UGC Content: How to Leverage Influencers for UGC

User-Generated Content Starts With Influencer-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is essential to a successful marketing strategy. As social media platforms and other marketing channels have exploded, so has UGC. This is especially true on Instagram.

The explosion in content has led to a corresponding explosion of content creators, both large and small.

These are accounts that dedicated themselves to creating a truly curated account that usually has a very specific aesthetic and niche. The accounts can be fairly small, with just a few thousand people following, or have a huge community of millions of followers.

Of course, there are good content creators and bad content creators.

Not everyone puts the same amount of effort, attention to detail, and skill into what they create, and the result is a broad range of content. Some of it can be outstanding, professional-grade material while other UGC content can be pretty terrible.

Of particular interest are accounts that produce high-quality content and have a large audience. These accounts have broken through and become their own category—influencers.

Altogether, this has pushed content creation and, more importantly, user-generated content and influencer-generated content as an important marketing tool that smart brands are leveraging.

Of course, to successfully leverage UGC content, it’s important for brands to cultivate real relationships with creators as part of their influencer marketing strategy.

The connection between user-generated content and influencer-generated content

Valuable user-generated content is a great starting point for any brand. But UGC, or consumer generated content, can also be random and difficult to control. At the end of the day, anyone can generate content. This means anyone who’s using your product, or even not using your product, can say whatever they want to whomever they want.

This means UGC can be created by a great amateur photographer who really wants to use social media to share the great new snake they discovered, but also your grandfather who barely knows how to use his iPhone’s camera. Unsurprisingly, collecting user-generated content can be tedious and time-consuming. 

Influencer-generated content (IGC) allows a brand to ensure the content more closely matches their aesthetic and voice and thus can be used in other marketing campaigns and channels. Influencers have a track-record of creating high-quality content that clearly encapsulates a brand. That means when you work with them to create IGC, the results of the content generated are typically worth it.

To be clear, brands aren’t controlling the entire process in-house with a photoshoot. Instead, they give influencers a few clear guidelines about what they’d like to see and then let the influencers take care of the rest.

That’s actually the beauty of creating content via IGC: A brand ends up with dozens of pieces of content that are all “the same” (same product, similar talking points, etc.) but that have been interpreted in a million different ways by the influencers to match the brand aesthetic and personality.

The result is an amazing stack of diverse content that can be used in a myriad of ways.

So, which is better for your marketing campaigns? The short answer is both. A healthy mix of user-generated content marketing combined with influencer-created posts will most effectively engage existing customers and potential customers alike. 

Fun fact: Consumers think UGC is the most valuable for clothing (78%), electronics (70%), appliances (63%), home and garden (62%) and health and beauty (60%).

Why do brands need content from product users?

To stay relevant and top of mind with followers and potential customers it’s crucial to post content every day. This means at least a post or two to your feed and multiple stories throughout the day.

That alone is about 20 pieces of content per week. Phew!

Apart from that, you need to create content for your website, email newsletters, social media ads, and special promotions.

That’s a lot of content to create, not to mention the time and money it would take. The beauty of influencer-generated content is that you’re able to outsource this process. You can generate dozens of professional-grade images a week at a fraction of the time and cost.

Why else?

UGC content builds trust and boosts brand sentiment

Consumers trust content created by people like them—and the right influencers tend to be more relatable on a human level than your brand. Influencer marketing and related content allows others to boost your brand reputation on your behalf. They act as a sort of unofficial official representative, brand loyalists who can easily recruit others and encourage customers to love your brand and products as much as they do. 

Expand your reach to future customers

Influencers often use multiple platforms to connect with social media users via other channels and formats. This influences brand loyalty across channels you may not even actively use. Plus, people may share user generated content to their own personal or professional network, broadcasting your reach even further.

Influence purchasing decisions

Content created by influencers acts as a form of social proof, but more detailed than simple online reviews, making people more willing to convert. When done well, IGC can boost conversion rates. One study found that UGC boosts purchase intent, and another survey found that 83% of shoppers are more likely to purchase a product after seeing UGC promoting it.

Incorporate it into a marketing campaign

Influencer content can be an important asset when it comes to other marketing and social media channels. You can post content to your own feeds, encourage users to share similar content, feature it on product pages or in a blog post, and repurpose it into many forms for whatever online platforms you use in this digital age. 

Why brands need to start looking at influencer-generated content specifically

Like we mentioned previously, UGC is hard to control. You’re at the mercy of anyone taking a picture. Sometimes that turns out great, but a lot of times it doesn’t.

Influencer-generated content allows you to shape the narrative by ensuring the content fits your brand identity. This content can then be incorporated into your marketing strategy. You might include the use of branded hashtags, mandate a specific visual aesthetic, or require a link to the product page in an effort to boost conversion rates and sales. It’s an excellent tool for building brand awareness across a number of digital and social channels. 

At the end of the day, it’s your brand, so shouldn’t you be able to frame it however you want?

IGC is a surefire way to generate high-quality content. In other words, it’s an unrivaled approach to quickly and efficiently acquire the UGC you need to keep fueling your brand’s marketing efforts.

Influencer-generated content is technically also UGC, but not all UGC is influencer-generated content. UGC is produced at random by product users. You have no control over what’s being said and there’s no guarantee the UGC content will even be good.

Influencer-generated content, just like UGC, is uploaded to social media platforms and is displayed in a brand’s tagged posts. But the content was created by a hand-picked group of talented creatives who will make your product shine.

At the end of the day, another essential benefit of influencer-generated content is this: It gets people talking about your product and can motivate more shoppers to buy and share experiences about your product.

How influencer marketing networks can help with creating UGC and IGC at scale

Influencer networks, like Trend by soona, are especially useful when creating UGC at scale and tracking user engagement. If you’re only looking to create a few pieces of UGC a month, you can probably get away with doing everything (influencer discovery and outreach, negotiations, acquiring the content, etc.) manually. 

However, for those looking to take it to the next level—such as consistently cranking out 20 or 30 pieces of content a month—influencer networks are the best approach. You can raise awareness for your brand by tapping into official UGC creators, or influencers, with loyal, engaged audiences—potential future customers. They become curated brand advocates, another marketing channel to feed your overall strategy. 

Not all networks are created the same, though. Similar to a health insurance plan, the doctors available in-network is what determines if the plan is actually useful. You want the best doctors possible, a reasonable co-pay, and a short distance away.

Trend by soona is the influencer version of that. It’s the only curated influencer network—which means we can guarantee high-quality UGC content due to vetting. We’ve also eliminated price negotiation, which saves everyone time and allows brands to download the content straight from the platform, making it easy to repurpose for your own content and UGC campaigns.

Of course, seeing is believing. Instead of talking some more about Trend by soona, check out some of the amazing UGC content our network of creators generated for premium brands:

Overall, influencer networks are a great way to kick start UGC.

Brands need IGC to help control the narrative, curate more UGC, increase brand awareness and brand loyalty, and ultimately drive more sales.

So, how do you get started with this type of curated user created content?

Influencer networks like Trend by soona are the best way. Apart from the benefits mentioned previously, the service also comes with an account manager and rich support options so you’re not flying blind. Just check out what others are saying about us.