The case for implementing a User Generated Content (UGC) strategy for your brand in 2023 is a simple one. It’s much more scalable, affordable and effective than anything you can make in-house (or with an external agency).

2023 is the year of inflation for so many in marketing. This is especially true in the world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). As a result of inflation, marketers are having to find smarter ways of working.

For me, this is music to my ears because I’ve always favoured a, “work smart not hard” approach to problem-solving. Lateral thinking is an evolutionary advantage to marketers who know how to do it.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through a water-tight UGC strategy for your brand that won’t break the bank. You’ll learn how to make your budget go MUCH further (and I’ll even tell you about a couple of my secret weapons to save even more time and money).

What is UGC and why should I use it for my brand?

In a nutshell, UGC is anything made about your brand/products externally to you. Let’s say you’re a food brand and someone has made lunch with one of your products and tagged you in an Instagram Reel, that’s UGC. Another example could be someone Tweeting a picture of your product.
The bottom line is UGC is affordable, scalable, and inexpensive for brands in 2023.

While professional content has large production budgets, UGC costs next to nothing for brands. Consumers are even willing to create compelling content for free when they have a positive experience with a brand (this is one thing you should definitely remember from this article).

Here are 5 convincing reasons why UGC is so effective:

  • It’s authentic: Seeing a real person interacting with a product and enjoying a product feels real. A brand trying to replicate that looks staged AF and consumers can spot it in a heartbeat.
  • It’s spontaneous: no design by committee, no lengthy planning. Just creative people executing fast!
  • It’s unfiltered: It’s not a marketing department’s take on what a consumer wants, it’s the raw, consumer opinion.
  • It’s engaging: people relate to other people. People engage with other people. It’s that simple.
  • grants access to curated niches: Users build an audience around shared and specific interests, and UGC allows you to tap into that.

I think I’ve made the case that engaging and inspiring customers to share their own brand stories is a powerful marketing strategy for 2023 and beyond.

So how do I obtain and bank UGC for my brand?

There are a few things you’re going to need to do.

Step 1: Find users you vibe with

The search is on, find users who make the kind of content that resonates with your target audience.

The important metrics here aren’t following but engagement. Are people interacting with the content? How are they interacting with the content?

A word of advice on follower count: aim for between 1.5k and 20k for the sweet spot. These guys are categorised as “nano influencers” and they are much more likely to create good, engaging UGC at t good price.

Step 2: Make contact

Start engaging with their content and try to establish rapport. Send a DM. Top tip on getting that DM read is to like and comment (meaningfully) on their latest post and add an, “oh btw, we just dm’d you”.

Step 3: negotiate a deal

Let them know how much you love what they do and that you would love to be able to use some of their content on your own channels. It’s a big ask. You’re asking a creator to reuse their creative output. Consider that before you make the ask. What can you do to sweeten the deal?

With nano influencers, a gifted collab (where you send them some of your products as a gift and they create some content featuring it in exchange) is a good shout. With bigger influencers, you’ll be working to their fees. It’s commonplace for influencers with over 20k followers to have agents now so negotiations might be via an agent.

Step 4: wait for the content and schedule it when you get it

Make sure you’ve agreed on the terms of use for the content with the creator beforehand.

Step 5: rinse and repeat

That’s the strategy. Do it over and over and you’ll quickly have tonnes of UGC to post to your own audience.

This is almost always going to be more cost-effective than other methods (such as creating the content in-house or hiring an agency to create the content).

Save even more time with this hack

As an influencer AND a marketer, James Brooks saw this topic from both sides of the fence.

James decided to build an app that connected influencers with brands specifically for gifted content. The app saves tonnes of time and reduces the outreach process to a couple of mouse clicks.

At its price point, this app (ThingyBridge) pays for itself in time saved.

All in all, a User Generated Content strategy can be a seriously cost-effective and impactful tactic for your brand this year.

By teaming up with the right nano-influencers who have audiences that match your target market, you can access fresh and genuine content for a fraction of the price of making it yourself.

Start by finding the perfect creators, build a connection, and come to a win-win agreement. With some planning and community management of the UGC you get, you can scale this strategy over time to produce a never-ending stream of real brand stories told by your biggest supporters.

So, take that first step and watch your UGC program grow into a massive new marketing channel for your brand.