Last updated: Click into the power of UGC marketing on TikTok

Click into the power of UGC marketing on TikTok


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As the leading destination for short-form video and fastest growing social media platform ever, TikTok has emerged as a uniquely powerful marketing tool. That’s especially true for brands trying to engage younger generations.

But to make the most of this platform, which boasts over a billion monthly active users, brands need to embrace the organic, authentic approach of UGC marketing.

What is UGC marketing?

In marketing, user-generated content (UGC) is content about a brand that’s created by its users, rather than the brand itself. It’s a potent content marketing technique, particularly with the recent surge in virtual shopping.

Customers trust organic user content more than branded content. So UGC such as customer photos, videos, and reviews provide valuable social proof and build credibility for brands looking to sell online.

In fact, on TikTok, user-generated videos are 22% more effective than branded videos.

Not to mention, it’s extremely cost-effective compared to other marketing tactics. And with the rise of social commerce, UGC can have a direct impact on sales through social channels. Naturally, marketers have jumped on this trend enthusiastically.

(Not to mention, TikTok has been a great comfort to those who work in corporate, too.)

UGC vs. influencer marketing

While UGC marketing sounds a lot like influencer marketing, and offers similar benefits, they’re not the same thing.

Influencer marketing involves a brand partnering with an influencer, and paying them to produce promotional content for the brand. UGC is spontaneous content, and creators aren’t paid.

So, instead of partnering with specific creators and designing the content, brands and marketers can create opportunities for organic engagement.

UGC marketing on TikTok: Maximum relevancy

TikTok may have started as an app for dance challenges and lip-synching videos, but it’s grown a lot since then. It’s become a go-to resource for everything from recipes, DIY hacks, candid discussions about mental health and social issues … and yes, dance challenges.

It’s especially appealing to brands, though, because of its high engagement rates. While the videos are typically short, the fast-paced experience keeps users engaged for longer than other social sites.

According to one study, users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.

Unlike other apps, TikTok feeds users content based on their interests, rather than what their friends are watching. Accounts with no followers are just as likely to get their videos seen than accounts with thousands of followers. For brands, that means there’s a much higher chance of getting connected with relevant audiences.

But success on the app depends on real, authentic content. Hence, the popularity of UGC marketing campaigns.

🎶 Tick-tock on the clock 🎶: Sourcing content for UGC marketing campaigns

Since TikTok’s entire experience is built around user-generated content, marketers don’t need to go far to find campaign-worthy videos. But how do you source videos that feel real and authentic, while still promoting your brand?

You don’t want to prescribe a script verbatim to content creators, but you can still guide them in the right direction. The key is to let the creators be active partners in the process. Let them know what your campaign is about, and what your goals are, and let them add their own creative flair to bring it to life.

If you haven’t watched the Elyse Myers Taco Bell saga on TikTok, you’re missing some of the best content on the app (so go click that link right now). Her story about the worst date she’s ever been on with a man who had her buy 100 tacos from Taco Bell took the app by storm – so much so that she landed a gig with Taco Bell to create content for them:

But how do you get people to start creating? There are a few options:
  1. Collaborate with TikTok creators. Reach out to existing creators on TikTok with solid followings, whose content and personality aligns with your brand. Don’t get too prescriptive with what you ask them to create – for it to be effective, you want it to feel authentic.
  2. Get your existing customers involved. Ask your customers to participate in your UGC campaign. You can offer discounts or other rewards in exchange for participation.
  3. Start a TikTok challenge. Ask users to take part in a branded challenge. The best challenges are fun, entertaining, and allow people to show off their creativity. For example, Chipotle’s Lid Flip Challenge prompted customers to replicate one employee’s impressive way of assembling burrito bowls.
  4. Use a campaign #hashtag to track content. Encourage creators to use a unique hashtag so you can track and measure content performance. As always, keep hashtags short and sweet so they’re easy to remember.
  5. Hire a great social media manager to get your brand TikTok going – then you’ll also have creators reaching out to you to collaborate – some examples of brands who rock on The Tok:

How to scale your UGC marketing efforts

Of course, to get the most out of your UGC marketing efforts, you need to figure out how to scale them. After all, the goal is to get your brand in front of as many (relevant) users as possible, so you can drive more business. So, once you source content for your campaign, the next step is to amplify it.

  • Boost UGC with Spark Ads. TikTok’s Spark Ads allow brands to boost popular user-generated content. Basically, you can take any TikTok created by any user, and – with their consent – promote it as an ad from your brand page. Select high-performing UGC to turn into a Spark Ad to increase its reach.
  • Partner with other brands. You can also partner with other, related brands on TikTok to expand your audience.

UGC marketing: user-generated, brand-boosting

Done right, UGC can help built brand trust and social proof, and drive real, authentic engagement with your audience. And with the massive popularity of TikTok, it’s no surprise it’s become a powerhouse for UGC marketing campaigns.

Don’t let the unpolished nature of UGC scare you away from this strategy. Brands that embrace the authenticity will be rewarded.

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