Things Brands Need to Look for In UGC Creators

If you utilize UGC correctly, you can scale and diversify your business while staying below your budget. User-generated content allows you to connect with your audience on a peer-to-peer level. No matter if you’re a smaller brand just starting or a bigger brand looking to diversify a current campaign, UGC opens you to a wider demographic for a far cheaper price tag. The cost of hiring an influencer can easily run into the thousands, even millions, and can come with stipulations such as usage rights. But asking your audience to participate in a challenge or share posts of them using your product costs next to nothing. UGC can be found and used in many ways, such as producing videos, posting photos, writing reviews, and taking quizzes. Of course, anyone can produce content like this, but the key difference is who does it. For it to be truly UGC, it must be posted by the average consumer rather than a paid professional. Before taking your first step into the world of UGC creators, you need to understand what to look for and the importance of UGC. 

Why Is UGC On Top?

If you’re just getting into the world of UGC, you might not understand why everyone wants it and why brands need it. To you, content is just content, but UGC offers much more than just a paid advertisement. Let’s go over a quick list as to why you need UGC in your next ad campaign:

  • Consumers want your brand to seem more authentic and not just a money grab. It’s not a good look when all you have is paid influencers; in fact, around 85% of consumers find influencers to be inauthentic and unrelatable.

  • Numbers don’t lie, especially when it comes to your bottom line. UGC has been found to increase your revenue per visitor by 154%. If that statistic doesn’t get you to invest in UGC, then I don’t know what will.


   Graphic from Bazaarvoice

  • A mere 93% of customers find UGC helpful, and helps them make their final decision when it comes to purchasing. Additionally, it increases your social media activity and website conversions and performance. 

Graphic from M+P Connections

  • Roughly 88% of consumers trust recommendations from peers or others they know over any other form of marketing. If you don’t humanize your brand, it’ll undoubtedly affect your conversation rates. People want to know if there’s actually a person behind the brand rather than a money-hungry corporation. 
  • If you’re not using UGC right now, you’re definitely in the minority, with 87% of brands out there using UGC to create a more authentic look for their audience. The reason this number is so high is because the millennials tend to steer clear of traditional advertising. In fact, only 1% of millennials actually click through a brand with only traditional advertising. Yikes!

Graphic from Search Logistics 

  • Now, just because UGC has so many amazing benefits doesn’t mean you have to ignore professionally produced content. Having a healthy mix of both can raise your brand's engagement by 28%. 

Graphic by Comscore

  • Consumers have found UGC to be nearly 10X times more impactful when it comes to making their final purchasing decision. 

  • Am I the only one who remembers these commercials? Turns out Dannon’s yogurt supporting digestion regulation and boosting immune systems wasn’t entirely true and cost them roughly 45 million dollars. It’s no wonder people don’t trust traditional marketing. Social proof and UGC go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. Brands have dedicated employees who solely focus on boasting their brand image as trustworthy.  What is the best way to do that? Through gathering social proof, and UGC is a prime example of just that. When potential customers see existing customers enjoying your product, they’re more likely to join. As they think the grass is greener on the other side.

Types Of UGC


Probably the most common type of UGC and the one you’re most familiar with. UGC photos usually consist of the creator using or showing the product and its packaging. Utilizing hashtags related to the product to help reach more people within your demographic. Below, you’ll see an example by Salsa Jeans, unironically double dipping with their UGC photos, boasting them on social media and creating a look-through gallery on their website with the hashtag #salsajeans. Executed to perfection!



TikTok videos, Instagram reels, full-length YouTube videos, and shorts are all great forms of usable UGC. Many creators will do unboxing videos and product hauls, even jumping on the trend of “TikTok made me buy it.” These videos can showcase a wide variety of your products, showing off everything you have to offer. You can either repost the video or share a short clip on your story to get people to click through. 


When you think of reviews or testimonials, you usually look first at Google reviews. While that isn’t a bad option, brands have started to take those reviews off Google and show them directly on the website and share quotes throughout their social media as well. Take this example by Cozey, They have an abundance of reviews on google, as well as creating an interactive review gallery where customers can share written testimonials and photos that link back to the product. 

Blog Posts

Now, this is a smaller niche for sure, but it is something you shouldn’t ignore. Bloggers may mention you within an article, or if you’re lucky enough, they will write a whole article about you and their experience. You should consider sharing their quote, as people who follow the blogger may want to give you a try as well.  More popular with businesses such as restaurants, you should always give your brand a quick Google to see what people are saying. 

Key Qualities to Look For In UGC Creators


Let’s face it: there are most likely hundreds of brands within your niche fighting to grab the same audience's attention. Buyers aren’t oblivious to this and tend to take time to shop around before making their final decision, with roughly 86% of buyers more likely to make a purchase with UGC branded content rather than the other 12% who would purchase a product solely purchased from a paid influencer. Just because you might be lacking UGC at the moment, don’t be tempted to fake it, as customers will sniff out UGC that isn’t produced by your loyal customers or employees. 

Relevance to the Target Audience

Now, of course, UGC is great, but not everything will work for you. You have to understand the pulse of the target audience. You have to have the ability to align your content with their interests, aspirations, and values, as you don’t want to lose their attention. Exceptional brands and creators will do thorough research on their audience and find their top interests. This way, you can tailor your content accordingly, ensuring relevance and resonance with customers. 

Creativity and Originality 

Now, it’s okay to hop on the trends, don't get me wrong, but you need to have some sort of creativity and originality in the sea of content. UGC creators push the boundaries to try to deliver fresh, captivating content for their followers. It’s okay to have some videos that don’t work. As long as they're consistently exploring new types of content, they’re doing better than most. Whether it’s through storytelling videos, unique perspectives, or other types of content formats, they captivate their audience, which will make them more memorable through millions of videos. 

Consistency Counts 

Having a familiar face you see consistently creates a sense of familiarity and trust between you and the consumer. Great UGC creators will always have a steady stream of quality content that’s always ready to be posted. This can be found in many formats, such as daily updates, weekly interactive series, or monthly features that get consumers engaged. Consistency builds anticipation, waiting for the next time for you to post, eventually building a loyal following that will only grow. 

Engagement and Interaction 

A relationship between you and your community is crucial to stand out in the online world. Your audience wants to feel valued and heard, and the only way to do this is by interacting with your audience on a regular basis. UGC creators will do this by sparking conversations, replying to comments, or actively involving their audience with their opinions. You can really tell when a creator listens and values feedback. They can make genuine connections effortlessly and take any passive bystander to an active consumer. 

What to Avoid When Seeking UGC

Now that you know what to look for, it’s equally as important you know what to avoid when looking for good UGC. Here are some things you should keep in the back of your mind.

Inconsistent Posting: A professional creator who takes what they do seriously will post consistently no matter what the case is. A content creator who posts every other day is a ginormous red flag when it comes to commitment and will most likely translate to delaying your campaign timeline. 

Bots and Paid Followers: Engagement is something that doesn’t necessarily have a dollar sign attached to it, but it definitely has a price. Signs of bought followers or comments are usually pretty easy to spot: High follower counts with little to no likes, and vice versa. If you choose to collaborate with someone who does this, it can compromise your brand's authenticity and integrity. 

Controversial Content: You can’t just collaborate with any UGC creator; you need to find creators within your niche who align with your presence, especially if the content is posted on their profile as well. You don’t want to confuse your audience about why they're following you; you want to show them you’re moving forward with what they signed up for. 

Negative or Controversial Public Presence: Creators who have been or recently been involved with controversial comments or content are not something you should get involved with. It can reflect poorly on your brand and can change your brand's reputation.

Clashing Audiences: Having a creator who doesn't who’s audience doesn’t align with yours will most likely do next to nothing for you. Doing an audience analysis should be a part of your process when seeking out new creators to make sure your message reaches the right customers.  


Past Partnerships: Creators must be transparent about who they have worked with in the past, as they may be putting your brand's reputation at risk and violate certain guidelines.  

What to Keep In Mind When Collaborating

Don’t Be a Back Seat Driver: Nobody likes a back seat driver. You came to them in the first place looking for UGC, give them some creative freedom. Holding back creators with strict guidelines will really hamper the results and the content that is produced. In short, you will not get their best work. Pushing too hard on a set script and word for word guidelines will leave your newly acquired “UGC” looking more like paid advertising. 

Be Honest About Expectations: Right from the initial reach out, be honest and clear about the goals you have. It’s important to be on the same page about content do’s and don'ts, must-haves, revisions, usage rights, and, most importantly, deadlines. By doing a daily or every other day check in is important to make sure the project is still on track.

Honest Feedback: Being honest about and offering constructive feedback is valuable for both you and the creator. Keeping both sides in the loop on what works and what doesn’t. Then, moving forward together the current content can be improved to reach more consumers. 

Compensation: All collaborations must be backed by a clear contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the deal and the compensation. These are also a must if you wish to have exclusivity rights over the creator so they can’t collaborate with someone within the same industry. Doing all of these in a respectful way can create a positive and professional relationship between you and the creator. 

Rapid Fire UGC Examples 

There’s no better way to see what works in the world of UGC than the people who have already done it themselves. We will go through multiple brands that have capitalized on UGC and share a quick word about them.


You could argue nobody does it better than Sephora. Right when you see their social profiles, it’s a mix of high-quality branded content and UGC.


All year round, GoPro has challenges you can enter to earn a chance to win prizes while using their cameras. They could possibly have enough UGC saved up to last a lifetime.


Guess had a hashtag challenge (#InMyDenim) that grew their TikTok page and created UGC for absolutely free. Gaining followers and boosting engagement rates is something every brand is looking to do.


An aesthetic tutorial that aligns with the look of your brand is something everybody wishes for. You get a product demo and review all in one. It’s not just a one-off, BlendJet does this constantly to boost their growth.

Quest Nutrition 

If you’re a food company, this is about the best type of UGC you can get. A review and taste test all in one while showcasing the product. Quest does this with all of its products. 


With thousands of videos being posted about their iconic blenders, Vitamix has UGC for years! Anybody can see their blender in action before making their final purchase.

National Geographic 

Similar to GoPro, National Geographic launched its hashtag #YourShotPhotographer. This has generated thousands of beautiful photos they can use without an expiration date. The cost, you ask? Crediting the original photographer.


I don’t know about you, but at the end of the year, my feed is filled with Christmas photos and everyone’s Spotify-wrapped. Not to throw shade, but I’ve never seen someone post an Apple Music one. This makes users want to switch as they experience some FOMO from their peers.

Cluse Watches

Take notes, people, behold, the Cluse Lookbook. A mix of branded and UGC content with the hashtag #CLUSE ready to be explored. Where customers can see the products they want and take them directly to where they can purchase it, it’s a win-win.


Constantly hosting contests for UGC submissions, Trivago has generated UGC content from across the globe. This is a common tactic with travel companies because it is cheaper to get photos from someone who's already going on vacation than sending an employee. 

Lays Chips

Eat Lays Chips, submit a flavor, and have a chance to win a million dollars? Sign me up! Now I know we all can’t afford a cool million, but offering an incentive for new product ideas from existing customers is a great way to grow your brand and gain new customers to try out new products.

Parachute Home

It seriously looks like their whole instagram was done by the same person, but in reality, they have a healthy mix of UGC. Posting what aligns with their look keeps the messaging of the brand intact. Parachute Home does it the right way.


Now, this is a different one, but it works! Buffer runs a hashtag focused on their users rather than the service they offer themselves. Offering a media scheduling tool as their main service, it’s hard to post captivating content all the time. Their hashtag #BufferCommunity get people to take great shots for them!

Lego Ideas

Ever wish your idea for a Lego set was more than just an idea? Well, clearly, you’re not the only one. Lego heard their customers loud and clear and made a dedicated website where you can vote and share ideas on what becomes the next lego set! Getting the community involved and keeping them engaged.


A great way to show the use of your product and the amazing photos it can produce. Apple gets all of their Instagram photos from consumers creating UGC for free.



Dove, being a staple in any household, gets nearly all their content from creators. A GRWM-style video and product review gets people off the couch and looking for it at their local Walmart or Shoppers Drug Mart. 


What's the best way to sell your product to upcoming and new moms? Show them already happy and satisfied moms. Pampers seem to be killing it on all socials getting the whole family involved. 


You wouldn’t think eBay could use UGC, right? Well, you couldn't be more wrong! All of their socials are filled with their top sellers and what they’re offering through eBay. Free promotion on both sides!


Not only are Bubbies delicious, but they know when to post targeted UGC. They pay close attention to their calendar and watch out for special occasions such as the 4th of July. Power move!


Lululemon is an absolute giant when in the fashion industry, but just because they’re one of the biggest, doesn’t mean they don’t get their consumers involved. Creating a new challenge named the 333 Outfit Challenge to get everyone to make cool outfits with their products. 

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