How to Build a Network of UGC Content Creators (step-by-step guide)

Unlock the power of UGC creators to amplify your brand's voice with authentic customer stories.

The Moast Team

March 15, 2024

Death, taxes and digital marketing strategies always changing. You can always count on the fact that what’s working one year, may not be as effective the next. What you can count on, however, is that the power of genuine, user-generated content (UGC) will always be an effective digital marketing strategy. 

More than just a buzzword, UGC has emerged as a cornerstone of authentic engagement and brand loyalty. Why? Because it taps into the most powerful endorsement of all: real people sharing real experiences. In fact, a recent study by TurnTo Networks found that 90% of consumers say UGC influences their decisions more than any other form of advertising. That's a staggering number, underscoring the sheer impact of authentic voices over polished marketing messages.

But how does a brand harness this power? The answer lies in building a robust network of UGC creators. These creators are not just customers; they are storytellers, brand advocates, and your most valuable marketing resource. This guide will walk you through the essentials of cultivating a vibrant, engaged community of UGC creators. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your approach, you'll find actionable strategies to connect with creators who resonate with your brand's mission and amplify your message in the most authentic way possible.

Understanding the unique value and power of UGC creators, especially when leveraging your existing customer base, is vital for harnessing this marketing goldmine effectively. Let's delve into this crucial aspect:

Understanding the Power of UGC Creators

When we talk about UGC creators, we're referring to a goldmine lying right within your reach—your customers. These individuals are not professional influencers or content creators; they are everyday users who love your products and share their experiences with their network. This grassroots level of content creation offers an authenticity that polished marketing campaigns can only aspire to achieve.

But what makes customer-driven UGC so powerful? It's all about trust and relatability. Consumers trust other consumers. A survey by BrightLocal revealed an insightful statistic: 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. This trust translates into a powerful marketing tool when customers share their genuine experiences with your products or services. Their content becomes a personal recommendation, broadcasted to an audience that holds their opinions in high regard.

statistic on online reviews

A compelling example of leveraging customer-driven UGC is GoPro. This brand has masterfully turned its user base into a legion of content creators. By encouraging customers to share their action-packed videos taken with GoPro cameras, the company not only showcases the quality and versatility of its products but also builds a community of brand advocates. These authentic, user-generated videos often go viral, providing GoPro with invaluable marketing material that resonates with a wide audience.

UGC example from GoPro

What GoPro's approach teaches us is the immense value of tapping into your existing customers as UGC creators. It's not merely about collecting content; it's about fostering a community where customers feel valued and excited to share their experiences. This strategy not only amplifies your brand's reach but also deepens customer loyalty, creating a feedback loop that drives continuous engagement and content generation.

Identifying Your Ideal UGC Creators

Step 1: Define Your Brand Values

Before you can identify your ideal UGC creators, you need to have a clear understanding of your brand's values and what it stands for. This foundation will guide you in recognizing which customers are likely to produce content that aligns with your brand's image and messaging.

Step 2: Segment Your Customer Base

Not all customers are created equal when it comes to their potential as UGC creators. Segment your customer base based on factors such as their engagement level with your brand, their social media activity, and any previous content they may have shared about your products or services. This segmentation will help you focus your efforts on those most likely to contribute positively.

Step 3: Look for Brand Enthusiasts

Your ideal UGC creators are often your brand enthusiasts—customers who are not only satisfied with your products but are also actively advocating for your brand. These individuals typically have a higher engagement rate with your brand and are more likely to share their positive experiences.

Step 4: Evaluate Content Quality

While enthusiasm is crucial, the quality of the content your UGC creators produce is also important. Review any existing content shared by potential UGC creators to ensure it meets your standards in terms of clarity, creativity, and alignment with your brand's aesthetic.

Step 5: Consider Their Influence

While not all UGC creators need to have a large following, those with a modest but engaged audience can significantly amplify your brand's message. Consider the influence of potential creators, focusing on engagement rates over sheer follower count for a more meaningful impact.

How Lush Cosmetics Did It

Lush Cosmetics excels at identifying and leveraging brand enthusiasts within their customer base to generate compelling UGC. By encouraging customers to share their experiences with Lush products through hashtags and social media contests, Lush taps into a diverse and vibrant community of UGC creators. Their approach not only showcases the real-world application of their products but also builds a strong sense of community around the brand. This strategy has been key to Lush's success in creating authentic and engaging content that resonates with both existing and potential customers.

UGC example from Lush Cosmetics

Reaching Out to Potential UGC Creators with Moast

By automating the outreach process and offering incentives for contributions, Moast makes it easy to kickstart your UGC campaign and keep it running smoothly. Let's dive into how you can leverage Moast to transform your satisfied customers into a gold mine of UGC content creators.

Step 1: Setting Up Your Campaign

Access Moast Dashboard: Begin by logging into your Moast dashboard. This centralized platform allows you to manage your UGC campaigns with ease.

  • Define Your Audience: Select the criteria for the customers you wish to target. This can be based on specific products they've purchased or a certain time range within which they made a purchase. Tailoring your audience ensures that your campaign resonates with the most relevant segment of your customer base.
  • Customize Your Campaign: Moast offers the flexibility to customize your campaign to match your brand's voice, style, and goals. This includes setting up the campaign's duration and deciding whether it runs on an ongoing basis.
Setting up your campaign with Moast

Step 2: Crafting Your Outreach Email

  • Personalization is Key: While Moast automates the outreach process, personalizing your email is crucial. Customize the email template to reflect your brand's tone and make the message feel personal to each recipient.
  • Clear Call-to-Action: Your email should have a clear and compelling call-to-action, inviting customers to create a profile on Moast. This profile includes a bio, a testimonial, product images, videos, custom questions, their locations, and more, providing a rich medium for sharing their experiences.
Setting up an email in the Moast app

Step 3: Offering Incentives

  • Motivate with Rewards: Moast facilitates the automatic offering of incentives, such as gift cards, to customers who create approved profiles. This not only encourages participation but also shows appreciation for their effort and contribution.
  • Transparency about Incentives: Be clear and upfront about the incentives offered. This transparency builds trust and further motivates participation.

Step 4: Launching Your Campaign

  • Review and Launch: Before launching your campaign, review all settings and personalized elements to ensure everything is in order. Then, with just a click, set your campaign in motion.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting: Once your campaign is live, keep an eye on its performance. Moast's dashboard allows you to track participation and engagement, enabling you to make adjustments as needed for better results.
An example of Host profile on Moast

Step 5: Celebrating Your UGC Creators

  • Showcase Contributions: As your customers begin to share their content, take the opportunity to showcase their contributions across your marketing channels. This not only amplifies their voices but also encourages more customers to participate. Moast also allows you to easily embed these profiles on your site through their library of interactive widgets.
  • Continuous Engagement: Engage with the content your UGC creators submit. Comment, share, and express gratitude. This ongoing engagement fosters a strong sense of community and loyalty among your customers.

Leveraging a tool like Moast simplifies the process of engaging your existing customers as UGC creators. By following these steps, you can efficiently reach out to potential creators, offer incentives, and build a vibrant network of brand advocates in under 20 minutes. This approach not only enriches your content strategy but also deepens your relationship with your customer base, turning them into powerful allies in your brand's growth.

Building and nurturing relationships with your UGC creators, especially those who are your customers, is crucial for sustaining a vibrant and engaging content ecosystem. This section focuses on how brands can foster long-term engagement and loyalty with their network of customer-creators, ensuring a continuous flow of authentic, user-generated content.

Building and Nurturing Relationships with Your UGC Creators

-> The Importance of Genuine Engagement

Building a network of UGC creators is more than just collecting content; it's about fostering genuine relationships with your customers who take the time to share their experiences with your brand. These relationships are built on mutual respect, appreciation, and engagement. Salesforce found that 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. This statistic underscores the significance of personal engagement in building lasting relationships with your UGC creators.

-> Personal Acknowledgment

Whenever a customer shares content featuring your brand, make it a point to personally acknowledge their contribution. A simple thank you message, comment, or shoutout can go a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated. This acknowledgment not only strengthens your relationship with individual creators but also encourages others to share their own content.

-> Provide Feedback and Encouragement

Feedback is a powerful tool for nurturing relationships. Offer constructive feedback on the content shared by your UGC creators, highlighting what you loved and how it aligns with your brand's values. Encouragement, especially when public, not only motivates the creator but also signals to other customers that their contributions are valued and recognized.

-> Create a Community

Consider creating a dedicated space, like a social media group or forum, where your UGC creators can share tips, experiences, and ideas with each other. This sense of community fosters a deeper connection with your brand and among the creators themselves, leading to more collaborative and creative content generation.

-> Offer Exclusive Perks

To further nurture these relationships, offer exclusive perks or benefits to your most active and creative UGC creators. Early access to new products, exclusive discounts, or invitations to brand events can make your UGC creators feel like VIPs and deepen their loyalty to your brand.

-> Regular Check-ins

Maintain regular communication with your UGC creators. Check-ins, whether through email updates, direct messages, or even virtual hangouts, can keep the relationship dynamic and show that your brand cares about them beyond just the content they create.

-> Celebrate Successes Together

When UGC contributes to a successful campaign or achieves a milestone, celebrate this success with your community of creators. Sharing success stories not only highlights the impact of their contributions but also reinforces the value of their engagement with your brand.

By prioritizing these relationship-building strategies, brands can ensure a loyal, engaged network of UGC creators who are motivated to share their authentic experiences. The Salesforce study highlights the critical importance of personal engagement in customer relationships, emphasizing that treating customers as individuals is key to fostering loyalty and advocacy.

Leveraging UGC Content Creators for Your Brand

Alright, picture this: You've got this amazing collection of content from your customers—photos, videos, testimonials, you name it. Now, it's like having a treasure trove of marketing gold right at your fingertips. The question is, how do you use this gold to enrich your brand? Here’s how you can smartly leverage UGC to boost your brand’s presence and connect with more potential customers.

-> Showcase Across Channels

  • Social Media: This one's a no-brainer. Share UGC on your Instagram stories, create featured posts, or even dedicate a hashtag to your brand’s community. Highlighting UGC on social media not only showcases your products in real-life scenarios but also amplifies the voices of your customers.
  • Website: Feature customer photos and videos on your product pages or create a dedicated UGC gallery. This not only adds social proof but also keeps your website fresh and relatable.
  • Email Campaigns: Incorporate UGC in your newsletters or promotional emails. A customer photo or quote can add a personal touch that resonates more with your audience compared to traditional product shots.
Apple Shot on Iphone UGC campaign

-> Engage and Amplify

  • Engage with the Content: Don’t just repost; engage. Comment on the posts, thank the creator, and share your thoughts. This interaction not only shows appreciation but also encourages others to share their own content.
  • Amplify Success Stories: Got a customer who’s raving about your product? Feature their story in a blog post or a video interview. It’s authentic content like this that people love to see and share.

-> Create Campaigns Around UGC

  • Contests and Challenges: Encourage more UGC by organizing contests or social media challenges. It’s a fun way to get your community involved and generate a buzz around your brand.
  • Collaborate on Product Launches: Use UGC to build excitement around new product launches. Inviting your community to share their first impressions can create anticipation and drive engagement.

-> Incentivize and Reward

  • Acknowledge Contributions: Show your appreciation for UGC creators by offering incentives like discounts, freebies, or featuring them prominently across your marketing channels.
  • Create a Loyalty Program: Reward customers who frequently share content with exclusive perks or membership into a VIP club. It’s a great way to keep the momentum going and make your customers feel valued.

Measuring Success and Scaling Your UGC Content Network

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of measuring success and scaling your network of UGC creators. Imagine you’ve laid the groundwork; you’ve got customers buzzing, content flowing in, and your brand vibe is stronger than ever. But how do you know if your efforts are truly paying off? And more importantly, how do you crank it up a notch? Here’s a roadmap to help you navigate through measuring impact and growing your UGC creator network.

Measuring Success

1. Define Clear KPIs

  • Engagement Rate: Track likes, comments, shares, and overall interaction with the UGC. High engagement rates often signal content that resonates well with your audience.
  • Conversion Rate: Monitor how UGC influences sales or specific actions on your website. Utilize UTM parameters to track the effectiveness of UGC in your marketing campaigns.
  • Reach and Impressions: Understand how far your UGC is traveling. Are you reaching new audiences? Increasing reach and impressions indicate successful content dissemination.

2. Use the Right Tools

Social media analytics tools and Google Analytics can be your best friends. They offer insights into how UGC is performing and contributing to your marketing goals.

3. Gather Feedback

  • Directly ask your audience and UGC creators what they think. Surveys, polls, and direct conversations can provide valuable qualitative data to complement your quantitative metrics.

Scaling Your Network

1. Identify and Foster Top Performers

  • Recognize those UGC creators who consistently produce high-quality content. Offer them opportunities to contribute more significantly, perhaps as brand ambassadors.

2. Diversify Your Content Sources

  • Expand beyond your current pool by exploring different customer segments or platforms. Each platform has its unique audience and content style, tapping into these can broaden your reach.

3. Implement Automation Wisely

  • Tools like Moast are great for automating parts of the outreach and management process, allowing you to focus on personal engagement and creative strategies for growing your network.

4. Encourage Community Collaboration

  • Create campaigns that encourage your UGC creators to work together or compete in friendly competitions. This not only generates more content but also strengthens the community vibe.

Pura Vida Bracelets UGC Strategy

Pura Vida Bracelets, a brand that sells handcrafted bracelets and accessories, exemplifies how a smaller e-commerce business can successfully harness UGC. Starting as a small startup, Pura Vida has built its brand on the back of powerful, authentic storytelling through user-generated content. They encourage their customers to share their adventures while wearing Pura Vida products, using specific hashtags to track and showcase these stories across their marketing channels.

Measuring Success: Pura Vida keeps a close eye on engagement metrics and conversion rates linked to UGC. They track which customer photos lead to more clicks and purchases, adjusting their UGC strategy to highlight content that resonates most with their audience. By analyzing the performance of UGC across different platforms, they’ve fine-tuned their approach to emphasize the types of content that drive the most engagement and sales.

Scaling the Network: Recognizing the value of their community, Pura Vida has expanded their UGC efforts by introducing a brand ambassador program. This program not only incentivizes top UGC creators with rewards and recognition but also encourages them to produce more content. The brand continuously explores new segments of their customer base for potential content creators, ensuring a diverse and vibrant collection of UGC that appeals to a broad audience.

Pura Vida UGC strategy example

Pura Vida’s strategy illustrates that even smaller e-commerce brands can make a big impact with a well-executed UGC plan. By focusing on authentic engagement, carefully measuring the effectiveness of content, and providing platforms for their community to share their stories, Pura Vida has turned their customers into a powerful marketing force.

Key Takeaway

For DTC and e-commerce brands, the journey of integrating UGC into your marketing strategy is both exciting and rewarding. It offers an authentic way to connect with your audience, showcase your products in real life, and build a loyal community around your brand. Like Pura Vida, paying attention to the metrics that matter and continually engaging with your UGC creators can help scale your efforts and amplify your brand’s voice in a crowded marketplace.

For a deeper dive into Pura Vida's approach to UGC and community building, check out their social media profiles and online community pages, where they celebrate their customers' content and stories.

Wrapping It Up: Unleashing the Power of Your Brand's Storytellers

And there you have it, the inside scoop on building a thriving network of UGC creators from the ground up. From understanding the unbeatable value of UGC and identifying those gem customers who are ready to shout your brand from the rooftops, to reaching out, building those relationships, leveraging their content, and measuring your skyrocketing success—it's been quite the journey, hasn't it?

Navigating the world of UGC is more than a strategy; it's about cultivating a community that’s as invested in your brand's success as you are. Remember, every selfie, testimonial, and candid snapshot shared by your customers is a testament to the genuine connections people have with your brand. It's this authenticity that cuts through the noise of traditional marketing, reaching hearts and minds in a way that's both profound and personal.

Sure, embarking on this UGC odyssey requires a bit of elbow grease and a whole lot of heart. But with tools like Moast and the insights you've gathered here, you're more than equipped to turn your customers into your most enthusiastic content creators. And remember, success in the UGC realm isn't just about the numbers; it's about the stories, the moments, and the smiles shared along the way.

So, grab your metaphorical camera, and let's start capturing those authentic moments. Who knows? The next viral UGC post that sets the Internet ablaze with love for a brand could very well be from your happy customers. Here's to building a brand that's powered by the people who love it most.

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