What is UGC and what’s the difference with influencer marketing?

6 min leestijd

Have you seen the term UGC creator floating by on TikTok or Instagram lately? Well, you’re not the only one. Just like influencing, UGC mostly originated in the United States. UGC creators are a new marketing technique, and they’re changing the way brands usually collect UGC.

“The popularity of UGC shows how brands have a growing interest in content that is not overly curated.”

What is UGC? 

UGC or User-Generated Content is original, brand-specific content created by users and shared on social media and other channels. There are different ways to create UGC, such as photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, and even podcasts.  

UGC creators can be seen as an extension of influencer marketing. Because – just like everything in marketing – influencer marketing moves and shifts constantly. For example, at the moment, there is an increasing preference for smaller creators, the so-called nano and micro influencers. In addition to this shift, the popularity of UGC shows how brands have a growing interest in content that is not overly curated. 

Who creates UGC?

The meaning of UGC (User-Generated Content) gives away that it was originally content created by customers. Now the term is being used a bit broader. We distinguish 4 different creators 

The first group of course consists of the customers. They are the original UGC creators. Just think of unboxing or try-on videos and Instagram posts in which the brands are tagged.

Loyal customers
In addition to the ‘normal’ customers, there are also the super loyal customers / fans / ambassadors. Whatever you call them, your most loyal customers are often the ones who are most enthusiastic about your business. They’re totally obsessed with your brand, so approaching them for specific UGC content is a great idea. 

Employee-generated content (EGC) or content created by your employees shows the story behind your brand. Have you seen the ‘Pack an order with me’ videos on TikTok? Yes, that’s EGC. Those behind-the-scenes snippets help to emphasize your brand identity. 

UGC creators
Lastly, we have the UGC creators. A UGC creator is someone who creates content that looks authentic. The content is made to appear spontaneous and organic but was created to push a specific brand or product. UGC creators don’t create organic UGC, they get paid to create content that imitates traditional UGC.
In some cases, the UGC creator is a nano or micro-influencer. 

What is the difference between UGC creators and influencers?

Although, both influencers and UGC creators create content based on the creative input from the brands that hire them, they are not the same. So where exactly lies the difference? 

The core of content creators lies in the content. They create sponsored content for a brand or company. Here, the main goal is the content. As a  company, you can utilize that content on your own social media channels and you’re not always obligated to tag the content creator. On the other side, the content creator usually does not share the UGC on their own profile, only when specifically agreed.  

➡️ A brand works with UGC creators to share authentic, original content with their existing audience.  

Influencer marketing is all about the person and their reach and engagement rate. It’s less about the content that the influencer creates. It’s more about the person who shows the product and the influence that person can exert on the purchasing behavior of their followers. The influencer often shares the videos and photos taken on their own channels first. 

➡️ A brand works with influencers to share authentic content with their existing audience and with a new audience – that of the influencer.  

Keep in mind: an influencer can also offer UGC content creation services. There are many nano and micro influencers who combine those two strategies.  

Good to know: when collaborating with both influencers and UGC creators, it is extremely important to match the right people to the brand

What are the benefits of UGC?

Just like a collaboration with influencers, one with UGC creators provides lots of benefits.  

Next level authenticity
People buy from people – that’s why UGC works so well. UGC builds trust with your potential customer and works as a kind of trust signal.  

Increasing sales
UGC can influence purchase decisions. It often doesn’t look like an in-your-face advertisement, which makes it more engaging. Meaning: more sales and a higher conversion rate. 

A cost-efficient strategy
A collaboration with UGC creators is often much cheaper than campaigns with macro and mega influencers. It can be a one-time collab, or a long-term partnership. 

A heap of content
By partnering up with a UGC creator, you are almost never out of recent content. Moreover, the content is very diverse, and you can use it for different purposes such as organic social posts or paid ads.  

And that is UGC! Sure, there is an overlap between nano and micro influencers and UGC creators, but their end goal is way different.  

Do you recognize the potential in UGC or influencer marketing for your brand? Get in touch and let’s discuss the possibilities.

Curious about influencer marketing? Get in touch!

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