UGC Creators: What Are They and How Can Brands Use Them?

Intrigued by the rise in UGC creators? Want to learn how to leverage them in your marketing campaigns? We’ve got the details on this growing form of influencer marketing.
Fanbytes | UGC creators

In 30 seconds:

  • What is a UGC creator? The answer is… potentially anyone! And they’re all untapped potential for your brand.
  • Using a UGC creator within your campaign is a great way to maximise the level of engagement your brand receives – plus they’ll lend an authenticity you can’t get elsewhere.
  • But what should you look for in a UGC creator portfolio? And how can you make the most of a UGC creator? Here’s all the information you need to get started.

There’s a new kid on the influencer marketing block: the UGC creator

These content creators are just as active across their social media accounts, and are capable of producing high-quality content that’s highly likely to entice users to your brand. In fact, a 2021 study found that 80% of respondents credit UGC with ‘highly impacting’ their purchasing decisions

Intrigued? We can’t blame you. 

We’re diving deep into UGC creators to bring you the low-down on everything you need to know to bring them into your marketing strategy, and confidently add this new string to your influencer marketing and bow. 

What are UGC creators?

UGC stands for ‘user-generated content’. 

It’s defined as content which is created organically by a brand’s followers – sometimes referred to a ‘consumer-generated content’ – which is then shared and used by the brand on its own account and within its own marketing.

A UGC creator is, therefore, someone who has created content that looks and acts like UGC (ie. it’s not solicited), but this time, it’s paid-for work. This has led some brands to refer to them as ‘freelance content creators’. 

You may be wondering how these collaborations and this type of content are different from more recognisable forms of influencer marketing – and the answer is largely in the size of these creators’ social media following

Unlike influencers (and even micro-influencers), who leverage their engaged audiences of fans to direct brand sentiment, the benefit of UGC creators is that they aren’t already super-established. Instead, a UGC Creator could be anyone – a new account with only a handful of followers, or a bigger user on the cusp of joining a social platform’s creator fund. 

The other, fundamental, difference? UGC creators are fans of the product first, and social media influencers second. It’s their love of a brand or product which inspires them to create content in the first place, which lends a different edge to their resulting social media posts. 

What is a UGC creator on TikTok?

TikTok is home to a growing community of UGC creators. In fact, the associated hashtag #UGCcreator has over 156 million views – which means it has already grown by 40 million+ in a month. 

On TikTok, self-professed UGC Creators share videos giving tips on how to make UGC content; they talk about how to make a UGC portfolio, how to approach businesses as a UGC creator, and the kind of pricing and remuneration involved in the work. For brands looking to work with these creators, this is a great place to start your research into what to look for and how to engage with them.


i’m a part-time ugc creator! imagine full-time 🤩

♬ original sound - trish | UGC creator

It’s no wonder that TikTok is one of the social media platforms that has seen the most interest in UGC content. After all, 83% of TikTokkers have created these short-form videos themselves – which means that more than 4 in 5 of the users currently on the app is a potential UGC creator

The benefits of working with a UGC creator

There’s a reason that searches for UGC creators are on the rise: using them can have a significant impact on your marketing campaigns – and your sales conversions

That’s because they offer something slightly different to their more established social media influencer counterparts. Here are three key benefits you can maximise when working with UGC creators online: 

1. Authenticity & trust

Just like that of your ‘standard’ influencer, user-generated content is considered incredibly trustworthy. 

One study found that 80% of users would be more likely to purchase from an e-commerce store if it contained photos and videos from real customers – which serves to highlight the potential power of UGC user reviews as this sought-after authentic content

As this kind of content is just created by fellow social media users, UGC as social media content has an incredibly ‘word of mouth’ feel. And, as we’ve spoken about many times before, young audiences online (like Gen Z) trust one another’s opinions much more than they trust any traditional brand advertising – so much so that 60% of marketers agree that authenticity is just as important as quality of content when it comes to building a successful campaign. 

If your target audience is on the younger side, then, it’s even more vital to incorporate UGC content creators in your content strategy to increase consumer confidence and ultimately, boost conversions.

2. Increased reach

Everyone wants to create a marketing campaign with real staying power, and that’s exactly what UGC gives you. 

Often without incurring significantly more spend, UGC can be used to boost your bigger influencer marketing campaigns – creating a hub of supporting social media content from smaller social media creators and voices that functions as a way to widen your collective campaign reach

Plus, given that social media algorithms – and certainly the TikTok algorithm – are designed to pick up on and boost growing trends, it’s an exciting way to begin to create a social media trend of your own, clustering content in a way that grows the initial posts into a series of online content pushes

The best thing about this? Because UGC creators are less distinguishable from organic content created by casual social media users, working on creating these organic-seeming trends in response to your hero social media campaigns content can inspire more users to join in themselves and create their own versions of the videos. As more marketing teams look to create brand communities through their social media activity, this social media marketing method will become increasingly useful.

3. Make the most of your assets

Brands work hard to attract audiences of loyal customers, and to create and market products which consumers love. Once you’ve achieved a level of success with those audiences online, why not share their stand-out interactions within your content marketing?

The result is that you’ll have more original content featuring real people to feature on your social media platforms, plus you’ll show your active audience that you’re engaged with them – which is vital to building a successful brand community

And that brand community? It underlies so much of what makes a brand successful on social media. Learn more in our article on building a brand community.

How can brands encourage UGC?

If UGC is such a holy-grail for marketing, how can you encourage users to get involved and begin creating content for your brand?  We spoke with Fanbytes’ Senior Creative Strategist, Hannah Cole, to learn more about three ways brands can encourage user-generated-content:

1. Use platform features (Stitches, Duets, Lives, Effects, Sound)

The good news is: young consumers especially want to get involved in online communities – and creating UGC is a key factor in this. One study found that 60% of consumers say they would be more loyal to, and more likely to purchase from, a brand which invited them to join a community and actively play a role in their UGC – which is something you can really leverage. 

Speaking specifically about TikTok, Hannah observes that younger social media users love to “respond to each other – to feel more included.” 

Brands need to be engaging with their audiences in the comment section.” She also suggests, “using TikTok features… the stitch feature, duets – now it’s all about TikTok Lives.” Having people join and ask questions in a Q&A-style format is also a great way, she says, to “build the community element.” 

This has the additional benefit of helping brand campaigns to appear more authentic online. “Sometimes it’s hard for brands to create that – they get caught talking like a brand”. 

With user-generated content, that’s a worry which can be entirely avoided. 

The Ellesse case study

When Fanbytes was approached by sports apparel brand Ellesse, it was with a view to market the platform’s first-ever shoppable live streamed IRL concert. 

The campaign saw influencers’ dance videos serving as ‘backing dancers’ for the face of Ellesse, singer Zara Larrsson, as she performed on stage. We identified and briefed a diverse collection of influencers to post choreographed dance videos using a TikTok effect, while still showing off their individual personalities. These videos were themselves a huge success, overdelivering on influencer views by more than double – with 1.8+ million views across the campaign. 

However, it was the user-generated content which really helped to cement the viral moment within users’ minds. The influencer content formed a TikTok top-view ad that encouraged UGC via a hashtag, #BeBold, which challenged users to video themselves doing the dance routine with the same branded effect, in order to feature alongside the influencers on stage. It secured 4.2 billion views

Users were initially attracted by the opportunity to have their own videos shown during the concert – but ultimately it was the chance to join in (via their own UGC) with a viral moment which gave the campaign significant staying power and momentum. 

Read more about the campaign here.

2. Run competitions

Another way for brands to find and work with UGC creators is by running competitions. 

After all, with such a high proportion of social media users – on TikTok especially – creating their own content, campaigns that help them to do this with a prompt or idea are likely to be popular… as long as it’s one that’s fun to create

The other key element? A great prize. While users are often keen to show support to brands they like, and keen to be involved, “immediately, it’s often an incentivised thing,” says Hannah. “People have to see a few people do something – social proof – before they want to get involved.” 

By running a social media competition with a UGC element and an exciting opportunity, brands can immediately incentivise involvement amongst users – whose entries become marketable assets themselves.

As momentum increases, further users are likely to encounter the campaign from this UGC rather than the initial prompt post – which positions the brand as an in-demand business amongst their peers, in turn raising brand sentiment

3. Leverage trickle-down effects

This trickle-down effect is incredibly powerful online. 

The more you see people doing something, the more people outside of that category start doing it as well,” says Hannah. “It’s a way for brands to be clever about influencer marketing.” 

UGC campaigns can create a continuum between influencers and fans of the brand through from what Hannah calls a campaign or brand’s “hero influencers”, to “more accessible voices. And then their followers are just [creating UGC], because it has become divorced from the ‘campaign’ feel.” 

Consider how casual social media users would disseminate and react to hero content in organic UGC – would they make tutorials to copy a celebrity influencer’s look? Would they stitch someone’s unboxing video with their own reaction? Use this as a template for an integrated campaign to trigger organic content from your target audience.

In this way, integrated influencer and UGC campaigns become just another medium through which users interact with one another via video content – meaning everyone feels more included with the brand, and their associated community. 

As for the campaign? “Eventually no-one knows which creator it originated from, but everyone is talking about it.” 

No creator too small?

For years, brands online have understood that the power of influencers lies in the fact that they look and act ‘just like me’. 

With the rise of UGC creators, brand campaigns can get even closer to the end-customer within their marketing, creating a buzz around a product or campaign with digital content that is, very much, made by the ‘me’ in question. 

With carefully deployed UGC running alongside your influencer campaigns, brands can have a hand in generating the kind of lasting audience impact they’re aiming for – giving their campaigns real staying-power. 

It may mean pulling on a lot of strings, but the results? Undeniably worth the effort. Alternatively, get in touch: our influencer marketing and social media expertise means we’re perfectly placed to deliver the best UGC-integrated campaign for your brand, from start to finish.

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