UGC has gone viral on TikTok over the last few years, with thousands of social savvy millennials keen to jump on the bandwagon. Many are asking the question, do you need followers for UGC?
Short answer: no, you do not need followers for UGC.
You do not need a following to get started as a UGC creator. UGC is content created — often short form video content — for a brand to be used in paid ads or on their organic social media feeds. The content is often low production value with the intention of replicating the authentic nature of content created by customers.
The value of UGC lies in the content’s apparent genuineness, relevance, and how it connects with the brands target audience, NOT the UGC creators. With that being said, many new creators discount building a following as they start in the industry. That’s a mistake.
Build Authority As a UGC Creator, Not A Following
It’s important to look at being a UGC creator and an influencer as two very distinct roles.
When a brand is paying an influencer for a job, they are paying to access their audience. When a brand is paying a UGC creator for content, they are paying for the content itself. By reframing the roles, it’s easy to understand why followers don’t matter. If you’re hiring an ad agency; a copywriter, or a photographer — you hire based on their portfolio and results, NOT their following.
As a UGC creator, brands are hiring you as expert content creators. Not influencers.
With that being said, by establishing yourself as an expert in a niche, you can better reach the brands that you want to work with.
Experts Command Higher Rates
As an authoritative UGC creator, you position yourself as an expert in your niche or industry. Brands and clients are more willing to pay a premium for content produced by creators who have established themselves as knowledgeable and influential figures. Authority signals that your content goes beyond superficial popularity and offers real value, making brands more willing to invest in your services at higher UGC rates.
More Visible in the Industry
Building authority allows you to stand out in a crowded digital landscape. You become more visible to industry peers, potential collaborators, and brands looking for authentic and impactful content creators. Being recognized as an authority elevates your profile, leading to more significant opportunities and collaborations that may not be available to creators solely focused on followers.
Track Record with Social Proof
Authority is often accompanied by a track record of successful UGC campaigns and social proof. When you consistently deliver high-quality content that resonates with audiences, you accumulate testimonials, positive reviews, and success stories. Such social proof becomes invaluable in showcasing your abilities to potential clients, leading to increased credibility and trust.
Long-Term Value and Sustainability
While a large following can offer short-term popularity, building authority creates long-term value and sustainability. It allows you to maintain influence and relevance even if follower numbers fluctuate or platform algorithms change. Clients seek creators with a proven track record and staying power, making authority a more stable foundation for continuous success.
Diversification of Opportunities
Have you seen UGC creators adding ‘Creative Direction’ to their portfolio? This is how. Building authority opens doors to diverse opportunities beyond traditional UGC partnerships. You may be sought after for creative direction, consulting roles, or even to collaborate on projects beyond UGC creation. Your expertise can extend beyond just being in front of the camera.
With authority comes followers, but those shouldn’t be your goal as a UGC creator. Authority transcends mere numbers. It is about the impact you have on your audience and industry. Even with a small following, an authoritative UGC creator can wield more influence and inspire action, leading to a more engaged and dedicated audience.
Followers Are Out, Authority Is In
Building authority as a UGC creator is the key to standing out, leaving a lasting impact, and positioning yourself for long-term success. Retainer clients? Easy. Upsell? Sure.
It’s not just about numbers; it’s about cultivating a genuine and influential presence that resonates with your audience and industry peers. Define your niche or expert area, build a personal brand and start turning your side hustle into a business.