience to create and/or share content related to your products. Answer comments and questions left for you or your company to align your brand’s values, create authentic and effective marketing campaigns, and resolve any potential bad reviews.

If That Sounds Like Too Much Work

Creating and managing an effective UGC campaign takes a lot of effort. If that is more time-intensive than you can handle, engage a dedicated UGC agency that can take care of the entire process. 

Contact Lounge Lizard to learn more about building your business using user-generated content and a comprehensive creator campaign.

Published on: October 6th, 2023
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