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How to Win With UGC Content

April 11, 2023
Lina Hagström

Smartly.io’s Creative Director, Sarah Hiraki, takes you through some creative best practices she’s both developed and come across while working with some of the world’s biggest brands on their digital creative efforts. 

A quick primer before we dig in: 

UGC stands for User Generated Content. UGC creative is defined by its laid-back style and subject matter. Things that work: natural light sources, intimate camera angles, and hand-held shots. Things that don’t: anything that feels overly produced or staged.

Vocal delivery should feel relaxed and natural – as if sharing personal updates or recommendations with a friend. While UGC can still be high-quality, creative, and compelling, it should always feel authentic, approachable, and attainable to the user.

However, just because you’re limited to basic production methods doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Combine a UGC approach with an interesting creative hook – like an impressive skill, an interesting transition, or brilliant script writing. 

Best Practice #1: Authentic Testimonials, especially on TikTok

When someone is speaking to us face to face, we feel compelled to listen. Testimonial videos are powerful because of their eye contact and identity first – and their sales pitch second. The delivery should feel energetic, compelling, sincere, and not too rehearsed – think, recommending your favorite tv series to someone who you know would love it. This behavior feels natural to the platform, as TikTok users are 1.5x more likely than other platform users to convince a friend to buy a product they’ve seen on the platform. 

Top Tip: Show, don’t tell. Build credibility by showing who your hero is, and how they use the product or service – show off your glowing skin or your new outfit! 

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