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Social Media Live Streaming: How to Go Live on Every Network

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From Saturday Night Live and the Super Bowl to celebrity slaps at the Oscars, there’s no denying the thrill of watching events unfold in real time. You just never know what could happen. That’s why social media live streaming is so appealing to viewers and why content creators should be getting in on the action.

Since YouTube’s very first live event in 2008, internet users have grown from lukewarm to fully obsessed with social media streaming. These days, nearly a third of all internet users report watching at least one video live stream each week.

And can you blame them? Live streaming is authentic, engaging, and—we won’t deny it—a little bit thrilling.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

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Social media live streaming refers to real-time videos shared on social media platforms (as opposed to videos filmed in advance and then posted to social media). It is sometimes referred to as “going live” and is most often used by creators and influencers, who can tap into features like live chats, polls, and question prompts to invite viewers to participate in real-time conversations with them.

Because most platforms also allow users to give streamers gifts that can be redeemed for cash, creators can also earn a fair amount of money with social media live streaming.

Screen view of content creators making a Facebook Live stream with guest request list.

Source: Facebook

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At some point, you’re going to get that burning urge to go live on social media.

But the smorgasbord of social media live streaming platforms can be downright overwhelming. Instagram or TikTok? Facebook or YouTube? Is Twitch just for gamers? (Side note: no, it’s not.)

The answer, though, is simple: you should be streaming wherever your audience (or future audience) is hanging out.

Here’s some helpful demographic information on each of the major social media networks to help you address your target audience and figure out where to go live.

Then, read on for details on how to master live streaming on each one.

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How to go live on Facebook

Depending on your user profile and your device, there are a few different ways to go live on Facebook.

If you’re creating a mobile Live video for a business page:

  1. Tap Create a post.
  2. Tap Live Video.
  3. (Optional) Write a short description of your video.
  4. Hit the blue Start Live Video button to begin your stream.

If you’re creating a mobile live video for a personal profile:

  1. Tap the What’s on your mind? field at the top of your newsfeed and then tap Live Video.
  2. (Optional) Adjust your audience in the To: field at the top, and add a description. This dropdown also gives you the option to share your live video to your story.
  3. Hit the blue Start Live Video button to begin your stream.

If you’re creating a Facebook Live video on your computer:

  1. In the create post box in your newsfeed, tap Live Video.
  2. Select Go Live. If you want to schedule a live event to start later, select Create Live Video Event.
  3. If you want to broadcast using your webcam, select Webcam. If you want to use a third-party streaming software, select Streaming software and paste the stream key into your software.
  4. Select where your video will appear, who can view it, and add a title and description if you’d like.
  5. Click the blue go live button.

Once you’re live, you’ll be able to see the names and number of live viewers and a stream of real-time comments.

When the show is over, the post saves to your profile or page (unless you’ve shared it to your story only).

Facebook live stream

Source: Facebook

See also  How to Add Multiple Instagram Accounts and Manage Them (Without Crying)

Learn more about how to live stream from Facebook here.

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How to go live on Instagram

On Instagram Live (available on the mobile app only for now), you can collaborate with guests, ask followers questions, or use filters. When your session’s over, you’ll be prompted to share your stream to your Story if you’d like.

Here’s how to go live on Instagram:

  1. Tap the camera in the top left corner of your phone.
  2. Swipe right to access the Instagram Live screen.
  3. Tap the Go live button to begin streaming.

Instagram livestream

Source: Instagram

Find more tips for how to use Instagram Live here.

How to go live on Instagram and Facebook at the same time

While there’s no official way to live stream the exact same content on Facebook and Instagram simultaneously, there are some third-party that can help.

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StreamYard, OneStream are a few of the multi-stream platforms that can be customized (unofficially) to broadcast to multiple platforms at the same time.

Though be warned that Instagram does not officially support streaming outside of its own app.

If you want to keep the solution lowtech (and legal), you could also use two devices to record simultaneously: one for streaming to Instagram, and second to stream to Facebook from another angle.

Keep in mind that double the broadcasts also means double the comment streams to keep track of. You may want to enlist an engagement specialist to help you.

Ugh, we get it, you’re popular!

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How to go live on LinkedIn

As of September 2022, LinkedIn Live is only available to users who meet certain criteria based on follower count, geographical location, and adherence to LinkedIn’s Professional Community Policies.

To check if you are eligible, tap Event from your home page. If you see LinkedIn Live in the event format dropdown, you are allowed to go live on the platform.

LinkedIn live group of people

Source: LinkedIn

Unfortunately, LinkedIn doesn’t have the same native live streaming capabilities as other social media platforms. Instead, you’ll need to use a third-party tool to broadcast live to LinkedIn.

  1. Grab two devices before you start streaming. One will be for the video, one for monitoring comments as they come in.
  2. Register for a broadcasting tool from a third party like StreamYard, Socialive, or Switcher Studio. Authenticate your LinkedIn account.
  3. Click the Broadcast button on your third-party tool and film.
  4. Use the second device to watch for comments (or get a friend to play moderator for you). Respond on camera as they come in.

Note: When your broadcast is over, it will live on your LinkedIn feed to attract even more engagement on the rewatch.

Get the complete guide to going live on LinkedIn here.

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How to go live on Twitter

A video is the perfect way to stand out from the crowd in the non-stop stream of tweets. When you’re all done, you can share from the beginning to tweet the video in full.

How to go live on Twitter:

  1. Tap the camera icon in the composer. Note: If you don’t see the camera, make sure Twitter has access to your photos on your phone’s privacy settings.
  2. Tap Live. (If you just want audio and not video, tap the mic at the top right to turn off the camera).
  3. (Optional) Add a description and location, or invite guests to join in.
  4. Tap Go live.

Twitter live

Source: Twitter

Here’s the full breakdown for how to go live on Twitter.

How to go live on YouTube

YouTube was the first major social network to offer live streaming. Today, it is the most popular place to consume live content.

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A webcam or smartphone (if you have at least 50 subscribers) will get you rolling right away. More advanced streamers can use encoders to broadcast from external devices, or screen share that awesome Mario 2 speedrun.

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Any stream under 12 hours will be automatically posted to your Youtube channel for future generations to enjoy.

How to go live on YouTube with a webcam on desktop:

  1. Tap the video camera icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Select Go live.
  3. Select Webcam.
  4. Add a title and description, and adjust privacy settings.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click Go live.

Note: you will have to verify your phone number with YouTube before you can go live from your desktop.

How to go live on YouTube on mobile:

  1. Tap the plus sign at the bottom of the home page.
  2. Select Go live.
  3. Add a title, select your location (optional), and adjust privacy settings.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Take a thumbnail photo.
  6. Click Go live.

Note: Only users who meet certain requirements can go live via mobile on YouTube. You’ll need at least 50 subscribers, have no live streaming restrictions, and be a verified channel.

How to go live on YouTube from an encoder:

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  1. Set up your channel for live streaming here.
  2. Download an encoder.
  3. Select Go live. You’ll be able to set things up in the Live control room here.
  4. Select Stream.
  5. Add a title and description, and adjust privacy settings.
  6. Start your encoder, and check the live dashboard for the preview to begin.
  7. Click Go live.

abc news live headlines and events

Source: YouTube

Find more detailed instructions on how to live stream on Youtube here.

How to go live on TikTok

As of 2022, TikTok’s live feature is only available to users who have at least 1,000 followers and are at least 16 years of age.

Haven’t reached the threshold yet? Here’s a potential trick for how to go live on TikTok without 1,000 followers.

If you’ve got access to TikTok Live, here’s how to use it:

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  1. Tap the plus sign on the bottom of the home screen.
  2. Swipe to the LIVE option in the bottom navigation.
  3. Pick an image and write a quick, enticing title.
  4. Press GO LIVE.

TikTok go live

Source: TikTok

How to go live on Twitch

Twitch is unlike other social platforms in that it was built specifically for streaming, which means it’s a must for creators who want to break into live content.

This also means that going live on the platform is relatively straightforward.

If you want to stream videos of yourself or your surroundings, follow the instructions for how to go live IRL. If you want to stream yourself playing a video game, follow the instructions for how to stream games.

How to stream on Twitch in IRL:

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  1. Tap the Create button on the top of the home screen.
  2. Tap the Go live button on the bottom right.
  3. Select either Stream games or Stream IRL, depending on the kind of content you’re streaming.
  4. Write a description for your stream and select your category.
  5. Tap Start Stream.

How to stream games on Twitch:

  1. Tap the Create button on the top of the home screen.
  2. Tap the Go Live button on the bottom right.
  3. Tap Stream games.
  4. Select your game from the list.
  5. Tap edit stream info to add a title, category, tags, language, and stream markers.
  6. Adjust the volume and VOD settings.
  7. Tap the Go live button.

How to stream on Twitch from desktop

  1. Head to your creator dashboard.
  2. Download Twitch Studio.
  3. Configure Twitch Studio and grant access to your device’s microphone and camera.
  4. From the home screen, click Share stream.
  5. Click Edit stream info to add a title, category, tags, and language.
  6. Click Start stream.

Twitch live stream

Source: Twitch

1. Leverage live analytics

As with any other kind of social media post, you’ll want to pay close attention to your analytics after you’ve done a few lives. Make sure you’re posting at the right time to maximize views and engagement. Shameless plug: Hootsuite will tell you the best time to post based on when your followers are the most active.

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Make note of views, watch time, average view duration, engagement rate, and reach.

2. Promote your big moment

People might happen to catch your video as you press that “go live” button. Letting your audience know it’s coming up is only going to boost those numbers. When you schedule your social media posts, be sure to include information about upcoming lives.

Start a countdown on your various social platforms to hype up the moment: your Twitter crew might need a nudge to migrate over to Youtube when it’s your time to shine.

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social media livestream promotion

3. Make it timely

Your live video is competing for attention with the millions of other videos already out there. Having a timely “why now” hook will give your video an urgency more evergreen content will lack—like a one-night-only event (a holiday concert!), a seasonal special (an interview with Santa!) or an exclusive scoop (Santa’s dropping an album!).

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Get the free guide right now!

4. Create a dream team

Sharing a live broadcast with another influencer or expert in your field is one way to attract attention.

Whether it’s an interview with someone you admire or a more collaborative production, it’s a great way to leverage your guest’s audience into your own new followers. Sharing is caring, right?

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5. Keep the context clear

The hope is that viewers will be watching from the very beginning, but the reality (or maybe magic?) of live streaming is that your audience will come and go throughout the broadcast.

Make sure it’s clear what they’re tuning into by occasionally reiterating the topic. A watermark, text or logo that clarifies who is on screen and what’s going on can be helpful, too.

6. Engage with your audience in the moment

The whole reason you’re doing your video live is to connect with your viewers, right? So make sure they know they’re a part of the show.

Say hello to commenters, welcome new viewers who are just joining the stream and answer questions on the fly if you can.

7. Have a roadmap

The beauty of a live stream is that anything can happen. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a goal of what you want to happen.

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Financial expert Josh Brown may have been responding to viewers live on Twitter, but the Q&A format gave the off-the-cuff show some structure.

Jot down your key points or segments before you go live to keep yourself on topic. Think of it as less of a script, more of a road map.

8. Optimize your setup

While on-the-fly filming definitely has its charm, videos that are inaudible or poorly lit can be a struggle to stick with.

Set yourself up for success by doing a sound check before you go live. Seeking out bright, natural light whenever possible, and using a tripod if a shaky arm is too distracting. (Why do they make those phones so heavy?)

Promote your live videos in advance with Hootsuite, an easy-to-use dashboard that lets you schedule posts to all the major social networks from one place. Then, engage with new followers and track your success. Try it for free.

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How This Underwear Brand Won with an Anti-Black-Friday Social Campaign

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Ah, Black Friday.

It’s no surprise that the official kick-off day for the holiday shopping season is responsible for a massive annual surge in consumer spending, reaching $8.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021. But while this is a yearly slam-dunk for big box retailers, Black Friday can bring more challenges than benefits for small businesses.

Slashing prices to make sales cuts straight into their bottom line — and with limited marketing budgets and resources, competing with big brands takes courage, insight, and creativity. That’s why the small businesses that stand out during the holiday season are the ones that connect with the unique wants and needs of their customers, get bold with their marketing strategies, and create thumb-stopping content that’s sure to get people talking.

Last year, UK-based sustainable underwear brand and Hootsuite customer Pantee won Black Friday with a campaign that broke convention and raised awareness of unsustainable impulse buying. We interviewed Pantee’s founders, sisters Amanda and Katie McCourt, to learn how they did it, what the results were, and what they’ve learned for future campaigns.

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What is Pantee?

Pantee is an underwear brand making a difference: their products are made using “deadstock” fabrics, or unsold inventory that would otherwise end up in landfills. Designed by women, for women and the planet, Pantee’s products are created with comfort and style in mind, while helping prevent unused garments from going to waste.

@pantee_uk We launched a business in lockdown! Here’s how we did it ✨🩲 #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown ♬ Bubble – Official Sound Studio

For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or trend to jump on; the brand was founded with this purpose at its core. The idea came to life in a thrift store in 2019, when Amanda was browsing second-hand clothing stores in London and was blown away by the number of brand-new t-shirts lining the shelves, tags still on them.

“It was crazy to me how many people had given away clothes before even wearing them once,” says Amanda. “It got me thinking: If this is how many discarded clothes we can see, how much is there that we can’t see? Once I started researching, I knew that we could make a difference. It’s very difficult to get buying right in the fashion industry with trends and shopping cycles changing so frequently, and as a result, many companies overproduce. I became fixated on the idea of what we could do with deadstock clothing.”

The short answer to Amanda’s question on how much waste we can’t see: a lot. The fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste each year, and approximately 30% of clothes made are never even sold.

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With a bold passion to make a difference for our planet—and after realizing that the soft cotton t-shirt fabric everyone loves would lend itself well to underwear and wireless bras—Amanda and Katie named the business Pantee (an abridged version of “pants made from deadstock tees”) and got to work bringing the concept to life.

@pantee_uk Upcycling never felt so good ♻️ link in bio to learn more about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion ♬ luxurious – milo

Since initially launching their Kickstarter in November 2020 (where they raised £11,000) and Shopify site in February 2021, Pantee has grown into a successful sustainable startup—upcycling more than 1,500 kgs of deadstock fabric in its first 1.5 years alone. Pantee also plants one tree for every order placed (resulting in over 1,500 trees planted!) and is a proud member of 1% For the Planet.

Flipping the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ campaign

Leading up to the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had one thing on their minds: overconsumption. Already an issue in the fashion industry during the regular season, Black Friday was sure to encourage consumers to make unnecessary purchases—many of which would go unused and end up back on shelves or, worse, in landfills.

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So, while many small businesses grappled with whether or not to run sales and promotions, Pantee asked a different question: how could they create a successful campaign while staying true to their mission?

  • The solution: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an initiative encouraging consumers to rethink their purchases and avoid impulse buying.
  • The message: Stop and think before you buy. Is it something you love? Is it something you need? If so, go ahead— buy and enjoy your new purchase. But if you weren’t already going to make that purchase, consider going without.

“Black Friday is the biggest impulse buying day of the year, and people get easily sucked into sales,” says Katie. “But the mentality should be: Is it really a bargain if you weren’t going to spend the money originally? Our campaign stance was not to encourage impulse buying, and we saw a lot of engagement because of the shared values and common ground it established with our audience.”

“There is so much overconsumption on Black Friday,” adds Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t necessarily don’t make a purchase, but if you’re going to, buy something you’ve wanted for a really long time.”

Pantee didn’t stop there. To bring the campaign to life and put their words into action, the retailer turned off their website to all but their engaged customers, who were only able to access the website through a code they sent to their existing mailing list.

The results

The campaign was an overwhelming success, leading to a significant increase in sales, social engagement and reach, brand awareness and new customer acquisition.

  • Engagement on social media doubled throughout the campaign (from 4 to 8%), and organic social impressions reached over 4x the total followers at the time.
  • The campaign organically increased web traffic by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 without any supported paid spend.
  • Pantee’s mailing list grew by 33% in the week leading up to Black Friday.
  • The success of the social campaign extended far beyond Pantee’s Instagram, with the initiative featured in top-tier press including The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Daily Mail, and more.
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“While we didn’t run a sale or any promotions last year, Black Friday was the biggest sales day of the year,” says Katie. “By simply taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s worth of web traffic in a matter of hours and had loads of people signing up for our email list. We saw a ton of new, first-time customers just because they valued what we were doing.”

“Brands often think that you can have values, but they won’t convert to sales,” adds Amanda. “But we think that’s changing—and this campaign is a great example of that.”

Pantee is now launching the campaign for the second year and looking forward to even more impressive results.

4 lessons learned from one unconventional campaign

Whether you’re brainstorming future creative campaigns, building out next quarter’s social marketing strategy or already getting started on planning for next year’s holiday season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday campaign holds great lessons that every marketer should keep top of mind. We asked Amanda and Katie for their top four recommendations—here’s what they said.

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1. Hone in on your purpose

“We talk a lot about our values as a brand,” says Katie. “And time and time again, we’ve seen that if we talk about an issue, our values, or something with substance behind it, our engagement is so much higher. That’s what people want to see: something that gets them thinking.”

Amanda adds: “I think at one point, we lost our way a bit and became more product and sales heavy on our social channels, and we noticed that we weren’t getting the same reach. Pushing product works through email marketing and other areas of the business, but with social, we’ve seen a bigger opportunity to educate our audience and share useful information that they can walk away with.”

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2. An engaged community is everything

“There’s a huge difference between growing a following and growing a following that also has engagement,” explains Katie.” When it comes to social, what we’ve found is that people who engaged with us early on have become advocates for our brand. We see so much value in community and engaging with our customers beyond getting the sale. Many brands see social as a platform to get their message out, but for us, it’s a two-way street.”

3. Don’t be afraid to be bold

“We learned quite early on with our social that the highest peaks of engagement happened when we took a stand for something,” says Katie. “We’ve always been quite mission driven, but we like to have fun with it and not be too preachy. When we’ve launched campaigns with our sustainability mission at the forefront, the engagement has been through the roof.”

4. Remember that there’s more to social than what you’re posting

“Social media isn’t just about what you post, it’s about how you engage with other accounts and make people feel,” explains Amanda. “Spending time on your social platforms connecting with others, building relationships and establishing an engaged community is invaluable. We use our social channels for two-way conversations with both customers and our community – there is so much you can learn when you talk with them instead of at them.”

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If there’s one takeaway that rises above all the others, it’s that social is one of the most powerful tools that brands can use to ignite their business, turning bystanders into loyal brand advocates, awareness into sales, and your mission into positive, tangible change. Just ask Pantee.

Find out about the biggest trends shaping social media so you can stay ahead of the game—and make sure your next social campaign is a winner. 

Discover the Trends

Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.

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How To Find and Use Business-Friendly TikTok Sounds

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TikTok is many things to many, many people — a daily vlog, a place to get news and an incredibly popular search engine. Still, it’s important to remember that TikTok started as a place for sounds.

Yes, before it was the all-consuming social media beast it is today, TikTok was mostly known for music. In fact, it merged with a lip-synching service called Musical.ly in 2018 to become the app we know and love today.

Whether it’s a song, a movie clip, a lip-synch or something else, sounds make TikTok special. In fact, 88% of users say sound is vital to the TikTok experience.

Whether you’re promoting your personal page or your business profile, mastering TikTok sounds is always in your best interest.

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Read our handy guide to learn how to find sounds on TikTok that work for your business.

Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.

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How to find trending sounds on TikTok

In a way, TikTok sounds work like hashtags do on other social media apps. Add a trending TikTok sound to your video, and you’ll enter into a larger conversation happening around that sound.

If you choose the right sound and do something special with it, you could make a lot of waves. Here’s how to find TikTok sounds that will click with your audience.

Your own FYP

The beauty of trending content on TikTok is that it’s easily presented to you right on your For You Page. Unless you’ve royally messed up your algorithm with weird browsing habits, chances are you’ll have viral content on your FYP when you open the app.

And if you notice a sound that’s been used more than once on a cursory scroll, you might have a trending sound on your hands. Tap on the song (at the bottom right) and take a look at what else is happening.

A video on TikTok's FYP with an arrow indicating the sound in the bottom right

The song’s landing page allows you to add the song to your favorites, share with friends, or use the audio right away.

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But this is also a great place to see if an audio trend has really gone mainstream. Check out how many other videos on TikTok use that sound and you’ll have a pretty good sense of whether a song is truly viral.

A TikTok sound's landing page with an arrow indicating the number of times a song has been used in a TikTok

Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” has been used in 1.5 million TikToks, so it’s safe to say that it’s a pretty popular audio.

TikTok’s search bar

In addition to its timeline, TikTok has a powerful search function. You can find plenty of great trending content just by hitting the search bar. Even something as obvious as “viral sounds” will bring up, well, plenty of viral sounds.

You can hit the Hashtags tab of the search results for another set of popular options. Users often hijack trending songs with content unrelated to the trend, but you should strike gold without too much effort.

The hashtags tab on TikTok's search

TikTok’s sound library

It’s obvious, for sure, but still worth noting that the best place to find trending TikTok sounds is, well, the TikTok sound library.

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The sound tab makes it easy to find a list of recommended playlists with trending sounds. Be sure to look at the “Featured” and “TikTok Viral” playlists for more inspiration.

The sound tab on TikTok's search allows you to search by song, artist, or curated playlists

TikTok’s Creative Center

TikTok has made it even easier than searching for sounds yourself, however, thanks to their Creative Center.

This resource lets you see real-time stats about specific songs and sounds on the app. You can see how well a sound is doing based on specific regions too. This is super helpful if you’re targeting a part of the world that you’re not currently in.

@tiktokforbusinesssea 💥 Visit TikTok Creative Center at our bio for all the inspo you need to bring your #creative A-game. #tiktokforbusiness #tiktoktips ♬ original sound – TikTok for Business SEA

You can view limited info on the Creative Center without logging in, but you’ll need to create a free TikTok Business Account if you want to dive deeper.

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External TikTok trackers

You don’t have to stay within TikTok to find the best trending sounds.

In fact, a small cottage industry of third-party trackers has emerged, and sites like TokChart and TokBoard have become super helpful.

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You can use these sites to view stats like which TikTok songs are charting and where. You can even see which hashtags are associated with the song.

Music industry resources

If a song is trending on TikTok, it’s likely trending worldwide too. TikTok is inherently tied to the modern music industry, so it’s wise to keep an eye on trends at large. If a song is incredibly popular on Spotify or YouTube, it will likely do well on TikTok too.

You can even put on your music industry hat and start watching the Billboard Hot 100 chart to see which songs might be future trends. You could even follow Billboard on TikTok.

@billboard Here’s a breakdown of @Taylor Swift’s big week on the Billboard #Hot100. 💯 #taylorswift #billboard #swifties #midnights #theerastour #antihero #taylornation #billboardcharts #tsmidnights #tsmidnightsts #tsmidnightsalbum ♬ smiles & sunsets – ultmt.

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How to use TikTok sounds as a brand

You’ve learned how to find trending songs, so now all you have to do is add a new Taylor Swift song to your latest video, right? That’s technically the case for influencers, but it’s not so straightforward for business accounts.

Business accounts do not have access to major pop songs — or really, songs by any well-known artists. That’s because potential copyright issues could arise if they use them in an ad.

If your business account tries to use a copyrighted sound, you’ll see the following disclaimer:

The TikTok landing page for the Beyonce song CUFF IT, showing the song is not licensed for commercial use

Fortunately, there are still plenty of options for using TikTok sounds as a brand.

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Here are some options for what you can do.

Use royalty-free audio

TikTok feels your pain and knows you wish you could put Blink-182 on your ad. But they’ve done the next best thing and created a Commercial Music Library full of royalty-free audio.

The home screen for TikTok's Commercial Sound Library

There are over 150,000 pre-cleared tracks from just about any genre. You won’t have any shortage of options that are suitable for your content.

You can search for songs by genre, hashtag, mood or song title, and there are even playlists you can browse for inspo. It’s an easy solution for branded content.

@nfl that fake out tho 😮‍💨 @49ers #rayraymccloud #sanfrancisco ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat

The track “Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Vira” by WZ Beat is an example of a royalty-free sound that has gone superviral on the app.

Work with Sound Partners

If your marketing budget has room for audio production, consider using TikTok’s in-house sound marketing partners. Last year, TikTok expanded its Marketing Partner Program to include Sound Partners.

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The program now boasts offerings from international music companies like Butter, 411 Music Group, Sonhouse, AEYL MUSIC and many, many more.

See also  Twitter Ads for Beginners: The 2022 Guide

The home screen for TikTok's Sound Partners program

The cost will vary depending on the scope of your campaign. Some of the production houses also offer subscription services in addition to per-project fees. You could even work with them to strategize the sounds of your entire brand TikTok page.

Make your own sounds

If you’d rather not use some stock music as your audio track, there are plenty of other options available to you if you opt to make your own sounds. Depending on how ambitious you feel, they can be as complicated or simple as you want.

For one thing, you could make or hire someone to make original music for your TikTok page. That could look like messing around in Garageband or collaborating with an audio composer and musician.

This option isn’t necessarily ideal if you have no musical knowledge whatsoever, but it could pay off in major ways. After all, a branded audio sting or TikTok-ready jingle could travel far if other users want to use it in their videos.

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That last point is also why you could do just as well to create an official sound that is just, well, you talking. If you say something memorable enough that others will want to quote, you might find your sound being reused in other videos.

If you’ve named the sound and included mention of your brand somewhere, that could pay off for your project in the long run.

@elfyeah Poof! 💨 Poreless putty can make anything disappear! Show us your #elfvanishingact ✨ @rominagafur #porelessputty #elfyeah #elfcosmetics ♬ Vanishing Act e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer – elfyeah

The cosmetic brand e.l.f. works with agencies to create original songs that go viral and launch TikTok trends.

Ask for user-generated audio

If you’ve had some luck with Duets or noticed you’ve developed a bit of a following on TikTok, you could straight up request user-generated content from your fanbase. Framed correctly, a user-generated campaign could pay off very well.

Think of ways your specific demographic would want to participate in your campaign. You can try asking for a testimonial or tutorial about your product or even something more creative like a joke or a jingle. If it applies to you, you could encourage fans to react to your work or have them come up with a comedy sketch. You could even incorporate the user-generated content into a contest of some kind.

Another great way to inspire user-generated content is to encourage Duets. If your branded video is the kind of thing that users will want to collaborate with, it will likely make some waves throughout TikTok. Think about what kind of Duet someone might want to create with your content and go from there.

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@yoleendadong #duet with @vessi wow no more wet socks pretty cool kinda freaky deaky ✨ #nomorewetsocks #vessi #waterproof #waterproofshoes #ketchup ♬ December (April Remix) – The Young Ebenezers

The shoe company Vessi encourages Duets with contests, call-outs and, well, extremely weird videos that are begging for live reactions.

If you post anything made by someone else, you should always credit them in the caption. This will keep you safe from any issues should the users choose to copyright their audio later on.

You should also avoid reposting audio that includes copyrighted music, even if it’s in the background.

See also  Instagram Shopping 101: A Step-by-Step Guide for Marketers

Obtain a licence

Okay, we get it: you absolutely need to use a Carly Rae Jepsen song in your TikTok brand campaign. There’s simply no replacement for her uniquely crafted, emotive pop music.

In that case, you could license a song to use in your video. This might get expensive, but it is technically possible. Start by seeking legal advice from a copyright or music licensing lawyer — and let us know how it goes!

Frequently asked questions about TikTok Sounds

Still confused? Here’s a breakdown of some frequently asked questions about TikTok Sounds.

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Can businesses use TikTok sounds?

Yes. Businesses can use TikTok sounds in their videos so long as they are cleared for commercial use. The best ways to incorporate sounds into business posts are to use TikTok’s pre-cleared commercial audio, make your own original sounds or use user-generated content (and credit the creators).

What does “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use” mean?

If you receive this error, it most likely means that you are trying to access a “mainstream” song while using a business account on TikTok.

TikTok users with personal accounts can use any sound they like — including the world’s most popular pop songs — but TikTok does not allow businesses to use mainstream music in their videos.

They implemented this policy in 2020, at which point they introduced the royalty-free music available in their Commercial Music Library.

@timmycobbsfitness #moda #problemsolved #fyp #business ♬ Meet Me At Our Spot – THE ANXIETY & WILLOW & Tyler Cole

How do you access TikTok’s commercial music library?

TikTok’s commercial sound library is available on both the app and your desktop browser.

If you’re using the app:

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  • Open the camera and tap Add sound
  • Then tap Sounds and search Commercial sounds.

TikTok's sound search showing the commercial sound library

This will bring you to the Commercial Music Library, where you can browse your options.

TikTok's Commercial Sound Library

How do you download TikTok sounds?

There’s no direct way to download a sound from TikTok onto your device.

If you want to save your favorite sound on TikTok, tap the bookmark icon to add a sound to your favorites. This will save it within the app, so you can easily use it later.

How to save a TikTok sound for later: tap the bookmark icon or Add to favorites

If you really want a TikTok sound for use outside of the app, you could consider screen recording or downloading a TikTok video with a third-party app or website.

How do you find saved sounds on TikTok?

Once you’ve added a TikTok sound to your favorites, it’s as easy as tapping the Favorites tab when you’re making a post.

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.The popup that appears when you've successfully added a TikTok sound to your favorites

When you add sound to a new TikTok, just tap the Favorites tab. All of your previously saved sounds will show up under that banner.

Where to find saved sound on TikTok

Can you add more than one sound to a TikTok?

You can’t add multiple sounds to the same TikTok within the app. If you’re looking to stitch together more than one sound, you’ll have to use a third-party video editor to create your video, then upload it to the app.

If you do this, however, you will likely miss out on having your video associated with that particular sound in TikTok’s database.

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What Is a UGC Creator? Follow These 5 Steps To Become One

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Have you ever dreamed about becoming an influencer and getting paid to create social media content without needing a big audience? Well, a new wave of people is doing just that: UGC creators.

If you’ve spent time on TikTok or Instagram in the last 6-12 months, chances are you’ve come across UGC creators. Even if you don’t recognize the term, you’ve probably seen content made by these creators on your favorite brands’ accounts.

By the end of this guide, you’ll know the exact steps needed to become a UGC content creator.

Bonus: Unlock our free, customizable pitch deck template to successfully reach out to brands and lock down the influencer partnership of your dreams.

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What is a UGC creator?

A UGC creator is someone who creates sponsored content that appears authentic but is designed to showcase a specific business or product.

The most common format for UGC creators is video, especially on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Creators usually film and narrate the content from their perspective, which gives it an authentic feel.

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The main difference between UGC creators and influencers is that UGC creators create and deliver to businesses without the obligation to post it on their channels (although some UGC deals may add this for an extra fee). With influencers, the company usually pays for both content and exposure to the influencer’s audiences.

@itstarachristina

Replying to @ROY KANYI What is UGC? Quick summary of what UGC content is, what UGC content creators do, and how you can become a UGC creator! #ugccreator #whatisugc #ugc #whatisugc? #ukugc #ukugccreator #ugccreatoruk #startugc #ugchelp #ugctips2022

♬ original sound – TaraChristina🍒Content Creator

UGC content also tends to appear less polished and professional than influencer content, which helps to preserve the authenticity of UGC.

Why is UGC so valuable?

While being a UGC creator is a new concept, traditional user-generated content (UGC) is not. It’s become a proven tool in social media strategies for building communities, increasing brand awareness, and driving sales.

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Despite the name, UGC creators are not creating traditional organic UGC. Normally, UGC is created organically by customers in the form of photos, videos, testimonials, product reviews, and blog posts and shared spontaneously. Businesses can choose to re-share a customer’s UGC, but no payment or contracts are involved.

UGC creators create content that emulates traditional UGC, using the same unpolished and authentic filming style that an everyday creator might use when sharing a review of their favorite product.

As driving awareness and sales are valuable results for any business, it’s no surprise that brands are willing to pay UGC creators. Understanding the reasons why can help you better pitch yourself for UGC jobs.

It feels authentic

Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic versus content created by brands. UGC is the social media equivalent of product reviews and word-of-mouth.

User-created content will always have an organic feel that can’t be matched by brands, no matter how “cool” they are. As such, UGC tends to be more eye-catching and engaging, which is invaluable to brands.

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@rebel.socials

✨You always ask to post UGC examples for new beginners or UGC video examples with no voice. This is an organic UGC example, aesthetic/ Asmr skin care. What is UGC? It stands for user generated content. If you wondering how to become a UGC creator, I post best content creator tips and tricks on my page. #ugcvideoexample #ugcvideoexamples #wheretofindbranddeals #howtougc #ugcforbeginners #ugcfornewbies #ugcnewbie #ugcnewbies #howtoworkwithbrands #skincareugc #ugcskincare #ugccreators #howtoworkwithbrands

♬ original sound – 🤓Kate // Creator coach

It’s cheaper than influencer content

When working with influencers, brands need to pay for both the content and the posts on the influencer’s channels. The more reach and engagement an influencer has, the more a brand has to pay — which can be in the millions for celebrities!

With UGC content, brands only need to pay for the content itself, which often can be the same quality (or better) than the content from influencers. It also gives them complete control over the distribution and positioning of the content.

It can influence purchase decisions

Many brands pay to get UGC to use in social media ads because it influences purchase decisions. UGC acts as social proof, showing that real people are buying and using a product, which can drive more sales.

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Moreover, UGC doesn’t look like a blatant ad, which can make it more engaging when used in ad campaigns.

It’s faster than producing content from scratch

By sourcing content from UGC creators, a brand can get way more pieces than if it created them in-house. Brands can distribute a UGC brief to multiple creators, who will produce and deliver the content back to the brand by the same deadline.

Here are 6 more reasons why UGC is so important for businesses.

How to become a UGC creator

Anyone with a decent smartphone or camera can become a UGC creator. You don’t need a bunch of followers or professional video editing skills.

That’s the beauty of UGC — the more authentic and natural the content is, the better.

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@itstarachristina

The absolute beauty that UGC content creation is 🧁 #ugc #whatisugc #ugccontentcreator #becomeaugccreator #ugccreatorlife #ugccreatoruk #ukugccreator #ukugc #ugccontentcreation #ugccreatorhelp #ugccreator2022

♬ original sound – TaraChristina🍒Content Creator

We’ve put together five steps to get you started as a UGC creator.

Step 1: Figure out your filming setup

You can shoot UGC almost anywhere — at home, outside, or in a store (as long as there isn’t too much background noise). Many UGC creators create content in the comforts of their homes, where they can perfect their filming setup.

In terms of equipment, you only need a phone with a decent camera and a tripod to stabilize your phone for product shots.

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Some optional upgrades:

  • Ring light. Useful for closeups of your face and filming at night or in darker rooms.
  • Lavalier mic. Plugs into your phone’s audio jack and improves the quality of your recorded audio. Alternatively, you can also use the mic on a pair of wired headphones.
  • Backdrops. You can get creative here – paper, fabric, and construction materials all can serve as backdrops.
  • Props. Varies depending on the product, but find props that match the lifestyle or use cases of the product you’re showcasing.
@haleybauler

Episode 1 | WFH with me 📸💕 #ugccreator #ugccontentcreator #ugctips #ugcwork #ugchowto #sahmlife #wfhlife #sahmwfhm #contentcreators #contentcreatortips #wfh #momsoftiktok #ugccommunity

♬ Law – Yo Gotti

@jenahfir

The 5 things every ugc creator or content creator should have (aka my ugc starter kit). PS: they all count as a business expense so feel free to splurge on better quality items (I’m not a CPA, please consult an actual tax professional for advice 🤪) #ugcstarterkit #ugcmusthaves #contentcreatormusthaves #contentcreatorbusiness #ugccreatorsoftiktok #ugctipsforbeginners

♬ original sound – agatha apologist

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Pro tip: Don’t let the quality of your equipment or filming setup hold you back. Many UGC creators produce great content with just a phone, the product, and themselves. Once you get more experienced and start receiving feedback from brands, you can upgrade your equipment and setup.

Step 2: Build your UGC portfolio

Ah, the old chicken-and-egg dilemma: To create UGC content, you need products. However, brands will only send you products once you have a portfolio. So, how do you get started?

The answer: Make content for free featuring your favorite products. You don’t need permission from brands as long as you don’t portray it as a paid deal/sponsored content if you choose to post it.

There are several common types of UGC content:

  • Unboxing. Opening a new product’s packaging and revealing all the contents. You can narrate the functions of the included pieces and how to use them.
  • Review/testimonial. Giving your honest opinion on a product and how it works. UGC testimonials are different from other product reviews in that they should be short and not as in-depth, perhaps only focusing on one aspect instead of the whole product.
  • How to/use cases. Demonstrating how you use the product. These can be more lifestyle-focused videos, showing how you naturally use the product during your daily life, or more tutorial-style videos.

Pro tip: When you’re just starting your portfolio, we suggest focusing on videos, as this is the most common format for UGC requests. Aim to have at least one example from all UGC types above.

@maritza.artola

Replying to @theresatetty #CapCut here’s what my what ugc portfolio looks like! Your portfolio can make the biggest difference when it comes getting ugc gigs! Things that will help with creating your portfolio: ✨️ Knowing what to include in your ugc portfolio ✨️ Including high quality (not just talking about aesthetics) ugc examples ✨️ Knowing how to optimize your portfolio so you’re seen as a professional Hope that helps! #FomotionalFinds #CapCut #ugccreator #ugcportfolio

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♬ Rainbow City – Aves

Step 3: Practice your editing skills

Once you’ve recorded your clip(s), the next step is to edit them. The typical length for UGC videos is 15-60 seconds.

Editing videos can be tricky to learn, but luckily there are many apps to make it easier. Two of the most popular apps are CapCut and InShot. The in-app editors within TikTok and Instagram are also quite user-friendly and have many of the same features as third-party apps.

If you’re creating UGC for TikTok, here are 15 tips on how to edit your videos.

Pro tip: Practice, practice, practice! There is no shortcut to becoming good at video editing. The more you get used to the tools, the quicker you’ll get. We recommend incorporating TikTok trends into your UGC videos to make them more engaging.

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Check out these clips for editing inspiration:

@theugcgirly

Another oldie, but goody for my September UGC Example Challenge! Can you tell I love @pacificabeauty products? #ugc #ugccontentcreator #ugccreators #ugcexamplevideo

♬ original sound – erin • UGC creator

@shanmy_c

Example of a UGC video I created for my portfolio! 🙈#ugc #ugccreator #ugcconcept #ugccreators #ugcportfolio #ugcexample #ugcexamples #ugccommunity #contentcreator #makeup #skincare

♬ Stunnin’ (feat. Harm Franklin) – Curtis Waters

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@alliemcguffin

the best glow you could ask for @btan.rocks available now @ultabeauty #selftanner #glowyskin #protectyourskin #dailyspf #girlygirlaesthetic

♬ original sound – carneyval

Step 4: Post your UGC (optional)

This step is optional, as posting your content isn’t generally required as part of UGC contracts. However, it is an excellent way to practice and get feedback on how to improve your content. Even with a small audience, you can learn what works and what doesn’t work by checking the analytics for your posts.

Posting your UGC on your account also allows brands to see your content, after which they may reach out to you to offer UGC gigs.

Pro tips: If you want to increase the chances of brands discovering your UGC, don’t use hashtags like #UGC or #UGCcreator — these will signal the algorithm to serve your content to other UGC creators. Instead, use industry- and product-related hashtags.

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Secondly, add your email (or another way to contact you) to your bio to make it easy for brands to reach out to you.

@zoewu_

How to get inbound leads as a UGC creator #ugc #ugccreator #ugccontentcreator

♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) – 山口夕依

Step 5: Get paid

Now you’re ready for the next stage: Getting paid for your UGC! Once you have a portfolio, you can start applying for UGC gigs. We know this is easier said than done, so we’ve expanded our tips into a whole section below.

4 tips for getting paid as a UGC creator

1. Use platforms to find brand deals

With UGC’s rise, there are new platforms dedicated to facilitating UGC brand deals. Some post opportunities for creators to apply, while others require you to create a listing for your content creation services.

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Here are some platforms to search for UGC opportunities:

@rebel.socials

✨Content creators tips for beginners. If you’ve been searching for brands that work with small creators and how to make money as a content creator on Titkok, start with these apps. Super easy to apply, you don’t have to search for brands that work for creators, or brands contact info. Just apply! #howtomakemoneyontiktok #howtoworkwithbrands #brandsthatworkwithsmallcreators #sahmjobs #sahmlife #momprenuer #howtougc #ugcpitchtips #contentcreatortips #ugcforbeginners #ugcfornewbies #ugcnewbies #ugcnewbie #brandsthatworkwithmicroinfluencers #beginnercontentcreator

♬ GASLIGHT – INJI

2. Network with brands and business owners

If you want to be more proactive and work with specific brands, then your best bet is to network via platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, and TikTok.

You can use these platforms for networking in several ways:

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  • Personal branding. Post updates on your account sharing your journey as a UGC creator, and add a CTA for brands to contact you for UGC
  • Cold outreach. Think about brands you genuinely like and for which you would enjoy creating content, and reach out to folks who work at those companies

Pro tip: Smaller companies like startups and small businesses just starting to build their social media presence are more likely to need UGC.

3. Perfect your pitch

Pitching yourself to a brand for a UGC opportunity is like applying for a job. As more and more people become UGC creators, it’ll become more competitive. That means you need to make your pitch stand out.

Keep your pitches focused on the brand (not yourself) and the value you’ll provide for them through your UGC.

Pro tip: Tailor your pitch for each opportunity you apply to. In your portfolio, curate examples that are relevant to each brand’s industry and will appeal to that brand’s target audience.

@rebel.socials

✅How to pitch UGC content in 2022? Until you fix your brand outreach strategy you will not be able to scale as a content creator. No responses from brands = no brand deals = no money. Everyone keep searching where to find brands to work with, or best platform to pitch UGC, but until you fix your pitching strategy no need to even search for those brands. #howtoworkwithbrands #wheretofindbranddeals #ugcnewbie #ugcnewbie #howtougc #ugcpitchtips #ugcguide #contentcreatortips

♬ Spooky, quiet, scary atmosphere piano songs – Skittlegirl Sound

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4. Know your worth

As with influencer marketing, payment rates for UGC creation vary widely. The brand or platform usually sets the rate for brand deals. Nonetheless, staying up-to-date with market rates will empower you to choose deals that pay fairly. This benefits you and ensures equitable compensation for other UGC creators.

Pro tip: Follow UGC creators on TikTok and Instagram, as they often post content sharing behind-the-scenes details on how they negotiate brand deals and how much they get paid.

@itstarachristina

Replying to @lauracaitlinv How to set your prices as a UGC Content Creator as a beginner! #ugccontentcreator #ugccreatortips #ugccreatoruk #ugcforbeginners #ugcforbrands #itstarachristina #ugcprices

♬ original sound – TaraChristina🍒Content Creator

Frequently asked questions about UGC creators

How many followers do I need to get paid as a UGC creator?

You don’t need a certain number of followers to become a UGC creator. Many UGC brand deals are content-only, meaning you only have to create and deliver content, with no requirement to post it on your own channels.

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How do I find brands to work with?

The easiest way to know if a brand is looking for UGC creators is to use platforms that curate UGC brand deals. Brands may also advertise call-outs for UGC creators in their feed posts or Stories. You can also DM brands with your pitch in case they’re open to working with UGC creators.

How do I create a UGC portfolio?

You can use a free tool like Canva or Google Slides to create your portfolio. If you need help getting started, check out our free brand pitch deck template.

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