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How UGC Is The New Influencer Marketing

It's not a new strategy, but it is now becoming a popular one. A report by Stackla claims that 90% of consumers say that authenticity matters when choosing brands to support - they want to see content that comes from the audience instead of paid professionals, and that is why UGC is stealing the show.

So can anyone leverage UGC? Let’s talk about it.


How Can Any Brand Leverage UGC?

The creator economy is thriving like never before, and every brand or business wants to integrate it into its content strategy.

Is there a difference between a UGC creator and an influencer?

Yes.

A UGC creator specializes in creating engaging content for brands to leverage across the customer journey via their marketing channels.

While an influencer (other than charging more) creates content that is distributed on their channels and aligns with their personal brand as well as their audience, which will have overlap with the brand.


Why does this matter?

76% of consumers have purchased a product because of someone else’s recommendation.

That is why UGC creators are on a meteoric rise because they are considered more authentic.


Bringing Alo Yoga To The World With UGC

Alo Yoga’s mission is to bring yoga to the world, and they do it in the most authentic way a brand can - using UGC and real customer stories. Alo Yoga has increased returning customers to their online shop by 293%, time spent on their website by 60%, and improved their average order value by 107% by using a UGC marketing platform that helped them do more with the existing traffic and brand fans.

They have a whole section on their landing page dedicated to sharing how the consumers (or UGC creators) are wearing their apparel. This has created an entirely new category called ‘Fan Faves’ which has an authentic appeal resulting in high conversion rates after adding to cart.

“To be able to implement applicable UGC into our emails is going to allow us to have more options for a customer to actually purchase when they get an email,” says Chris Moynihan, Director of Digital Marketing at Alo Yoga.


Personal Trainer To Millionaire Entrepreneur Using UGC

Another great example is the Sweat fitness app. Global fitness icon, Kayla Itsines, built a 400-million-dollar brand and business on the pillars of UGC. 

As a personal trainer, she created a program specifically for women, and instead of posting her abs, she would constantly repost her customers’ progress photos. Soon, everyone in Australia knew Itsines and wanted to work out with her because they saw real people posting real results instead of a polished, chiseled trainer.

This was relatable, measurable, and backed by social proof. The by-product of this was a strong community, and many consumers turned into brand ambassadors as well as full-time fitness creators!


So, What’s UGC’s Selling Point?

UGC’s key selling point, you can use it across all marketing channels and really fill the gap in the conversion funnel by creating specific content for your customer journey.

It goes beyond social media and lets you acquire and reach new audience sets.


UGC Creators or Influencers - What Should You Use?

Both! Influencers and UGC creators now exist on a spectrum with a massive community and conversion value between the two.

“UGC creators’ value lies less on their personal brand and more in the inherent power of their content,” says Kyle Wong, CE O of Pixlee. “While studio-produced content remains a critical part of the content mix, brands are increasingly seeking new ways to scale and source authentic content.”

Use UGC Creators for testimonials and feedback - their strong suit - which can be repurposed to address consumer pain points throughout your marketing funnel. 

Use Influencers to create awareness about the brand and find existing audience sets that align with your consumer persona.

If you are an established brand, awareness is not your issue, but staying relevant might be. Tap into UGC creators to increase your touchpoints across various marketing channels.

For example, Sephora now has an “As Seen On TikTok” shelf in their stores which speaks to the power of testimonials and has led to higher conversions. In a case like this, influencers are best used to promote activations or create professional content as collaborations.

Another great example is Farrow&Ball - a home decor company that showcases images from their customers as authentic design inspiration on their website!

A brand’s costumes are its best marketers, and if you are a service, that is a way to showcase user-generated content. VSCO uses its socials to showcase the personalities of its many consumers from around the world - the photos don’t promote the brand but showcase how easily people use the social media tool. It also keeps the brand name consistent when you look at social listening data.


Wrapping It Up

UGC’s primary purpose is to create a sense of trust and social credibility through small creators without relying on their personal brand. It helps even out the marketing funnels, resulting in more conversions than a highly produced ad, and can expand your community organically.

Think of it as outsourcing content production to your consumers, making them the hero of your brand’s story and forming a relationship with your community.

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