Image of an influencer holding up a lipstick as they create a video showcasing the product

Utilizing User-Generated Content & Influencer Marketing

June 21, 2023 - Cassidy

Have you ever purchased a drink at Starbucks and when you walk up to grab your drink, your name is spelled wrong? This is a pretty common occurrence for most Starbucks visitors. You find the whole thing so funny, you then take to social media to share what happened. This may seem like you simply shared a personal experience on your social media, but you just gave Starbucks free promotion through user-generated content.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any form of original, unpaid content that a customer publishes on their own social media accounts or any other public channels, that is specific to a brand. This can be in the form of videos, pictures, customer reviews, and much more.

Where Does User-Generated Content Come From?

Photo of a saleswoman talking to a female customer while the customer holds the basket inside of a cosmetics store


Customers are the most prolific generators of UGC. They create reviews, post photos and videos, comment on posts, and more. Customers may post their content to social media platforms as well as a brand’s website. The significance of these posts has grown as other users find value in them. There is an unbiased nature to UGC that creates an authentic experience with a brand.

As UGC has worked its way into search engines, it becomes more important to keep an eye on customer-generated UGC. It also becomes important to take into account how customer-generated UGC can improve a brand.

When a creator’s video shows up in a social media feed, it has the power to help or hurt a brand. If a creator reacts positively to the brand’s products or services and encourages others to purchase a product, that is a massive opportunity for a brand. It can increase sales and even grow their audience. However, if a creator posts something negative about a brand, things can go uncontrollably south. The brand may lose customers, have a difficult time trying to sell products, and see a decline in social media followers.

Image of a male manager wearing a plaid shirt shaking the hands of his male warehouse employee who is wearing an orange safety vest


Employees are the backbone of any brand. The day-to-day functions of a business wouldn’t happen without their work. Employee-generated content is a great opportunity to show what brand values and how it takes care of its employees.

Taking some photos of a shipping employee while they are packing an order, taking videos of employees encouraging others to work for their company, and many other internal content opportunities are great ways to give customers a behind-the-scenes look. This can establish trust between a customer and the brand as well as show off its products, services, and team.

Image of a woman's hands with pink nails holding a smart phone to take a photo of stylish shoes and a bag on a white surface

UGC Creators:

UGC creators produce sponsored content for a brand. This type of content might look real and authentic to the users, however, there was a behind-the-scenes paid agreement about the specific content that was created and shown to a target audience. UGC creators don’t typically publish the content to their own social channels. They provide the content to the brand to distribute on its own social media accounts.

Unlike influencers who need to grow a large following or community before they start working with brands, UGC creators don’t need tons of followers. They also aren’t required to show their face. UGC creators are essentially the social media equivalent of paid actors or models in television commercials.

What Are Influencers?

Influencers are social media users who have built up a reputation as an expert on a specific topic or in a specific industry. These users have a powerful influence on social media audiences that can potentially help brands and businesses gain or lose customers.

As the presence of influencers grows, the authority of UGC grows. Many brands are turning to influencers to help make a decision on products, services, and even business strategies. The most common reason brands reach out to influencers is to pay them in order to create content and post about new products or services.

However, some influencers will even do unpaid content if they really like a product, service, or brand after purchasing it themselves. Through the increase in social media usage and influencer marketing, influencers and their word-of-mouth marketing services have become powerful brand assets.

Is An Influencer Or A UGC Creator Better?

 It can be difficult to decide if using a UGC creator or an influencer will help meet a brand’s digital marketing goals. Consumers have found UGC 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content while making a purchasing decision. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people more than any other source (Taggbox). However, regular posts, reviews, stories, and videos by influencers may help a brand get the attention it needs more effectively than UGC.

Both options are beneficial to a marketing strategy – it comes down to budget, preference, and the outcomes a brand is seeking. Start by considering the goals the brand needs to achieve.

1. Create Awareness

Utilizing UGC:

By paying UGC creators to make videos showcasing products or services, a brand can then share it across its different social media channels to improve reach and engagement.

Sharing content across all channels is the best way to cover all of the bases and maximize leads. UGC creators are usually a little bit more affordable than an influencer, and they can still provide a brand with quality content.

Utilizing Influencers:

A brand can reach out to and pay an influencer to create content. If an influencer’s audience falls under the same demographic as the brand’s target audience, it can be worth it to utilize their access to that audience. However, the brand will need to choose very wisely when selecting an influencer.

Budget, content style, audience, and many other factors should be considered before making an offer. If the influencer ends up not liking the product, service, or brand, it could backfire. It’s best practice to complete an influencer analysis before reaching out to ask them to promote a brand.

2. New Product Launch

Utilizing UGC:

UGC is helpful for increasing sales and generating awareness about new products. Testimonials and unboxing videos are some of the most popular marketing tactics UGC creators have at their disposal. A 2017 study by Google found that 20% of consumers watched an unboxing video before ever making a significant purchase.

Before most people ever buy a new product or service, they will search for reviews or videos related to it. By having UGC creators create content and feedback related to a new product or service, this can build up a positive reputation and help customers feel good about making a purchase.

Utilizing Influencers:

With any new product or service launch, the goal is to increase awareness of the new products or services. Using an influencer gives a brand access to its target audience.

Furthermore, using multiple influencers to reach more areas of an industry will increase the awareness of a new product. If a social media user sees many of their favorite influencers using a new product, the likelihood that they will purchase that product increases.

Let’s Review

Review the brand’s goals to determine what exactly the brand needs to accomplish by choosing to work with an influencer or UGC creator. Oftentimes, using both influencers and UGC creators is the most productive and effective way to grow the brand and build up credibility rather than choosing one versus the other.

Staying top of mind with the customer is key – it’s important to remember that the brand’s strategy and budget are aimed at trying to get the customer to make a purchase, hit the follow button, or interact with the brand in some other way. Perform an analysis to make sure the influencer you choose or the UGC creator’s content style will resonate well with the brand’s target audience.

Not Sure Where To Start?

If your brand needs help with building out an effective marketing strategy, Solution Agency’s team of expert digital marketers is ready to assist you. Get in touch with our team to discover your brand’s next solution today.