What Is a TikTok UGC Creator and Should You Become One?Published on 5th of September 2023
If you spend a lot of time on TikTok, you've probably seen a handful of content creators talking about user-generated content. Many claim to earn thousands of dollars through it, calling themselves UGC creators. They're sharing examples of their work that landed them deals and even posting tips to help others become paid UGC creators.
But is creating UGC a legitimate job? Do UGC content creators get paid as much as they say they do? How do you become a UGC creator? To help you answer these questions, here's everything you need to know about this new TikTok trend.
What Is UGC and Why Is It Beneficial to Brands?
User-generated content, or UGC, is original content posted by a brand's customers on social media. Brands source them organically, finding customers who have shared photos and videos of their products or talked about their experience online. Brands then repost these on their social media accounts as UGC.
With organic UGC, brands usually credit their customers by tagging or mentioning them in the reposted content. But recently, brands will do more than just that. They'll pay you to post about their products or services. But what benefits does UGC bring that brands are willing to make room for it in their marketing budget? It's all about social proof.
A psychological phenomenon, social proof occurs when people copy others when they're in uncertain situations and don't know what to do. Social proof in marketing is a similar concept. People will buy products when they see that others have given them positive reviews. UGC influences purchasing decisions, making them invaluable to brands.
Another reason why brands on TikTok and Instagram are prioritizing UGC is because of the algorithm change. Both platforms now prioritize more authentic, lo-fi content over 'perfect' influencer posts.
What Are UGC Creators and How Are They Different From Influencers?
A UGC creator specializes in user-generated content that looks organic. However, they get paid for their work, much like influencers. There's a big difference between the two, though.
Influencers have a sizable following because that's what brands pay them for--access to their community. When an influencer raves about a product, their audience will likely buy it too.
On the other hand, UGC creators don't need thousands of followers or a high engagement level. They don't even need to show their face or reveal their identity. All they need to do is make organic-looking content that brands can share on their social media accounts and get paid for it.
Because UGC creators make money off their posts, it completely goes against the organic aspect of UGC and can be misleading. A freelance content creator would be the more appropriate name for their job.
How to Become a UGC Creator
It’s often much easier to handle UGC compared to using influencers for marketing. But that doesn't mean there's no work involved. Because your content will appear on brands' social media accounts instead of yours, you need to hone your content creation skills.
Make a Separate Account for Your UGC Content
Having an account just for UGC isn't just crucial for privacy. It also improves your discoverability. To increase your chances of brands finding you, include "UGC" in your TikTok handle, and make sure it's available on all other social media platforms you want to use.
Once your UGC account is up, start following other UGC creators on social media platforms like TikTok to make connections and involve yourself in the community. This also makes it easier for you to study the industry. You’ll also find that many UGC creators are willing to share their knowledge.
Create a Portfolio for Your UGC Content
Like with any creative role, UGC creators need to build their portfolio if they want brands to hire them. While it can be challenging for beginners to put together a portfolio, it doesn't have to be too complex. The most important thing is to highlight your skills because brands want to see if you can execute the content they want.
It's crucial to include both product photos and videos in your portfolio. The latter is in demand because it's the preferred format on all social media platforms. Most brands are looking for someone who can make high-quality video content for them.
If you're new to the scene and haven't worked with any brands yet, you can film yourself unboxing new products or using ones you love. You can also take product photos of items you already own.
Reach Out to Brands
Brands won't automatically come knocking even if you have top-notch content creation skills. You need to be the one to reach out to them, especially if you're new to the industry. There are various methods you can try to land your first paid deal.
You can find opportunities through general freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr, but you might have better chances with UGC-dedicated platforms like Trend and Influee. You can also upload your portfolio to Pinterest so brands can find you organically. If you're taking this route, you can increase your discoverability by including relevant hashtags and keywords.
Another platform you can take advantage of is Twitter. Brands post "casting calls" for UGC creators on there, and you can respond to the ones that suit your style and skills. There's less guesswork for you because you know they're looking for UGC content creators. However, expect tighter competition as other UGC creators will be pitching their work.
The last method is cold outreach. You can send emails to brands you have no previous connections with and pitch your ideas to them. This method is a little tricky because you're never sure if the brand you're contacting needs UGC content. You can save more time by reaching out to marketing and PR agencies instead.
The Bottom Line
UGC creators on TikTok may be getting deals left and right now, but the role is still too new to say it's sustainable. But if you decide to become one, you'll learn many skills and build connections that you can take with you to the future. It can also help you find your niche, which will be highly valuable for your career.