For a brand, whether established and thriving or just starting out in the world of business, Social Proof is massive. People want to know that others just like them have used and enjoyed a particular product or service. They want to see the Resistance Band helping somebody to develop their glutes. They want to see the transformative results of a training regime.
You can tell the world how great your brand is, or how effective your products and services are, but when people are more suspicious of blatant advertising than ever before, it will help your business a tremendous amount if you can get somebody else to do the shouting for you.
How might you do that? By bringing a big User Generated Content strategy into your campaigns.
What is User Generated Content?
User Generated Content (UGC) is pretty much any kind of brand-specific content – such as photography, videos, blogs, or reviews – that is created by an audience rather than the brand itself. This content is then published online, usually on a website or a social media platform.
Who would make UGC?
There are different angles that a brand might gain UGC benefits from, such as:
We’re talking reviews on platforms such as Trust Pilot or Google My Business. Millions of people spend their time actively researching a product and brand before making a final decision on whether to purchase or not, especially when buying things online. They need to know whether other people would recommend, it or not. Asking your satisfied customers to leave a review should be a core part of your UGC model.
Fans of the Brand
Your regular, satisfied customers who keep on coming back to buy your goods and services are an army of UGC creators that would be the perfect group to work with and coax into creating valuable content for them and their purchases.
Professional UGC Creators
A new, alternative strain of social media influencers is the UGC Creator; people who work visual platforms such as Instagram and TikTok actively create sponsored branded content that looks and acts just like everyday User Generated Content. UGC Creators differ from traditional influencers in that they are often much less polished, and less obviously supported by the brands they are championing.
What are the benefits of UGC?
Sourcing UGC can be a massively beneficial tool for fitness brands to get their name and their products out in front of an engaged audience, using authentic content that resonates with their target market.
UGC can help to build trust and influence amongst buyers, especially those who are in a stage of their customer journey where they are ready to make a purchase. Authentic posts are fantastic social proof and something that can take your brand further than ever before.
How does User Generated Content differ from Paid Partnership Content?
Working with a professional UGC creator is very similar to doing a Paid Partnership campaign, in that your sponsored athlete or personality will receive payment in some way for their content. An Influencer (often via their agency) will create the content according to a brief or explicit request from the brand for what to post, where to post it, and when, and they will charge for the benefit of both creating the content and posting it.
User Generated Content from a professional creator will still require payment, quite often in the form of the product that you want to get into the photography or video content, but they will choose how, when, and where they will post that content.
Should I work with UGC Creators for my fitness products?
We say yes, absolutely. The health and fitness industries are ideal for working with customers, brand advocates, and UGC creators alike.
The human body is a very photogenic thing, no matter what its size or shape of it. A perfectly sculpted huge physique with rippling muscles can catch the shadows in hard light wonderfully, just like a powerful and curvy figure will make amazing photography in soft lighting. Body positivity and diversity is a growing trend in the health and fitness industry and a huge plus for many brands, working with creators of all kinds will work wonders for your brand image.
Working with nano-influencers and micro-influencers whose areas of expertise are bodybuilding, powerlifting, online coaching, or general wellness, for example, are ideal opportunities to get your products in front of an engaged and relevant audience.
A celebrity might well have over a million followers, but how many of them are actively engaged or from your target audience? Those popular social media accounts that run in similar circles to your target audience may have only a fraction of the followers, but you can guarantee that their audience is far more engaged and trusting of what they have to say.
Having strong content that is posted frequently is essential, as is the narrative of the creator’s timeline. Look at the people whose journey aligns with your brand message. Are they competing in their fitness discipline, or are they undertaking a personal transformation? Pay attention, as there will undoubtedly be a creator who speaks with your ideal buyer persona.
What kind of User Generated Content would benefit my fitness products?
With any equipment products at all, customers would absolutely benefit from seeing them in use by people just like them, so action shots are perfect foils for fitness equipment content. Dumbbells, machines, benches, resistance bands, and even workout clothing are all utterly ripe for an action shot in the gym.
Arguably the most popular type of content on social media right now is video. A short Instagram Story or TikTok of your UGC Creator working out with the equipment or drinking that protein shake. A vlog—style video of them talking about the benefits they will gain from using your supplements. They are all incredibly effective forms of UGC that elevate your brand with the perfect audience.
Home and Location Shots
It doesn’t always need to be shot in the gym – your customers are real people with real lives, so it makes sense to see your product users in a real-life setting such as at home, in the kitchen, or garden. Fitness foods and fitness clothing product shots can work really well here and help your audience to truly visualise themselves with your items.
The world is a beautiful place, so encourage your UGC creators to venture further afield with your products and place them somewhere amazing. Luxurious courtyards, green and glorious meadows, or why not find the beauty in harsh, industrial landscapes to add a striking contrast that can elevate the comfort of your workout wear? Providing brand and content guidelines along with a content brief will help you get the most out of your time and product investment.
What are the benefits of using a professional for UGC?
Your brand is of course very important to you, and how it is presented is absolutely vital for delivering the right message to your audience. Taking the road of crowdsourcing your UGC will undoubtedly deliver plenty of usable content, but it may also deliver a lot of content that is not to the high standard you want to portray.
Professionally created UGC gives Quality Assurance
It is highly recommended that you can assure the quality by working alongside brands and fitness professionals that share your commitment to delivering visually spectacular content that shows your products in the best possible light.
A great model working with a professional photographer fully understands the demands of a fitness product brand, and the need to create authentic-looking content that can instill a real aspirational need in the audience to want to look and feel as great as your products promise.
Professionally created UGC gives a consistent variety
Working with a professional photo and video content creator to create UGC with your chosen influencers on behalf of your business, can provide variety on a monthly basis. One month you have a series of high-quality gym-based action shots that can be used on your website, in your brochures, and on your social media platforms, and the next month a Home or Location shot. The month after they may record a video testimonial, or wear your products in a reel for Instagram or TikTok to their thousands of followers.
The point is, by working with a professional photographer or videographer, they will actively and effectively mix it up to ensure you receive the best kind of content at the best time, in a way that crowd-sourcing your UGC cannot replicate.
Let Picture Perfect Photography take the hassle out of getting quality UGC
We have worked alongside some of the biggest names in health food, fitness equipment, and social media personalities, matching many of them up in some spectacular, authentic photography in a variety of exciting locations.
Our team truly understands what it takes to create an eye-catching and authentic UGC. Picture Perfect Photography company founder Collette is in a pretty unique position to fully understand the needs of brands when it comes to UGC, having her own paid product partnerships with the likes of Barefoot Nutrition, Reflex Nutrition, and Muscle Food. You can see more of the amazing UGC she creates and posts on her Instagram platform.
Our Brand Manager Jen is an avid powerlifter, model, and a social media influencer in her own right, and she has worked with numerous brands to deliver professional quality User Generated Content.
Our clients trust us to create the kind of content that will truly deliver. For example, Connagh Howard, a very popular PT and online coach, came to Picture Perfect Photography for help in delivering UGC to respected sports nutrition brand Bulk for use on their social media platforms. You can read more about that in our Portfolio.
Monthly UGC Plans that work for brands.
Picture Perfect Photography offers monthly membership packages for professional brands and individuals who have a strong personal brand to maintain, which means we have a network of relationships that is unrivaled when it comes to fitness products and lifestyle photography as a means of making high-quality UGC.
Picture Perfect Photography uses an agency approach, taking you from concept to creation, and providing a fully managed in-house photo and video service. We offer several amazing plans that can work for brands of any type and size. Our Pro and Lite monthly membership packages include a minimum of 2 hours of shoot time, creative strategy sessions, express delivery, and various discounted features.
Collette Evans has written and published several guides to not only creating phenomenal content strategies but to implement them too, which can be found here.