As a marketer on TikTok, it’s easy to fall into the “swipe by and forget” trap that faces many brands today. This is because users have been conditioned to distinguish carefully curated, polished brand content from the authentic user videos that ultimately drive TikTok’s popularity.
This is where influencer videos, user-generated content (UGC), and TikTok UGC Creators (a blend of the two) may be helpful as a learning tool for your brand. Check out what types of influencer and user content are popular with your target audience, and apply those techniques to the content your brand shares on TikTok.
You can push past an expensive yet generic TikTok marketing approach and grow your audience while cultivating trust and loyalty with these TikTok UGC Creator secrets. But first, a bit of background.
The low down on TikTok UGC Creators
UGC refers to any kind of media that is created by everyday users rather than a brand, design agency, or other organization, and often posted on social media. Though UGC often endorses brands or products, these posts are unpaid and unsponsored. The content is organic. Even though the users have no affiliation with your brand, they disseminate positive information about your product. UGC is word-of-mouth marketing, at scale.
On the other side of the spectrum, influencers with sizable audiences promote brand products in exchange for payment. Here influencers declare that they are being paid, and the content is usually more polished and professional. They’ve built an online community that trusts their recommendations and testimonials, but bigger influencers may be too expensive or busy for your brand to work with.
Enter the UGC Creator: a UGC creator makes content that seems organic and authentic, but usually has financial incentives attached to their content. They specialize in producing content for brands that looks and feels authentic and believable.
You are paying them for exactly this content, and they typically don’t share it on their own profiles. ‘UGC-inspired content’, if you will. It’s about finding that balance between creating good quality content without polished perfection and professional curation that turns people off and makes the content seem inauthentic.
On TikTok especially, UGC Creators build videos that incorporate the elements of everyday content on the app, making products and brands look trendy and exciting while attainable. They often utilize popular audio clips, fonts and filters, and overall editing styles that match the other videos a user would see on his or her "For You" page.
While UGC Creators can be valuable assets to brands looking to uplevel their social game, not all brands have the budget, resources, or time to work with an outside creator. However, marketers can emanate their style of videos, and reap some of the benefits associated with UGC.
Why user-generated content (UGC) supports brand content
Cost-effective with high ROI
UGC is incredibly cost-effective while providing additional benefits of trust and authenticity that traditional marketing can never generate on its own. The money you’d pay a UGC Creator is often much less than your brand would spend on a content creation team (writers, camera operators, actors, etc.) or a campaign with a popular influencer.
More personal and specific to a particular demographic
UGC, in general, creates visibility and is specifically relatable to that demographic. This is invaluable as it connects deeply with the audience. Traditional marketing cannot scale content for specific audiences; it is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and very expensive. The ROI would be too low to justify the cost.
Trust is very hard to create as a brand selling a product. Content creators that operate on a smaller scale have audiences that are very invested in them as a person. They feel close to them. UGC at this level gives you access to a community of people who have a high level of trust in the creator. And when a UGC creator talks about a product, your target audience is more likely to relate to and trust them. Seeing people just like them use a product influences your audience’s purchasing decisions. As a brand, you have access to an invaluable next-level authenticity and a community that is very hard to create from scratch.
Stronger engagement and SEO
UGC has much stronger engagement rates than traditional ads, often because it feels more authentic, and relatable to viewers. TikTok’s algorithm favors posts with stronger engagement, so working with a UGC Creator or sharing UGC from your community can increase your chances of going viral.
Traditional marketing techniques today often feel too much like advertising. We scroll through TikTok for entertainment, not necessarily to be shown a product every few videos. There is nothing worse than interrupting fun with a flashing ‘PLEASE BUY THIS’, obvious ad.
9 UGC Creator secrets for marketers
TikTok is a social media whirlwind that has swept up more than a billion users in less than a decade. That is ONE BILLION potential customers that you can connect with. UGC is a brilliant way to leverage an audience and direct them towards your product.
Here are some of the ways UGC works, how you can apply this to your overall content strategy, and what your brand stands to learn and gain from TikTok UGC Creators making engaging content for the app.
1. Credibility, authenticity, and relatability: Know your audience
The angle you’re going for with UGC is authenticity. When you’re getting your creator to build content for your profile, or if you’re building content yourself, it’s crucial to be familiar with your audience’s likes and dislikes. A TikTok user can sniff a sell-out from a mile away, and trust, once broken, is hard to fix. So don’t ruin the vibe by being too in-your-face with the advertising- keep it natural.
Relatable, natural content can be made with your iPhone.
TikTok content should remain fun and relatable, it should have the same vibe as everything else that attracted the audience to the account in the first place, but with a tiny sprinkling of product placement to go with it. It shouldn't lose its credibility. Frame the product as valuable and attainable for your specific audience.
2. Know your style: Stay on brand
Collaborate with creators that have the same values as you, and are familiar with the types of customers in your industry. For example, an athletic apparel brand will likely want to partner with UGC Creators who are active in their everyday lives.
UGC creates interest. The audience you’re talking to should be interested in your product, and the product should provide them with value, and solve a problem for them. Picking a creator for the type of audience they are familiar with is far better than picking them for their audience size.
Engagement and interest are your currencies, and providing something of value will cultivate customer loyalty. Play the long game, and create customers for life.
3. FOMO and aspiration: You’re missing out
When a TikTok video conveys the benefits of a product with excitement, the audience feels like they're missing out on a good thing. They’re being sold a dream. Your brand and product should feel like something they’re missing out on, a solution to their problems, a fulfillment of their desires. Customer and UGC Creator content are both solid ways to showcase your products in that desirable but attainable light.
This TikTok creator showcases a nutrition brand’s benefits, showing and telling viewers what they’re missing out on without the product.
4. Unique branded hashtags: A memorable signature
This is a fun and interesting way to encourage your customers to create organic UGC. Create a campaign around a unique hashtag, preferably a few words long, Camel case to make it better understandable, catchy, and easy to remember. These work as categorization tags, too, and help you collect data on your audience.
Hashtag challenges are fun ways to get a whole group of people interested in your product. Everyone has a fun new creative outlet to express themselves and build a community with.
Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke hashtag got millions of creators making fun wholesome content of sharing a Coke with friends. This creates a shared reality, the content is engaging and evokes powerful emotion. During the Pandemic, Peleton created their #TogetherWeGoFar with the premise of creating connectivity in a time when everyone felt disconnected. Redbull has a fantastic #GivesYouWings hashtag provoking insanely intense, adventurous content.
5. Marketing through gamification: Creating fun incentives
As a brand, using fun challenges to increase visibility and engagement on TikTok is a cool way of generating organic UGC. Create a trend, define what to do, and create hype enough that everyone wants to try it out. You could create a brand-specific filter that everyone can use, or define a dance challenge, or a set of actions to complete.
Offering incentives to entice more users into participating and using your products is another tactic that creates excitement and works. Just like with a brand hashtag, you can automatically collect the content created by your community that’s related to your brand with a UGC platform like Pixlee TurnTo [now Emplifi]. This is a valuable asset to marketers who want to maximize the value of their community-driven content, reusing it across social media and other channels that could benefit from social proof.
HYLETE urges its TikTok followers to participate in trends and challenges, resharing customer content on their own accounts and on the brand’s website.
6. Quality and consistency: Post at the right times
While quality should be your priority when designing a TikTok marketing strategy, your videos may get a bit more attention if they’re posted at the optimal time for your audience. Check out our full guide to learn the best time to post on TikTok for your unique followers.
It may seem daunting to create a consistent stream of content for TikTok, which is why reusing customer UGC often lightens the creative load on social media marketers. For the content you do end up having to create yourself, check out tips from UGC Creators on TikTok just by searching for them. Some of their editing tricks, like transitions and lighting, can help you create a fast, easily-repeatable process for filming videos.
7. Personal interaction: Engage with your audience
I love it when I get a cheeky reply from a brand on a comment I posted. It is so gratifying to be acknowledged by the brand on a UGC post you created. It creates good rapport and it generates a personal bond with your audience. Feeling that personal connection and building a relationship with your customers is integral for brand loyalty. Treating them well, and giving them attention will keep them coming back. People love to feel seen, and even better appreciated.
Just like creators do, your brand has the opportunity to interact with its TikTok community. Doing so, especially when it comes to engaging with their own original content, promotes UGC creation while building trust in your brand. Resharing their content can also incentivize them to post more positive testimonials about your brand or product.
8. Behind the scenes: Employee content
What do your brand employees have to do with UGC Creators? Well, TikTok UGC Creators often gain followers on their own accounts by showing users an inside look at how they create authentic videos for brands. You can apply this knowledge to your brand’s own TikTok videos by showcasing your employees in videos, giving users an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the real people behind your products.
Like UGC Creators, your brand can make your audience feel like an insider. Give them a secret sneak peek and an inside look at all the fun and work that goes into running your brand. Your employees are also users generating content.
9. The right balance: Quality, creativity, and legality
TikTok rewards creativity and originality. People love to see experiences they can relate to showcased in a creative way; that’s why UGC Creators are booming on the app. Check out some of these ways a product can be showcased on the app beyond just telling your audience why it’s beneficial:
Always check for copyright infringements. As a brand, you cannot repost content without permission from the original creators. Brand safety is important to the way you source and share content on TikTok, another reason a UGC platform may be a good choice for you.
With Pixlee TurnTo, brands can automatically request permission from users on TikTok, Instagram, and more channels without leaving the UGC platform. They can also invite content creators to become a part of the brand’s opt-in, proprietary network of creators in Pixlee TurnTo.
Towards UGC and beyond
Highlighting users who generate fun content is a fantastic way of growing your brand’s community and social traffic, as is working with UGC Creators. A mutually beneficial relationship where creative content gets more traffic and reaches a larger audience with your brand’s reposting, and brands, in turn, get genuine customer testimonials and promotions.
TikTok is such a powerful marketing tool you can leverage to grow your audience. Tap into some of the ways everyday users and content creators utilize TikTok to build content that stands out without looking like an advertisement. After all, brand-built content and UGC go hand-in-hand.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.