It’s no secret that content can attract a significant amount of organic traffic. In addition to advertising campaigns, the correct type of organic content can open up a brand to a new web audience at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, brands and marketers continue to struggle to create compelling content.
According to HubSpot, creating engaging content is one of the most prominent challenges marketers face today. In particular, brands compete for both exciting content and enough content to produce it. Production is the keyword.
E-commerce brands have a clear advantage over many brands, especially those that deal with a specific product. You don’t need to produce or create anything to get user-generated content and use it in your online store.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content is created by the brand’s users. The content can range from images to videos to blog posts. A user can be a brand’s customer, website visitor, or social media subscriber.
As you can see by definition, user-generated content can take many forms, for example, reviews, testimonials, comments, social media posts, forums, and more. User-generated content works because it’s created primarily by a user who gives you social proof of your content.
This is not the product copy (the description and features) that may be written by the marketing team or that the company pays an editor for. This is the content provided by actual users. Therefore, when potential customers read this, they feel like it is impartial because other customers wrote it. This helps to build trust with your future buyers.
How to leverage UGC to drive engagement
1. Organic Social
The use of customer photos in organic social networks has become more common in recent years. Most brands increasingly rely on customer photography to drive greater reach and engagement in their communities. Today, more than 86% of companies use user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy. And when users create and post content on social networks, they get 28% more attention than regular business posts.
If a company actively tries to create user-generated content with micro-influencers, make sure they understand your branding image by sharing content like a branded humor table and photo style guide before producing any content. Not only does this create a consistent feel for all of the influencer’s images, but you can also use their photos on your social media and website.
Our number one priority in a partnership with a brand influencer is creative alignment. The influencer’s influence to create on-brand content with the brand product is not considered (as many people focus only on orders). Still, it is vital as brands try to tell a unified story through their marketing channels.
2. Showcase Your Values
What better way to promote your brand’s values and beliefs than by showing them in action rather than words? Aeri did just that by launching a hugely popular UGC campaign promoting body image. They asked their followers to upload photos without filters and allowed them to post only unchanged images. This was part of their #AerieREAL campaign, which promoted a positive mind-body through personal messages and new photos.
People loved this concept and gathered to support the brand, which resulted in a 20% increase in sales. People interact with companies that share the same values and build strong relationships through brand loyalty.
You don’t have to be creative to make a great campaign. Any belief is enough to communicate with your audience. Whether you use organic content, believe in women empowerment, or think your product can make others laugh, you can create a campaign. As mentioned earlier, make sure you associate your campaign with a unique hashtag that users can easily follow online.
This type of campaign generates a considerable amount of likes, shares, and comments on social media. This is a great way to connect with your followers and let them know that you share their values.
3. Build a Community Around Your Customers
You are not the only expert on your products. Your customers know and love to be part of their passion. HubSpot recommends providing a platform for your audience to interact with as this dialogue contains powerful user-generated content. The Q&A segments on Amazon pages are an excellent example of how customers answer questions from other customers.
Another example could be selling your products in a way that helps to encourage user engagement. For example, if your product is something that is sold based on some form of measurement, rather than selling it in fixed sizes, a plugin like WooCommerce variable measurement pricing allows you to sell it in any unit of measurement. An obvious use of this is fabric, but could also be anything that is measured, like pipes, turf, food, and many other things. You can then encourage users to share information and photos in your product comments or reviews about what they made or how they used it and the quantity that they needed. This is a great way to help other buyers determine how much of your product they might also need.
By enabling interaction between interested buyers and former buyers, the community is rebuilt around the brand, providing social assessments of the products and the brand as a whole. These communities break down barriers between individual online store buyers, which creates an emotional connection to the brand and leads to conversions.
4. Use Significant Events and Holidays to Gain Exposure
To increase awareness and engagement, online brands can launch campaigns related to major national events and vacations.
M·A·C (Makeup Art Cosmetics) used the trend of increasingly ambitious and creative Halloween costumes and makeup to create the hashtag #SeniorArtistsSlayHalloween. This campaign aimed to get makeup artists from all over the world to share their Halloween creations.
The popular celebration of M·A·C has managed to attract even more attention and get stunning photos of customers using their products to create exquisite costumes.
5. Include Photos with Product Reviews
Reviews are an excellent source for UGC. Your business creates reviews by doing more than providing excellent customer service and quality products. Email and social interaction can create additional reviews. If you want reviews to have more impact, choose a review platform that you can integrate with so customers can add pictures and even videos to complete their reviews.
Yotpo is one of the many platforms that provide visual information to consumers. Customers love to share their experiences, and this is important. 77% of consumers believe that authentic photos from other shoppers influence their purchasing decisions more than professional store photos.
In another survey, 40% of consumers said that a large number of user-generated content (photo or video) was likely to influence purchasing decisions. The more they share beyond their reviews, the more value it adds to your online store.