What is User-Generated Content and Why Do Brands Want It?

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User-generated content (UGC) has become an invaluable marketing asset allowing brands to tap into the authenticity and creativity of their biggest fans. More and more companies are now actively seeking out UGC creators to collaborate with across social media.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the definition and importance of UGC, provide examples of leading brands successfully leveraging UGC creators, share tips for creators looking to work with brands, and demystify common questions around this win-win strategy.

User-generated content refers to any form of content that customers or fans create related to a brand, then share across social media and other channels. This includes photos, videos, reviews, testimonials, and more.

For brands, leveraging UGC delivers a variety of benefits:

  • Authenticity – Content directly from real customers carries more weight and trust than brand-created content.

  • Social proof – When fans see others engaging positively with a brand, it sparks interest and validation.

  • Cost-efficiency – UGC provides free, high-quality marketing content.

  • Customer connection – Features UGC to make customers feel valued as partners.

With these compelling benefits, it‘s no wonder that brands across industries are now searching for talented UGC creators to collaborate with.

Now let‘s explore real examples of top brands actively leveraging UGC creators to drive marketing success:

1. Fenty Beauty

The makeup brand founded by Rihanna, Fenty Beauty, is a leader in leveraging user-generated content from the influencers and everyday customers alike.

They encourage happy customers to share photos showcasing Fenty products. This allows them to display an authentic range of real makeup looks and styles. It also provides social proof of their products quality and ability to work for diverse skin types.

This UGC focus has been a key driver behind Fenty‘s explosive growth since launching in 2017.

2. Roar Organic

This health-conscious beverage brand encourages their athletic, gym-loving clientele to share user-generated posts highlighting the Roar Organic drinks keeping them refreshed and hydrated.

This user content allows them to authentically connect their sugar-free electrolyte beverages to fit, active lifestyles. It also provides credible testimonials from real product users.

3. BFB Hair

The hair extensions company BFB Hair, founded by influencer Amber Fillerup, heavily features user-generated photos and videos showcasing their products.

Given most of their target audience consists of influencers and beauty content creators themselves, this is an ideal way for them to tap into that demographic for win-win partnerships.

4. Starbucks

The global coffee giant Starbucks actively compiles and reposts user-generated content related to their brand as part of their social media and influencer marketing efforts.

One of their most popular recurring campaigns is the annual #RedCupContest, which garners thousands of high-quality UGC submissions they are able to re-share.

5. BMW

The luxury automotive brand BMW uses the hashtag #BMWRepost to regularly showcase owners around the world enjoying their ultimate driving machines. This provides aspirational, enviable social proof.

As a high-cost product, social proof and prestige are essential, making UGC a natural fit.

As these examples demonstrate, opportunities abound for creators to collaborate with brands hungry for quality user-generated content. Here are tips to land your first (or next) UGC partnership:

Create high-quality, on-brand content. Study a brand’s identity and existing content closely then aim to match their style and ethos. Quality over quantity.

Utilize relevant hashtags and tag the brand. Make your content discoverable and demonstrate brand alignment. #Hashtag strategies vary so research what resonates best.

Apply to formal UGC programs. Leading brands like Starbucks and Sephora have formal programs to recruit creators. Seek out and complete any application steps.

Leverage UGC marketplaces. Platforms like Ainfluencer connect brands and content creators, allowing you to directly pitch your services to potential partners.

Be patient and persistent. Landing your first paid brand deal takes effort over time. Continue nurturing relationships and producing great work until the right match is found.

How can I stand out when applying to become a UGC creator?
Authenticity and quality rule. Create content you genuinely love that deeply resonates with the brand community. Go beyond surface-level engagement and invest yourself in what you create.

What rights do brands have to the UGC I create?
Always formally agree to terms first. Typically brands secure rights to reshare and utilize UGC to promote their products/services, but creators maintain ownership of original content.

Can I work with competing brands simultaneously?
Ethically yes, but optically no. Stick to one key partnership within a niche at a time. Juggling rival brands dilutes trustworthiness.

How much do brands pay for user-generated content?
Compensation varies dramatically based on content type, brand, audience size, rights requested, etc. Typical range is $100 to $500+ per UGC post when just starting out.

User-generated content offers a win-win opportunity for brands to cost-efficiently tap into authentic marketing content, while allowing creators to monetize their audience and passion.

As more companies spanning every industry seek out UGC partnerships, incredible potential awaits talented creators able to produce brand-aligned, high-quality content.

Platforms like Ainfluencer provide the perfect launching pad to start collaborating with your favorite brands today.

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