Social media mogul Mark Zuckerberg said it best himself, “people influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”
Authenticity and trust are more influential than ever for consumer purchasing decisions. Though there is no one simple answer or method for a brand to achieve this consumer sentiment, increasing user generated content is a great start.
User generated content, or UGC, has traditionally been known as brand-specific content that is produced organically by real customers. This type of consumer-made content has a massive influence in building brand loyalty, trust and an active online community. A 2021 study reported that UGC highly impacts the purchasing decisions of 79% of respondents, which is why a new social media marketing strategy has entered the arena – UGC Creators.
As defined by Later, “A UGC Creator is a content creator who specifically creates content that looks like UGC — but it’s been paid for”. Now, paying for a UGC creator technically goes against the core definition of what UGC is: Organic, unpaid content. Taylor Loren shared her thoughts on this trend, explaining that this new UGC creator trend is really just hiring freelance content creators to make UGC-inspired content.
This category of paid social media marketing is fairly new, so we’ve broken down the top three things that you should know about hiring a UGC creator.
1. A UGC creator is not the same as an influencer
Both UGC creators and influencers are paid creators that produce content about a brand. Though they are similar, there are a few distinct differences between the two.
An influencer is someone who has built a reputation in a particular niche, growing their accounts to a large number of loyal followers. The key benefit of partnering with an influencer is gaining exposure to their large number of dedicated followers. When hiring an influencer, the content they create for a brand is published by them, onto their social media platforms.
Unlike influencers, UGC creators don’t need to build a large dedicated audience. In fact, the value of UGC creators actually lies within their regular, everyday person status, which has been reported to be 8.7x more impactful than influencer content in consumers’ eyes. When hiring a UGC creator, they can publish the content onto their own platforms, but the key benefit is the brand’s ability to repost this content onto their own platforms as UGC.
Still confused? Read Influencer vs UGC Creator vs Content Creator: What’s the difference?
2. UGC helps drive customers’ buying decisions
UGC’s influence on consumer buying decisions is greater than ever. The influence of polished celebrity endorsements on consumers’ purchasing decisions has shifted significantly in favour of authentic, everyday people.
Key statistics from Stackla’s 2021 Consumer Habits report:
- 88% of consumers consider authenticity to be an important factor in deciding which brands to support
- 80% of global consumers would be more likely to buy from an online store if its website featured UGC
- 59% of consumers view UGC as the most authentic type of content, viewing it as 3.1x more authentic than brand-created content and 5.9x more authentic than influencer content
- 66% of consumers say they’ve been inspired to purchase from a new brand after seeing social media images of that brand from other consumers
With an oversaturated market of #ad posts from influencers, seeing real people reviewing products without direct endorsements is much more trustworthy in the eyes of the consumer.
3. UGC doesn’t look perfect, and that’s the point
The trend of picture-perfect content on social media had a good run and it still has its place on social media sometimes. But authenticity and real, untouched people are what consumers really want. The imperfection that comes with UGC makes the content feel more relatable and trustworthy to consumers, like they’re hearing a review from a friend rather than someone paid to make false claims about a product. The reality is that influencers and branded content just aren’t that relatable anymore, especially to younger generations. If you want to gain brand loyalty and trust, it’s time to meet your customers where they are and cater your content to what they really want to see.
Looking to add more user generated content to your brand’s marketing strategy? Legendary Social Media’s team of creative, professional, detail-oriented Reels & TikTok Content Creators are here to help. Learn more about our content creation services and receive a free custom quote here.