User-generated content is social media's way of word-of-mouth marketing. And it works.
So how do you reliably get quality UGC for TikTok?
You can directly hire UGC creators to create it for you, or you can run initiatives like contests, branded hashtags, and more -- let's dig in.
7 ways to get UGC on TikTok
1. Reach out to creators you admire
If you like a creator's content on TikTok, reach out to them and pitch them the idea of creating content for your brand.
A lot of TikTok influencers are skilled in creating quality content, and they'd welcome an additional revenue stream.
If you're starting out with creators you've already heard of, they probably have quite a big following. It won't be easy to get in touch -- so make sure you write a concise outreach email that explains what you're looking for, and what's in it for them. Note: skip to #2 in this list for a way to find smaller creators for UGC.
One of the best examples of reaching out to a creator is the collaboration between Charli D'Amelio and Dunkin. One of the most popular TikTok influencers, Charli, used to make videos centered around her love for Dunkin.
Through her TikToks, she was giving Dunkin millions of free impressions, and the brand decided to capitalize on this opportunity by officially partnering with Charli on various highly successful campaigns.
If you've done some collaborations before with a creator and like their content, reach out to them again and offer those same creators a partnership to create the content they need. You already like their work and won't have to worry about the quality of the content they submit. Also, it's a great way to build long-lasting relationships with your creator network.
2. Find new UGC creators using an influencer search tool
While the first method works for creators you're already aware of, this one lets you find a near-infinite number of other creators who could be a good fit to create UGC for you.
This one is likely to be even more effective; you can find smaller creators with 1k-100k followers who you hadn't already heard of. These are people who've learned how to create great TikTok content, but haven't yet managed to earn a full-time income from TikTok like the big celebrities.
The best influencer search tools will let you apply filters to find creators based on your requirements and pre-qualify them, so you don't have to wade through thousands of potential matches. Some platforms also let you analyze creators' profiles and monitor your UGC campaigns.
I'll demonstrate with Modash — a tool that lets you discover creators, find contact emails, and track your campaigns. It has a TikTok database of 117M+ creators, and you can apply filters like follower count, location & growth rate, and audience filters like location, gender, language, etc.
✅Pro-tip: To get the best results, apply one or two filters and then continue adding more filters to refine your search and find the right TikTok creators for you.
Modash also gives you a detailed overview of a creator's profile so you can analyze and see if they are a right fit for your brand. You can find the email of a TikTok creator you like through Modash and reach out to them.
You can give Modash a spin free for 14 days.
Always remember to sign a contract when hiring creators, as it protects both you and the creator. An influencer contract should include deliverables & goals, and payment terms, among other things.
Here's another pro tip. In Modash, you can try searching by hashtag to find TikTok creators who are using #UGC. Zach Fitch of Ubiquitous, a TikTok influencer marketing agency, encourages creators to add #UGC to their bios to make it easy for brands to find them.
3. Run a contest or introduce challenges
Contests or challenges are a fun way to generate UGC on TikTok while engaging your community and giving back to your audience.
It's a cost-efficient way to boost your social media presence while increasing brand awareness and growing your community.
When running a contest or doing a TikTok challenge, start by setting clear goals. Who are you targeting? What's your end goal? Is it more sales, brand awareness, or more followers? All this will help you figure out the challenge or the contest rules.
Don't forget to monitor your content for quality and tone. You don't want your participants sharing the wrong content and undermining your campaign.
Also, set clear guidelines and specify the kind of content you want and how you want it submitted. Only 16% of brands give clear guidelines on the type of content they want their audience to generate, while 53% of consumers want to be told precisely what to do. Your guidelines will help give you a leg up.
Doritos launched "Doritos Triangle Tryouts," — a Super Bowl 2023 challenge in collaboration with creator @vibin.wit.tay. The challenge asked participants to brush up their dance skills for a TikTok dance-off.
The hashtag #DoritosTriangleTyrouts has 14.6B views, and Doritos got millions of UGC from brand fans.
4. Create a branded hashtag
A branded hashtag is a great way to create a large amount of user-generated content that anyone can search for and look up at any time.
The key to a good branded hashtag is to make it memorable and fun. You also have to constantly encourage your customers to use it.
When introducing a branded hashtag, it can be difficult to build traction — especially if you're a small business. You can add your branded hashtag to your website, email footer, and product packaging. Another great idea is to do a contest and ask people to use the branded hashtag in their posts.
Calvin Klein introduced #MyCalvins, and the hashtag has 280.8M views on TikTok alone. The following TikTok, created by @devvyyy_, is not a sponsored post and has 152K+ likes.
CLUSE gathered 19,000 user-generated images and videos from social media by asking users to post content with the branded hashtag #CLUSE and experienced a conversion rate increase of 19% by integrating UGC on the website.
✅Pro-tip: Don't use TikToks with your branded hashtag without asking for permission from the original creator. While most people are happy to have their content shared, it's important to ask before sharing any user-generated content.
5. Ask your customers after a purchase
Sending a thank you email to a customer after they purchase a product is standard for most brands. But to encourage UGC, you can ask your consumers to send you a photo or video of the product and a review of how they liked it.
You can share some ideas on what kind of content you're looking for and encourage consumers to create it.
A great way to encourage your audience to create content is by sharing UGC on your social media accounts. Ask customers to post their pictures of the products (with branded hashtags) and repost them on your accounts as an added way of encouragement and thank you.
Zenni Optical, an eyewear brand, encourages customers to tag #LoveMyZennies to get a chance to be featured on their social media. The brand has thousands of UGC posted on its official Instagram channel.
6. Send products for free
A lot of businesses rely on product seeding to spread the word about their brand — especially when they’re starting out or launching a new product.
Product seeding is when you send creators in your niche free products without asking for anything in return. And while that may sound like a bad idea, Gymshark, currently valued at $1B, started by sending their products to fitness influencers.
After having huge success with product seeding, Gymshark introduced its brand ambassador program and has thousands of Gymshark Athletes hyping the brand on social media.
You seed your product to influencers to build long-lasting and authentic relationships. You don't nudge or incentivize them to post about you. And if the creators post about the product to promote your product, ask them permission to use their content and share it across your socials and website.
7. Try the TikTok Creator Marketplace
TikTok has a dedicated marketplace for brands to connect with top creators. The marketplace offers two types of campaigns:
- Open application campaign management — You can create a paid or unpaid campaign that creators can apply to. This allows the creators to choose the brands they want to work with.
- Direct invitation campaign management — You can search for creators in your niche and shortlist them. You can then send them a direct invite to work with your brand for a specific campaign. The direct invitation expires seven days after a creator is invited, and you can invite up to 50 creators at a time.
The TikTok marketplace also provides analytics on creators and campaigns to see average views, shares, comments, engagement rates, follower rates, growth rates, and audience demographics, among other metrics.
While it's a great way to create sustainable long-term relationships with creators, the TikTok marketplace has a very limited number of creators. The marketplace only allows accounts with 100,000+ followers to join and is only limited to 24 countries, making it hard for brands to work with nano and micro-influencers on TikTok.
How to track UGC on TikTok?
Getting your customers to create content is just one part of the overall UGC strategy. Now that you've got some great UGC content, how do you track and measure it? Let's have a look.
1. Make use of branded hashtags
Branded hashtags are a great way to increase brand awareness, but they can also help you track all the content and discussion around your brand in one place.
Simply by searching the hashtag on any social media platform, you can see the content posted by your audience — images, videos, tweets, TikToks, and Reels.
Tracking branded hashtags also gives you a baseline for the kind of content your audience is creating, how they’re engaging with your brand, and how you can interact with them more meaningfully.
Hello Fresh, a meal kit company, hugely invests in influencer marketing and product seeding. The brand encourages its customers to post content on social media with the hashtag #HelloFreshPics. With 268,359 posts, you can see all the content related to the brand, how customers are using the meal kits, and their reviews and testimonials.
2. Collect user-generated content
An influencer monitoring tool like Modash tracks all the content produced by your customers based on the added hashtags, mentions, and tags.
All you need to do is get a list of all the UGC creators you're working with, and tell Modash your branded hashtag. It'll automatically collect every post from those creators (even Stories!) that use your hashtag, so it's in one place for monitoring, reporting, and repurposing.
Here's how it looks in Modash:
3. Decide what metrics to measure
You've all your user-generated content in one place. The next step is to decide which metrics are essential for you to track. Here are a few examples:
- Views: The number of times that visitors saw the TikTok
- Interactions: A measure of overall activity on a TikTok, including profile visits, CTA clicks, likes, comments, or shares
- Engagement Rate: A broad measure of your UGC's ability to generate interest which can be measured by the formula — Engagement Rate = Interactions ÷ Views
Naturally, this will depend on your goals. If you're generating TikTok UGC for other purposes (like to use in ads), then the number of views & engagements on a creator's post will matter less.
4 ways to repurpose TikTok UGC
Before we begin, if your brand gets a lot of mentions via product tagging and branded hashtags, don't repurpose every piece of content. Be picky and select the content that captures your brand aesthetic, is high-quality, and is already getting higher engagement.
Look at the UGC on Youth To The People account — the brand reposts content from creators with followers from anywhere between 100 to 10,000+. It's all about the quality of the content created.
And it's important to ask for explicit permission from creators and influencers before using their content. You can do that either by DMing them or adding a comment on the post. Don't forget to credit the creator wherever possible.
Now, let's see how you can repurpose your UGC in various ways.
1. Repost on social media channels
One of the easiest ways to repurpose UGC on social media is by posting it on other social media accounts. Here are a few ways to repurpose UGC on social media:
- TikToks as Instagram Reels
- Instagram posts on Facebook
- Tweet as an Instagram post
- Instagram content on Pinterest
There can be multiple variations of this depending on how many social media platforms your brand is on. Here're a couple of things to remember when repurposing content:
When repurposing UGC, edit and optimize it based on the platform. Content created for Instagram might not work for Pinterest and vice versa.
Here're a few things to take care of when repurposing UGC:
- Review image/video size based on the platform's ideal size.
- Rewrite your captions and edit your @tags and hashtags wherever necessary.
✅Pro-tip: Be specific in your influencer briefs about the type of content you’re looking for from a creator and which platform it is for. To see what to include in your influencer brief, check out Modash’s free template.
Get it here: Influencer brief template
2. Use UGC in Spark Ads
31% of consumers say ads with UGC are more memorable and have a 4x higher click-through rate with a 28% increase in engagement.
That's amazing, right?
And TikTok introduced the perfect way to run ads on user-generated content through Spark Ads. Spark Ads allows brands to create ads from organic TikToks while maintaining the native feel and functionality of organic posts.
Through Spark Ads, you can add a CTA to the original post leading to your chosen landing page or a TikTok Instant Page (a lead generation form). A Sparked Ad increases your content performance, puts your brand in front of your target audience, and converts your TikToks into sales.
You can run Spark Ads on the brand account or a creator account. Look at JVN Hair — a brand by Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness. To Spark a TikTok, the brand often uses JVN's account rather than the brand account.
✅Pro-tip: To decide which posts to Spark, select from your top-performing content, as it will be most successful in paid campaigns because it's already resonating with your audience.
Apart from Spark Ads, you can repurpose UGC as ads on other social media channels. Weekday, a clothing brand, uses UGC in its Instagram ad that shows products on real people instead of branded images or a professional photoshoot.
3. Add UGC to your marketing emails
Email click-through rates can increase by ~73% by including user-generated content.
Vieve, a makeup brand, does a brilliant job incorporating UGC into its emails. Not only does the email highlight the creator behind the content, but it also includes the products used, inspiring subscribers to take immediate action and buy those products.
4. Show UGC on the product pages
Product pages are an excellent place to show off your user-generated content.
You want to show visitors how your product looks on real people and what they think about it. According to the State of User-Generated Content, 72% of consumers believe that reviews and testimonials submitted by customers are more credible than the brand talking about their products.
Crate&Barrel, a furniture and home decor business, showcases user-generated content on the product page. Look at the UGC posts on this product page with the creators' usernames mentioned as well.
Converse, a footwear brand, goes beyond that and shows user-generated content with every product a visitor views. The brand shows "Looks from the Converse Community" and highlights how the product looks and how you can style it.
4 examples of UGC on TikTok
Let’s take a look at some more examples of brands using user-generated content on TikTok.
Native, a skincare brand, when launching their new plastic-free climate-conscious deodorant line, collaborated with UGC creators to amplify the new product.
The brand worked with minisocial, a UGC platform, and collaborated with 50 micro-influencers in the lifestyle and beauty niche with a total following of 548K. The collaboration provided Native with 100+ fully-licensed UGC assets and posts with a total earned media value of $10,793.
Native regularly posts UGC on its TikTok and Instagram showing how to use products, skincare routines, and much more.
Olipop, a prebiotic soda brand, went viral on TikTok through its influencer marketing.
Olipop started collaborating with influencers in 2020 and is now consistently posting twice per day. Their main agenda? Use the platform to share entertaining content tied to the brand; not sales pushes or promotional codes.
The brand also introduced a brand ambassador program and now leverages partners to create high-quality UGC for them. The branded hashtag #OlipopPartner currently has 894.8M views and has thousands of UGC content on TikTok.
Lululemon is a Canadian athletic apparel company that is huge on highlighting its customers and UGC on Instagram and TikTok.
The brand introduced the hashtag #TheSweatLife and encouraged customers and brand loyalists to share photos of themselves in Lululemon clothes using the hashtag.
With the branded hashtag, you can see millions of UGC that has helped increase brand awareness. The brand also shares user-generated content from its official TikTok and Instagram account, highlighting the creators.
GoPro's handheld video cameras are great for people on adventures, and the brand encourages users to showcase their videos with the hashtag #GoPro.
The hashtag has 18.6B views on TikTok and 49M posts on Instagram. Users show the videos they take with Go Pro on their outdoor adventures, travel, and vacations.
With beautiful shots all over social media, GoPro has access to millions of user-generated content that shows the product's durability and the high-quality camera.
Tap into the power of UGC on TikTok today!
With user-generated content, don't be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone, take some steps out of the ordinary, and try something different. Experiment, analyze, and optimize.
And remember that UGC on TikTok isn't just for DTC brands. B2B and SaaS brands can ask their customers or employees to create content centered around the product and its usage.
Or you can discover creators through Modash's 117M+ database of TikTok creators, add filters to refine your search, and analyze their profiles to find the right fit for your brand aesthetic.
Sign up for your 14-day free trial today!