Social media dominates our lives, with millions of people all using numerous platforms, sharing lots of different content daily.
And so, it’s only natural that people want to share content about things they like and enjoy, which a lot of the time could be a product or brand that they love. Both influencers and social media users do so via the likes of Instagram, TikTok and YouTube – and influencers in particular play a hugely pivotal role within social media marketing.
In this blog, we will be looking at user generated content (UGC) and compare it to the more common and traditional influencer marketing methods; the differences, and which best suits a brand and its needs.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content is exactly what it says on the tin – content created by a user, or as is seen more recently, by an influencer. Customers and influencers are making content about brands they love, and this can be in the format of a picture, video, text or audio, which is then shared to social media – and it is something that brands are beginning to utilise as part of their influencer marketing strategy.
It’s much more than just having the content created by an influencer, as that isn’t too dissimilar to the traditional forms of influencer marketing that we see day to day.
UGC, however, is a strategy that enables the influencer to create their own content as they would usually, but with the view of it being shared on the brand’s social media channels, as opposed to their own.
For example, an influencer or UGC creator may create a series of images or a video for a brand as part of a collaboration, however the main purpose of this, as user generated content, would be for the content to be used and shared by the brand rather than the influencer.
UGC can be extremely beneficial for brands, boosting awareness and improving the brand’s reputation, elevating the reach, message and quality of content provided by a UGC creator or UGC influencer.
Here are some key advantages of UGC content.
A very key - and extremely attractive - benefit of UGC for brands is that it’s a cost-effective way to advertise.
As with most forms of influencer marketing, UGC is much more cost-effective than most other types of marketing and advertising. And the cost of a UGC content is no exception, as it combines the authenticity of traditional influencer marketing, with direct marketing between brands and consumer.
This could save a huge amount of outgoing costs for businesses, with marketing being such a crucial part of selling products. Being able to spread brand awareness across multiple platforms without having to pay exponential amount for such, seems like a dream, doesn’t it? That’s the magic of UGC content.
Reach a specific target audience
As user generated content is shared directly to a brand’s social media platform, it allows them to target their desired audience directly.
In doing so, they are able to influence the likelihood of conversions, leads, and therefore, sales.
Whilst influencers often have large and loyal followings, their audience can differ and may even be made up of varying age groups and demographics. And despite some influencers having thousands, or millions of followers, it doesn’t always mean that the levels of engagement are where they should be.
And this alone, is just one reason why UGC content is being used by brands more frequently to combine the creative talent of a UGC creator, with being able to target an audience in a more direct manner.
It’s authentic content
What comes hand-in-hand with UGC is authenticity, as well as the knowledge of such. It’s seen as being so credible that 60% of people believe it to be the most authentic form of content.
This means that followers who see UGC will find it more trustworthy with content created by real people and their favourite influencers, rather than the brands, and is therefore perceived as more genuine.
For marketing purposes, potential customers will see the product being used with a truthful and positive recommendation, indicating that the product is worth purchasing as opposed to faceless images without a genuine, human element.
This is not something to take lightly, as 90% of shoppers say that UGC influences their decision to make a purchase - outranking all other forms of marketing! Impressive, right?
The large scale of social media
Social media connects everyone from all corners of the world, with most users being active. In fact, 100+ million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day – and that’s just one platform! Then, think about how popular online shopping has become, with 3.78 million people buying something online in 2021 from their mobile phone.
These facts together bring us to the point that social media has also become a popular place for shopping, both in terms of marketing a product as well as being able to buy a product directly.
So, with UGC marketing products, the scale at which they’re doing so, is endless due to the amount of people that social media has access to.
Although that may make it seem like UGC is perfect for brands wanting to advertise their products, something else to consider is the avenue of influencer generated content and how this might be more suited to your brand campaign. This is a difficult decision, and is one that an influencer marketing agency can help, support and guide on.
Brand – influencer association
Another benefit of user generated content is the association it brings between a brand and an influencer, in a much more established way than the more typical sponsored post we see on an influencer’s feed.
Although different to an influencer ambassadorship, the two do offer some resemblances, particularly when it comes to brand-influencer association.
Rather than seeing an influencer promote a brand on their own social media feeds, user generated content provides social media users with much more,
UGC, over time, will create the ultimate sense of credibility, and when a consumer thinks of the brand, they will think of the influencer – and vice versa. The influencer, in some instances, becomes an extension of the brand, and this, in turn, will generate impressive results that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
What about traditional influencer marketing?
Like UGC, influencer generated content is exactly what it sounds like – content created by influencers, but shared to their own profiles as opposed to the brand’s, unless otherwise agreed as part of the contract.
It’s also content that is always positively talking about brand, providing a glowing recommendation in an honest and authentic way
This may be a more suitable option for your marketing needs, and deciding which marketing strategy is best suited for a brand can be a difficult decision – but that’s where an influencer marketing agency can come in.
An influencer will already have a large following, and this following will be a specific group of people depending on what the influencer does and posts. Therefore, if you find influencers with the same following that matches your target audience, then the positive content they share will be going straight to potential customers. As well as this, the influencers will know what sort of content their audience likes, and will be able to tailor the branded content into something that the audience would enjoy.
Something to remember, though, is that a larger audience is not always better. Some influencers may have thousands of followers, but a lot of them may not be active or engage with the account, meaning the content is not reaching as many people as you might think – so it is best to consult an influencer marketing agency before making a decision to ensure the correct strategy is chosen.
Naturally, the more typical influencer marketing campaign will be a much more collaborative process, however the influencer will have more control over the content they share to their own feeds and their own audiences once approved by the brand.
Typically, a more traditional influencer marketing campaign will need to include key messages from the brand as well as specific elements to the brand, its product or service.
More often than not, influencers will have much more control over the content they create that will be at some point, sitting on their very own platforms – therefore representing not only the brand, but themselves, too.
However, with UGC content, the brand will have much more control over the content that is produced as its purpose is to sit on the brand’s social media channels.
Can you use the two together?
User generated content and the more traditional influencer marketing content can also come as a pair.
An influencer marketing agency, such as us, can work with brands to establish which route is best suited to them, their goals and their needs as well as advising on how to combine both UGC influencers with other influencer marketing campaigns.
When looking at the different avenues of marketing for your product or brand, considering UGC and the knock-on effect of this digitalised word-of-mouth technique is vital.
It can spread awareness and positive recommendations about brand across hundreds of thousands of social media users, without needing the budget of something much more extravagant.
If you would like to find a UGC influencer to create the content for your brand, then contact us today!
We can match you up with an influencer that has the target audience you’re after, ensuring your brand receives the very best results. Get in touch by calling us on 0203 9580 427 or emailing us at email@example.com – we're excited to hear from you!