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The Power of User-Generated Content (UGC) in Beauty Brand Marketing

Updated: 5 days ago

Let’s talk about UGC! But before that, we have a question: what type of content dominates your social accounts, in-house marketing campaigns, or your customers sharing experiences with your products? If you are in the latter group, congratulations. But if you fall into the former, give this blog post immediate attention!

What is UGC?

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any original text or visual materials published by unpaid product users, such as images, videos, testimonials, reviews, or podcasts, rather than the brand itself. UGC is ubiquitous today, with as many as 90% of people posting their opinions about products they’ve used online. It is the modern-day product recommendation and mouth-to-mouth, significantly influencing brand discovery, awareness, and profitability. Let’s delve into how this works.

How Can Your Beauty Brand Benefit from UGC? Here are the Stats

Every beauty brand should leverage UGC for the following reasons:

UGC is Authenticity-driven

UGC is authoritative and needed in your content strategy because, more than ever, audiences resonate with authenticity and relatability. Unlike branded content, which may feel promotional or staged, UGC is created by real customers sharing their raw and genuine experiences with a company or product.

UGC Creates Brand Trust

The essence of UGC’s impact is embodied in the phrase: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” When potential buyers see people like themselves promote a brand in relatable scenarios, they are more likely to consider the brand and develop trust and credibility. Statistics support this: 84% of people are more inclined to trust a brand that uses UGC in its online ads.

UGC Amplifies Engagement

We also know that UGC drives up to 6.9 times higher engagement than in-house brand content, and 77% of consumers are more amenable to purchasing a product they found through UGC. UGC is undoubtedly the most incredible social proof your brand can ever leverage. It presents your products in real-life settings, allowing consumers to imagine how they would integrate into their daily lives. Again, this highlights the concept of relatability, which is the new currency to trade in effective branding.

UGC Overrides Influencer Marketing

With rising influencer fatigue and distrust in the industry, UGC is steadfast in marketing your brand and building a community of loyalists and supporters. According to the latest stats, consumers consider user-generated content to be 9.8 times more effective than influencer content.

UGC is More Cost Effective than Traditional Advertisement

Traditional social media campaigns are expensive, ranging from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the company's size. In contrast, UGC is nearly cost-free, as users voluntarily create content with their social media equipment.

Top UGC Success Story in the Beauty Industry

We can’t discuss UGC without mentioning the 2021 TikTok video featuring Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant FirmX Temporary Eye Tightener.

On a normal day, a then 54-year-old woman named Trinidad Sandoval (@Trinidad1967) posted a TikTok video featuring a product find: an undereye cream that was helping her fade the eye bags she was conscious of.

In the video, she applies the cream over her left eye while her other eye is untouched. In seconds, we see the left under-eye area evolve to smoother skin and a dramatic difference between both eyes.

The video quickly went viral, amassing millions of views and leading to the product selling out almost instantly. The brand reported that within a week, they sold as much as they typically would in six months.

Today, in 2024, Trinidad's video has 43.7 million views. Although it has had a paid partnership label since Trinidad was signed to the company’s affiliate program, when it was posted in 2021, she was a regular customer and unpaid product enthusiast.

How to Get UGC as a Beauty Brand

UGC is about giving your brand loyalists and advocates a platform to express their sentiments about your products or brand. Although their voices remain unsolicited, it doesn’t mean that you sit back and wait for them. As a beauty brand, you must create ways to entice your audience to participate, produce, and publish the content. Here are four ways:

Branded Hashtags Through Contests, Challenges, or Giveaways

Organize challenges that align with your brand values, and encourage your followers to share videos of themselves using your products creatively. Let’s recall the #eyeslipsface challenge by e.l.f Cosmetics. The brand used an original song to inspire users to showcase their makeup looks. The campaign went viral, generating over 3 million user-created videos and 9.4 billion views, significantly boosting brand awareness and sales through massive engagement.

Branded Hashtags for Community Building

Branded hashtags aren’t only for competitions. They also create an ever-growing community of customers who love your products. Honorable mentions of beauty brands that leverage UGC through branded hashtags include Rare Beauty.

Their website encourages their community to share their experiences with the products after purchase through the #rareroutine hashtag. They incentivize their audience by promising a chance to be featured on their social accounts in exchange. Many makeup lovers would gladly participate as it would also give them visibility on their social media profiles.

Rare Beauty’s website home page features UGC content using the #RareRoutine hashtag across social media.

The #RareRoutine currently has 30,000+ posts combined across Instagram and TikTok, giving the brand a treasure trove of UGC to leverage for their accounts and website, as seen in the image above.

Host Interactive Online Events

Live streams, virtual events, or Q&A sessions foster a dynamic real-time environment for connecting with your audience. Creating these opportunities strengthens your relationship with your audience, making them more involved with your brand. Examples of interactive opportunities encompass live product demos or tutorials, guiding users through different ways to use your products. Allow viewers to ask questions, get instant responses during live sessions, and encourage users to share their results or variations of the tutorials.

After makeup artist Pat McGrath, owner of McGrath Labs, set the internet abuzz with her avant-garde porcelain skin makeup look at the Maison Margiela fashion show in Paris in January 2024, everyone wanted a tutorial for the iconic look. A week later, she hosted an Instagram Live Tutorial that furthered enthusiasm and recreation of the looks, garnering millions of views across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Set up Post-purchase Follow-Up emails

Implementing post-purchase follow-up emails is an effective UGC collection model for beauty brands. After a customer makes a purchase, send follow-up emails to thank and encourage them to share their experience. The first email can express gratitude and confirm their order. In contrast, subsequent emails can prompt them to leave a review, share photos or videos of their product use, or post about their purchase on social media using a specific hashtag. Include clear instructions and incentives to motivate customers to contribute, such as discounts on future purchases or entry into a giveaway.

UGC Best Practices

Engage with Your Audience

Actively engage with your audience by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. This interaction fosters community and encourages more users to share their content.

Use Branded Hashtags

Implement branded hashtags to track and curate UGC easily. This will simplify featuring user content on your platforms and create a cohesive brand presence.

Collaborate with Influencers

Partner with influencers who align with your brand values. Influencers can amplify your reach and add credibility to your UGC campaigns.

Seek Permission Before Reposting

Always seek permission before reposting UGC on your website or social media pages. This shows respect for user rights and helps build trust with your audience.

Run Regular Contests and Giveaways

Organize contests and giveaways to incentivize content creation. These activities can generate a steady stream of fresh UGC and keep your audience engaged.

Analyze UGC Campaign Performance

Analyze the performance of your UGC campaigns regularly to understand what resonates with your audience. Use these insights to refine your strategies and improve future campaigns.


UGC is the marketing effort par excellence for any beauty brand looking to expand its reach with continuous trust and credibility in the industry. Content created by people who genuinely enjoy your products is your best ambassadorship, far beyond any promotional content your brand will ever invest in. UGC fosters a community of loyalists who passionately advocate for your brand, creating authentic connections and driving organic growth. A community that provides valuable feedback inspires others to trust and engage with your brand, ultimately leading to increased brand loyalty and long-term success.

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