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UGC Creator vs. Influencer - What's the Difference?

Mar 18, 2024
(updated: Mar 13, 2024)
Max 5 min read

So, you've decided to dip your toes into the world of online influence, but you're stuck at the crossroads of UGC vs. influencer.

Don't worry, because in this article, we'll unravel the mystery behind these two paths and help you figure out which one suits you best.

What Are UGC Creators?

Think about the last time you scrolled through your social media feed and stumbled upon a photo, video, or review that wasn't from a celebrity or a brand. That's UGC in action. These creators capture moments, share experiences, and contribute to the digital tapestry we weave daily.

According to the numbers, a whopping 79% of people say that User-Generated Content (UGC) seriously sways their decisions when it comes to buying stuff. And get this – consumers find UGC about 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when they're trying to make up their minds about a purchase. So, if you're all about connecting with people, sharing genuine experiences, and being the voice of the masses, UGC creation might just be your calling.

What Are Influencers?

Influencers are individuals who have amassed a following on social media platforms, and their recommendations and opinions hold significant sway over their audience. These folks are trendsetters, style icons, and sometimes even the virtual best friends we turn to for advice.

Unlike UGC creators, influencers often collaborate with brands, creating sponsored content that seamlessly integrates into their feed. They're the face of marketing campaigns, promoting products and services to their engaged followers. While UGC creators thrive on authenticity, influencers thrive on building a personal brand and leveraging their influence for partnerships.

4 Key Differences Between UGC Creators and Influencers

Now that we've defined both UGC creators and influencers, let's highlight the nuanced differences that shape their respective roles.

1. Authenticity vs. professionalism

UGC Creators:

At the core of UGC creation lies an unwavering commitment to authenticity. UGC creators serve as the authentic storytellers of the digital era, sharing not just content but genuine experiences, unfiltered opinions, and raw moments from their lives.


On the flip side, influencers engage in the art of crafting a curated persona. Blending facets of their personal and public lives, they meticulously construct a unique brand image that resonates with their target audience. This curated persona becomes a carefully crafted narrative, allowing influencers to present an aspirational version of themselves, creating a compelling brand identity that aligns with their niche and resonates with followers.

2. Connection vs. influence

UGC Creators:

UGC creators tread the path of organic expression. Their content is a canvas painted with personal experiences and emotions, untainted by commercial motives. The authenticity embedded in their creations makes UGC highly relatable and genuine, fostering a sense of trust and connection with their audience. For UGC creators, the journey is about self-expression, not promotion.


Contrastingly, with influencers, collaborations with brands and sponsored content are the norm. These partnerships seamlessly integrate into an influencer's feed, turning their digital presence into a lucrative platform for brand promotions. Influencers leverage their curated persona to create content that aligns with the ethos of partnering brands, merging commerce with creativity.

3. Organic expression vs. sponsored content

UGC Creators:

User-Generated Content has a unique power – the grassroots effect. Its strength lies in the collective efforts of numerous individuals, each contributing a piece of the puzzle. This cumulative impact allows UGC to reach a wide audience organically. The authenticity and relatability of UGC resonate with diverse demographics, creating a ripple effect as people share, comment, and engage with the content. It's a community-driven approach that taps into the network effect, expanding a brand's reach organically.


Influencers, with their dedicated and focused following, provide a targeted approach to brand exposure. Their recommendations carry significant weight within their specific market segment. Collaborating with influencers allows brands to tap into a ready-made audience that aligns with their niche. The impact is immediate and concentrated, making it an effective strategy for brands looking to make a splash in a particular industry or demographic. It's the difference between casting a wide net (UGC) and precision targeting (Influencers).

4. Content control

UGC Creators:

One trade-off with the authenticity of UGC is the limited control over the content. UGC is born from personal experiences and perspectives, making it inherently diverse and sometimes unpredictable. Brands embracing UGC must relinquish some control in exchange for the genuine, unfiltered expressions of their community. This lack of control, however, is also what makes UGC so powerful – it's a reflection of real people authentically engaging with a brand.


Influencers offer a more controlled environment for collaboration. Brands can work closely with influencers to align the content with specific marketing strategies, ensuring it adheres to brand guidelines and messaging. This level of control enables a more structured and intentional storytelling approach. From product placements to narrative arcs, brands can influence the direction of the content, ensuring it resonates with the desired brand image.

How to Determine Which Is Right for You?

Choosing between UGC creation and pursuing the path of an influencer is a decision that should align with your unique goals, preferences, and values. So ask yourself these questions to help you navigate the digital landscape and make an informed choice:

What drives you?

If the thought of sharing your genuine experiences, connecting with others on a personal level, and being a relatable voice resonates deeply with you, then UGC creation might be your sweet spot. UGC creators thrive on authenticity, using their platform to create content that reflects the essence of their lives. It's about being real, raw, and relatable, fostering a sense of community through shared experiences.

On the flip side, if you find excitement in setting trends, shaping opinions, and being a trendsetter within your chosen niche, the path of an influencer might be calling your name. Influencers are the tastemakers, the individuals whose perspectives and recommendations hold significant sway over their audience. If you aspire to lead conversations, drive change, and become a notable figure in your field, influencer status could be your avenue.

Consider what truly ignites your passion and resonates with your authentic self – this will be the driving force that propels you forward on your digital journey.

How do you want to monetize?

Monetization is a crucial aspect of the digital space, and understanding your preferred approach can significantly influence your decision. UGC creators often focus on building a community and engaging with their audience on a personal level. Their revenue streams may include avenues like sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or even direct support from their community.

On the other hand, influencers often find their financial footing through brand collaborations and sponsored content. If the idea of partnering with brands, creating sponsored posts, and actively engaging in marketing campaigns aligns with your vision, then the influencer path may be more suitable for you.

Consider your comfort level with blending commerce and creativity, and think about which approach feels more authentic to your content creation style and long-term goals.

What are your long-term goals?

Envisioning your long-term goals is crucial when deciding between UGC creation and influencer status. If you see yourself as a storyteller, contributing to a community, and maintaining a more intimate connection with your audience, UGC creation might be the path for you. UGC creators often build lasting relationships within their niche, becoming trusted voices that resonate with a dedicated audience.

On the contrary, if your dreams involve being a recognized influencer with brand partnerships, collaborations, and a larger reach, then the influencer route may be more aligned with your aspirations. Influencers often ascend to become industry leaders, wielding substantial influence and leaving a lasting impact on their niche.

Consider where you see yourself in the digital landscape in the next five, ten, or twenty years. Which path aligns with your overarching vision for your online presence?

What is your content style?

Your preferred content style is a crucial element that distinguishes UGC creators from influencers. UGC creators tend to capture real, unfiltered moments – the beauty in imperfection, the authenticity in rawness. Their content feels like a genuine conversation, where each piece is a snapshot of their unique journey.

Influencers, on the other hand, curate a more polished, brand-aligned aesthetic. Their content is meticulously crafted to maintain a cohesive and aspirational brand image. If you have a penchant for creating visually stunning, carefully curated content that aligns with a specific brand identity, the influencer path may be better suited for your creative expression.

Reflect on your artistic inclinations, the stories you want to tell, and the visual language you want to use. Which style allows you to express yourself most authentically and resonates with your audience?

How Can Indy Help?

Whether you aim to become a UGC creator or an influencer, you'll need to handle essential aspects like creating contracts, managing invoicing, and utilizing client portals to ensure efficient communication and collaboration with clients.

That's where Indy comes in! 

  • Contracts: Get ready-made contracts that protect your business and build trust with clients. Make signing easy with our digital signatures.
  • Invoices: Generate polished invoices with ease, track payment statuses, send automated follow-ups, and get paid faster with Indy's robust invoice software.
  • Client Portals: Collaborate with clients in a centralized communication hub where you can chat in real-time, share files, and keep everyone on the same page every step of the way.

Plus, get access to proposals, file storage and sharing, calendars, and more. Indy has everything you need to manage your business under one roof. Get started today for free!

A Quick Recap

Whether you find yourself drawn to the authenticity of user-generated content (UGC) or the trendsetting allure of influencer marketing, it's essential to recognize that both paths contribute uniquely to the world of online content. The decision between authenticity and influence, connection and trends, organic expression and sponsored content, and audience size versus engagement is a deeply personal one, shaped by your goals, values, and creative vision.

Ultimately, there's room for every shade of creativity. So, go ahead, and let your voice be heard – whether you're weaving tales as a UGC creator or standing in the spotlight as an influencer, the world is ready to listen and engage with your story.

Remember, the content created within these realms becomes a powerful narrative that resonates across various marketing channels. So, explore, experiment, and find your authentic voice in this dynamic space. As you create UGC content, consider creating your free account with Indy to access proposals, contracts, invoicing, and more to make running a UGC or influencer business a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What distinguishes UGC from influencer marketing in terms of content creation strategies across digital marketing channels?

The key difference lies in the content creation approach. UGC creators focus on authenticity, sharing genuine experiences and moments, while influencers, in their influencer marketing strategies, craft a curated persona to shape trends and opinions within their niche.

Influencer posts are often meticulously crafted to align with their brand image, catering to specific audiences and fostering brand loyalty. In the realm of digital marketing, where creating content is a dynamic and strategic endeavor, UGC's authenticity resonates widely, influencing purchasing decisions and building robust brand loyalty, while influencer strategies concentrate on crafting a polished persona to impact trends within their chosen niche.

How does UGC compare to influencer content in influencing marketing strategies?

UGC is considered highly influential in marketing strategies, with statistics showing that 79% of people find it impactful in their purchasing decisions. It is noted to be 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when consumers are making purchasing decisions across multiple marketing channels. This underscores the broad-reaching influence of user-generated content, demonstrating its effectiveness in resonating with audiences across various platforms and channels within the digital landscape.

How do UGC creators and influencers differ in their approaches to content monetization?

UGC creators often concentrate on building a community and engaging with their audience, utilizing revenue streams such as sponsored content, affiliate marketing, or direct support. Conversely, influencers, in their content monetization strategies, often rely on brand collaborations and sponsored content.

What role does branded content play in shaping influencer marketing strategies?

Branded content is a pivotal element in influencer marketing strategies. Influencers frequently collaborate with brands to produce seamlessly integrated branded content. This content becomes the face of marketing campaigns, effectively promoting products and services to their engaged followers.

What challenges do UGC creators face regarding content control in their marketing strategy?

UGC creators may encounter challenges in maintaining control over content due to its diverse origins from various perspectives and personal experiences. However, this lack of control is a strength, as it reflects real people authentically engaging with a brand.

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