The number of businesses promoting themselves both online and offline is constantly rising. Getting in touch with numerous brands and products, consumers don’t know who to trust anymore when making shopping decisions. This is why they turn to other users’ experiences. Statistics show that 84% of customers trust other people’s online reviews and recommendations, while 49% of them expect your business to have at least four-star ratings before they buy from you.
This is why user-generated content has gained momentum over the past few years.
Be it photos, videos, or product reviews, this form of content is not promotional. It’s not created by a brand. On the contrary, it’s what people who interact with your online retail business- your customers, employees, volunteers- talk about you.
This form of content helps you boost conversions, position yourself as a leader and, above all, build trust among your target audience.
How to generate UGC?
If people are naturally sharing UGC and tagging you, you’re golden. This is a great starting point for your UGC strategy.
However, if no one shares content related to your store yet, well, you will need to inspire them to do so. Of course, user-generated content goes beyond your users’ images and videos. It could be any form of content relevant to your target audience and business.
You need to get creative and come up with a few good reasons why your customers would even want to share this form of content. Do they want to inform their followers or give them a better sense of who they really are? Maybe they want to stay in touch with their network, support a brand they buy from or even get a free product. Whatever motivates them, you need to figure it out and use it to your advantage.
Create branded hashtags
Hashtags boost your brand visibility and help you monitor all submissions within a single feed. This is, in fact, one of the simplest ways to track and collect your UGC. Most importantly, they’re ridiculously easy to promote. You can share them on your website, thank you emails, social media bios, and even posters and billboards.
You can even create different hashtags for different campaigns and organize them according to your goals. For example, you can have one hashtag for your employees sharing behind-the-scenes photos, the other one for your customers’ stories, etc.
Organize a giveaway
This is a great way to boost your brand awareness and, at the same time, incentivize your customers for their loyalty. You can offer awesome rewards and, in return, your customers will need to post certain content (usually a photo of themselves using the product) that fits the theme. Sure, you can promote your contest manually on social networks or use social media contest tools like Shortstack, Wishpond, Woobox, or Gleam that will help you automate this process and make it simpler.
Ask customers to share UGC in your post-sale emails
Post-sale emails have become an important aspect of boosting customer experience. Apart from showing how much you value each of your customers, it is also a great way to collect customer feedback. For example, ask your new customers to review the product they’ve bought or even take a survey to share their experiences. You just need to explain what’s in it for them- a better, more personalized user experience and even an opportunity to get paid to take surveys like these. And, as we already mentioned, online reviews and relevant customer stats are also a sort of UGC.
You can also ask your customers whether they would like to share a photo or a video of themselves using the product they bought. You can further share this content on your social networks and website.
How to use the UGC you’ve collected?
Now that you’ve collected your user-generated content, you need to know how to make the most out of it. Here is how you should incorporate it into your e-commerce website and social media marketing.
Republish UGC on your social media accounts
All you need to do is find a user who tagged you in their photo or image and ask them for permission to repost this content. The next step is, of course, sharing the desired user-generated content on your social media accounts legally, with the credits to the person who submitted it. This way, you will engage wider audiences, give them creative ideas on how they can use your products, and spark new discussions.
Share UGC on your website
In the world of ecommerce, your website is an obligatory and the most critical element of your online presence. This is the first place your target audience visits when they learn about you. Precisely because of this, you need to use it to position yourself as a leader and build trust among your potential buyers.
Here are a few ideas you may like:
- Share your customers’ social content on your homepage. That’s your chance to put your products in some real-life context and help your visitors understand why your customers choose you over your competitors.
- Create a page where you would share the photos of your happy customers using your products. Tag each image with the same or related products so your customers can click on the tag, land on your product page, and make a purchase effortlessly.
- Add UGC to your products page. When they see that people like them are satisfied with your products, your potential customers will wish to buy from you, too.
UGC gives you the opportunity to engage your customers and harness the power of their voices. This form of content is organic and non-promotional, making your e-commerce site more relatable, persuasive, and trustworthy. Above all, there are no strict rules you need to consider, as your UGC strategy depends on your branding goals and target audience.
Which UGC strategies have you used so far?