The rise of social media has transformed the way people create, share, and consume content. Your customers no longer have to wait for news updates or make a special trip to the store to find out about your newest product. Instead, they can read about trending topics in their Facebook feeds, watch YouTube videos about product features, and even ask their friends on Twitter for advice on what to buy next.
For brands on the cutting edge of social marketing, this means an opportunity to reach customers directly through user-generated content (UGC) and get more online sales without spending extra money on traditional advertising. They collect user-generated content on their social channels or elsewhere, and use that content to drive traffic back to their online stores.
What is User Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content can refer to anything from online reviews or testimonials on your website, to a video contest of your customers using your products, or even the embarrassing Instagram photos of that time your amazing permanent marker wouldn't wash off of someone's face.
Why is User Generated Content So Important?
The most valuable user-generated content is authentic, and it comes from the people who are actually using your product. When you have real customers talking about their experiences with your brand, other potential customers trust that information more than they trust any advertisement or marketing materials you create yourself.
Also, UGC is a type of content that you don't have to pay for! So why wouldn't you want it? Authentic user-generated content helps build brand trust because consumers trust content created by other real users. In fact, UGC campaigns are one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness and drive online sales.
User-Generated Content Examples:
- Video: Your customers' videos can be used as part of an online campaign on your eCommerce website, then repurposed into a video ad on social media or native advertising (e.g., Instagram). You could also take snippets of these videos and post them on YouTube or Facebook Watch.
- Blog posts: The text from customer reviews can be turned into blog posts that include the original review along with commentary about the product or service being reviewed—and why customers love it so much!
- Social media posts: If you have an active presence across multiple social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, consider creating one piece of branded content that includes a photo or video taken by one of your happy customers (with their permission) and use this throughout all your social channels over time to build brand awareness while encouraging more people to get involved with your company through UGC campaigns.
Why UGC Marketing is the Future of Ecommerce
As the UGC trend continues to grow, more and more brands are starting to see the value in user-generated content marketing. UGC can be used to increase brand awareness, drive online sales, and even improve customer loyalty.
If you're not already using UGC campaigns to market your eCommerce business, now is the time!
A recent survey found that UGC is growing in popularity among consumers, with 34% of respondents saying they have purchased a product because of social media-like content they saw on a brand's page. The same study showed that 89% of respondents said they trusted brand-related content from influencers and bloggers more than traditional advertising.
UGC Campaigns Increase Word-of-Mouth Advertising at a Lower Cost Than Traditional Ads
Ecommerce UGC campaigns are a great way to get more word-of-mouth advertising. They are also significantly cheaper than traditional ads, which is why they're so popular in the marketing world.
Why? UGC campaigns tend to be more targeted and personalized than traditional ads, which makes them more engaging because they speak directly to a brand's target audience. Additionally, because the content is created by your audience members themselves (or other people with similar interests), it feels like you're not just reading or watching some random thing—it's something that was made just for you!
After consumer-generated content has been created and shared, it can be repurposed in many different formats, saving you time and money since you don't have to create new content from scratch every time you want to use your UGC to boost your eCommerce business.
What's the Difference Between UGC and Influencer Marketing?
While UGC and influencer marketing may seem similar at first glance, they are actually two very different things. UGC is created by your customers or other people with no affiliation to your brand, while influencer marketing is when you pay someone with a large social media following to promote your products or services.
While UGC can be used to increase brand awareness and drive online sales, it's important to note that UGC should not be used as a replacement for influencer marketing. In fact, the two can actually work together to create a well-rounded marketing strategy!
For example, let's say you have an eCommerce store that sells eco-friendly cleaning products. You could start a UGC campaign asking your customers to submit photos or videos of them using your products in their homes. Then, you could use these UGC pieces to create social media posts, blog articles, or even ads.
You could also partner with an influencer who has a similar target audience as you and ask them to review your products on their social media channels. This would give you, even more, UGC to work with, and it would also help to increase your brand's visibility among people who may not be familiar with your company yet.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to UGC campaigns, so get creative and see what works best for your eCommerce business!
User-Generated Content Strategy
Step 1: Identify Your Audience's Interests
Identify relevant user-generated content that your audience would be interested in. This can include comments and questions on your page, as well as posts from other accounts that they follow. It’s also a good idea to reach out to key influencers in your niche and ask them if they have any recently shared content that you could use.
Step 2: Pick a Medium
You don't have to stick to just one, but picking a medium to focus on (like user-generated videos or photos), can help make your UGC strategy more organized.
Step 3: Create User Generated Content
Create a library of content to share. You can do this by compiling all of the user-generated content into one place, making it easy for you to find and share at any point in time. This will also make it easier for your audience to locate relevant content when they need it.
Step 4: Build a Content Calendar
Create a content calendar and fill in the dates with the content you’re planning to share. This will help you keep track of your schedule as well as ensure that you have enough content available for any given week.
Step 5: Build a Community
Build a community around your brand. This can be done by creating forums where people can interact with each other and share their thoughts on different topics. You could also create an email list that allows subscribers to receive updates about new content as it’s published.
Step 6: Share User Generated Content
Once you have a solid strategy in place, start sharing your UGC! You can do this by posting it on your social media accounts, blog, or website. If you have an email list, be sure to share your UGC with subscribers as well.
Step 7: Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
Optimize your content for search engines. This will help people find it when they’re searching for information on the web. It’s also important to make sure that each piece of content has an optimized title and description so that it shows up in Google results.
Creating a UGC Campaign Helps Build an eCommerce Brand
Creating UGC marketing campaigns helps bring new and loyal customers together. When you get your existing customers involved, they become even more invested in the success of your brand. They’ll be more likely to recommend your products to their friends and family members, too.
And let’s not forget about the people who aren’t already customers: the ones who are seeing your posts for the first time on social media or other online channels. When those people see that others love what you do, it makes them want to try it themselves—and this is how new audiences are created!
UGC Campaigns Can Build Consumer Trust and Loyalty
As customers, we like to see other people's opinions of a product or service. It gives us a sense of what we might expect if we make the purchase ourselves—and it also shows that you are listening to your customers.
Of course, there are many ways to get customer input for your brand, including surveys and focus groups. However, UGC campaigns allow users on social media sites to express themselves freely without being forced into making decisions about how they feel about something—they may not even realize that their opinion is valuable! This makes it easier for brands looking for honest reviews from potential customers who may not have any ulterior motives behind their words (e.g., if someone were paid by advertisers).
Customers Engage More Deeply With Brands That Use UGC in Their Marketing
UGC campaigns can help build trust and loyalty in a number of ways.
- Customers are more likely to buy from brands they trust. Customers who engage deeply with a brand through UGC campaigns are more likely to purchase from that brand when they encounter it online, especially if they feel like the company is listening to their concerns and offering personalized solutions. In fact, 89% of consumers say that positive reviews influence their buying decisions.
- Customers are more likely to recommend brands they trust. People who have positive experiences with a product or service will be much more likely to tell their friends about it than those who have had an unsatisfactory experience (81% vs 52%). This means that companies should make sure that everything they do is designed first and foremost for customer satisfaction—not just so your bottom line looks good on paper.
- Customers are more likely to stay loyal over time because you've built up trust by showing them what you're all about as an organization.
The Best UGC Provides Free Inspiration for Your Marketing Materials
Social proof is one of the most important aspects of UGC—it’s what turns a potential customer into a paying one. After all, a branded hashtag is only going to get you so far if it’s not being used by customers.
This is where UGC comes in: it can provide you with an endless supply of content that you can use to show off your products or services in the best light possible. And because it’s coming from customers, it’s automatically more trustworthy than anything you could say about your brand yourself.
UGC can also help you do things like:
- Create new products.
- Improve existing products by incorporating real user stories into your product development process.
- Create new marketing materials, like sales pages, landing pages, and email templates that are based on the needs expressed in social media posts made by customers who have already purchased from you or expressed interest in doing so.
Effective Marketing Strategy Across Marketing Channels Boosts Sales
As the world of online shopping continues to grow, so does the need for businesses to have an effective marketing strategy. After all, what good is an online shop, store, or business if no one knows it exists?
There are a number of ways to market your business, but not all methods are created equal. Some may generate a lot of traffic but fail to convert visitors into paying customers, while others may be more effective in generating sales but lack the ability to reach a wide audience.
The key is to find a balance between reach and effectiveness.
If you’re just getting started with UGC campaigns for your eCommerce store, don’t be afraid to experiment! It can take some time to hone in on what works best for your brand and audience. But if you keep at it and keep learning from your successes and failures, you’ll soon have a winning formula that helps your business grow.
If you want help creating a winning marketing strategy or converting more visitors into customers, we are here to help! Please get in touch.