The Ultimate Guide to get Influencers to Create Authentic UGC for your Brand

Forge authentic UGC with influencers for brand empowerment.

Priya Nain

Priya Nain

August 25, 2023

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If you've been scrolling through Instagram or TikTok you might have noticed a trend for the past one or two years — UGC (User-Generated Content) style content is getting incredibly popular.

And it's working since almost every other brand is doing it.

But have you also observed something else? People are beginning to tune out that type of content.

It's not that UGC content doesn't work anymore. It's still very effective.

So why have people started to ignore it?

The real issue with UGC creatives, creators & brands

The real issue lies elsewhere: people have gotten better at detecting fake promotions and insincere content. They can tell when something doesn't feel quite right, and they are less likely to engage with content that feels manufactured or unauthentic.

Use AI tools to identify authentic user-generated content (UGC) reducing the time spent on finding content tailored to your specific needs. This helps maintain a uniform brand image and feel across your campaigns.

Brands are 'hiring' UGC creators in bulk off of any platform without much consideration of who the person really is, and if they're even aligned with your brand!

Case in point…

Looking at marketplaces like Billo or Insense & paying $300 for every UGC video is not helpful either, especially if you're trying to keep costs low.

The idea here is NOT to find  "professional" UGC creators.

The goal should be to find creators who are already involved in your specific industry or niche. These influencers will have content and an audience that naturally aligns with your brand, making collaboration more organic and authentic.

Check out this tweet sharing how people love 'organic reactions' rather than staged reviews.

Here's what not to do:

  • Do not just hire anyone tagged as a UGC creator. It doesn’t necessarily mean they know your space or are relevant to your brand.
  • Avoid marketplaces full of actors to get inauthentic content
  • Don't choose influencers based solely on follower count

Let's explore how to find influencers & how to reach out to them for a successful UGC collaboration & authentic content.

This method offers several advantages:

  • It's completely free (no need to pay for content).
  • It's believably authentic.
  • It gets you sales without the need to run paid ads.

🔍 Step 1— Find your first 100 influencers

This step is more than just looking for big names with huge follower counts. You have to find influencers who resonate with your brand's values, have engaged audiences, and can create genuine and authentic content.

Free method — Hashtag research

You can use Instagram, or TikTok,and search for relevant keywords, hashtags, or topics related to your brand.

In just 15-20 minutes, you can find 50 potential influencers with hashtags, without spending any money. Here's how:

  • Identify core & tangential hashtags: Core hashtags directly align with your brand, while tangential ones connect with the broader context your brand fits into. For example, if you sell healthy breakfast cereal, use hashtags like #HealthyCereal for core, and #HealthyLivingJourney for tangential connections.
  • Avoid high-density hashtags: Opt for more specific, 'long-tail' hashtags rather than broad ones like #Healthy, which might be overcrowded.
  • Find expert hashtags: Look for hashtags used by professionals in your field, such as #Nutritionist, to find authorities with genuine influence.

Next you have to find an average of 20-30 influencers under each hashtag. That will give you 1000's of influencers to reach out to. Which is good when you're just getting started.

Here's a video explaining the hashtag research method

Here's a quick visual that you can save and refer later or share with your team:

Affordable, & fast method — Use SARAL

Or if you're short on time like me, just use SARAL to find creators. Enter a search keyword related to your brand and it'll find you all creators who post about those topics.

Compile a list of 100 influencers who match your criteria. This should be a diverse group, including some micro, macro and some up-and-coming creators who have the potential to grow.

⚡️Step 2 — Create a 'yes worthy' influencer offer

Paying for posts is NOT the only way to work with influencers. In fact that's our least preferred way.

You should create a compelling influencer offer — a proposal or arrangement that outlines what you'll provide to the influencer and what you expect in return.

This is Step 2 in the process, and it comes after you've looked at various profiles and identified who the creators are. That's because understanding the influencers makes it much simpler to design an appealing influencer offer that fits both their needs.

Three components of an effective offer

  • Free product: Offer a product that resonates with the influencer and their audience. This not only creates an immediate connection but provides a tangible experience they can share.
  • Audience discount: A discount exclusive to their followers gives influencers an opportunity to give back to their community. It’s a win for the influencer, their audience, and your brand.
  • Incentive for the influencer: Whether it's a flat payment or a commission-based incentive, ensure that it's fair and motivates the influencer to actively promote your product.

You can use  SARAL's free chrome extension to determine this fair fee if you need it.

Here are examples of some offers:

We'll send you our Healthy Family Breakfast Kit to enjoy. For every sale made through your link, you'll earn a 15% commission. Plus, your followers can buy with a special 10% discount.

Partner with us, and you'll get a 15% commission on sales and an exclusive 20% discount for your fans on our ‘Trifecta’ bundle. You'll also get a special package from us one week before we launch our product each month

For each purchase from your link, you'll get $100. Your audience will get a free shaker with their name on it. And to keep you on track with your fitness goals, we'll send you a crossfit supplement of your choice every month

We've also explored 9 ways to collaborate with influencers in detail here.

📧 Step 3— Reach out to the creators (personalized, but automated)

The next step is to connect with each influencer via email.

Send them a personalized email. It shows that you've done your research and understand the influencer's style and audience. It creates a connection right from the start.

But let's face it: Time is money, and every moment spent manually emailing or DMing potential influencers is a potential missed opportunity.

Whether you're doing it yourself or relying on a VA, there's a smarter way to manage your time — Automating your messages.

Automation doesn't mean being impersonal. You can craft messages that resonate with individual influencers and automate their delivery.

Here's an outreach cheat sheet you can use to structure your emails:

Here's an email template you tweak for crafting a quick message:

Subject: Love your work {{user_name}} — collab?Hey {{first_name}},

I’m the JOB_TITLE at BRAND, and your content caught our eye! We think you'd be a perfect match for our new ambassador program: ONE_LINE_DESCRIBING_YOUR_BRAND.

Our brand values of A, B, and C align wonderfully with your style, and we'd love to offer you PERCENTAGE% commission for each sale you generate.

Are you interested in a long-term partnership? Let's do something cool together!



Alternatively, if you just want UGC for now, use a template like this:

Hey {{first_name}},

Recently came across your profile on PLATFORM and loved {{custom_line}}.

I'm reaching out as the JOB_TITLE at BRAND. I'm reaching out directly because we'd like to strike up a UGC partnership! We really align with you on things like ALIGNING_VALUES.

Do you have bandwidth to create N pieces of content for us each month for a fee?


If they don't reply, let SARAL send automated follow-up emails. These can include additional details, social proof, or even an offer of a free product for feedback.

SARAL provides follow-up templates as well. Simply click on “View Templates” during your email campaign creation, and let the system do the rest.

🤝 Step 4 - Onboard creators and ship products

Once you have the influencers interested in your brand, you have to onboard them and send free products.

What does onboarding mean?

Onboarding influencers isn't about recruiting creators. It's about making them part of your brand's family. This involves:

  • Introducing your brand: Explain what your brand stands for, your aesthetics, and what content resonates best with your audience.
  • Sharing brand guidelines: Provide influencers with the types of messaging that work, brand assets like logos, color themes, and taglines.
  • Building relationships: Help influencers to understand and connect with your brand, so they create content that aligns with your brand.

You can create a notion page or a document where you put these creative guidelines to get the best UGC for your brand.

Onboarding ensures that influencers can create content that feels authentic and is in-sync with your brand's values and aesthetics.

How to send free products?

For this, you don't manually have to create orders in Shopify. You can do it with SARAL — the all-in-one influencer marketing tool you can use for all the steps before this.

Create tracking links and discount codes all in one go. Everything's in one place, so you can bring on as many influencers as you want without any fuss!

SARAL simplifies the entire process, allowing you to focus on building relationships with influencers rather than getting bogged down in logistics.

📱 Step 5 - Ask for usage rights and build long-term relationships

There's another crucial step that is often overlooked: asking for usage rights and building long-term relationships. This is about more than just the one-off post they did about you. It's about creating a lasting partnership.

Here are three objectives of this follow-up:

  • Seek feedback: Ask them how they feel about the product. Their opinions and insights can be valuable for your brand's growth.
  • Ask for usage rights: Ensure you have the legal rights to use their content in your marketing. This is vital for avoiding future legal complications.
  • Nudge them to post: Encourage them to share the product on their social media. A friendly reminder can often be helpful.

Subject: Excited to hear your thoughts on [Product name]!Hi [Creator's Name],

I hope you've received [Product Name] and are enjoying it! We're excited to hear your thoughts and feedback.

When you feel ready, we'd be thrilled if you could share it on your socials, maybe through a reel or story, and tag us at @brandusername.

For your audience, we've prepared a special tracking link and a discount code to make their experience even better:

Tracking link: [link]
Discount code: [CODE10]

Also, could you please confirm that we have the right to use your posts featuring our product in our marketing materials?

If you need more time or have any questions, just let me know. Looking forward to hearing from you and continuing our collaboration.

[Your Name]

This step isn't just a formality. It's an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with the influencer and set the stage for future collaborations.

By following this approach, you'll receive genuine UGC from creators who have truly experienced your product.

Keep an eye on those social media tags and re-share those on your social media profiles.

Here's how Graza does it

They have a story highlight called 'Squeeze Army' where they add all these reels and stories.

One of the stories shared in there:

Final thoughts

As we wrap up this guide on reaching out to influencers for authentic UGC content, it's time to make your journey even simpler and more effective.

That's where SARAL comes in.

SARAL is designed to guide you through the entire process we've explored in this blog, saving you not only valuable time but also thousands of dollars in UGC marketplace fees. It's easy to use and focused on delivering real results for your business.

Transform your UGC approach with SARAL – Start your free 7-day trial today.

Here's what you can do with SARAL:

  • Discover unlimited untapped influencers that are perfect for your brand, without spending hours searching.
  • Send compelling offers effortlessly, avoiding the tedious process of manually DMing each influencer.
  • Easily onboard influencers and get creative content made, tailored to your brand's needs.
  • Build a long-term community, an invaluable resource you can tap into at any time for fresh content and increased sales.

Try SARAL risk-free with our 7-day free trial

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