Many eCommerce store owners are finding new ways and constantly experimenting to create a perfect recipe by combining spices of content and commerce together. We’ve seen marketers using various forms of content for storytelling like — videos, editorial content, web content, and social media content, and no doubt these all have worked very well in the past as well as the present.
But what about the future?
The future is all about content generated by your users, commonly known as the user-generated content. As per, Timer Tagrin, Co-Founder and CEO of Yotpo:
“The future of marketing is about learning to use the content that your consumers are generating — on social media and in dedicated campaigns — in your own marketing.”
What is User-Generated Content?
User-generated content or UGC is any piece of online content that is created by users or to be more specific, content written by people outside the company for the company. It is one hundred percent organic in nature i.e. its authors are not affiliated to any of the products or services of that organization.
A very basic example of UGC is customer reviews. Customer reviews are an important asset for any brand as it is these that tell the business owners their experiences of a product or service.
But reviews are only one sort of user-generated content, apart from customer feedback you can find UGCs over social media, forum discussions, comment section, and everywhere else.
Let us take a look at some common form of user-generated content in detail:
Types Of User-Generated Content
People express their emotions about a brand in various ways — from writing to speaking buyers love to share opinions. Based on this, here are some specific categories in which people express themselves:
Review And Rating
Often written by customers once they have made a purchase from your store. Customer reviews are a classic way of writing and sharing the real deal versus the expectations. Either written on your eCommerce store or any third party platform (like Amazon, Yelp, or Google), impact a whopping 84% readers. Believe it or not, many buyers trust these reviews before making a purchase.
With the presence of various content management systems in the market like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. creating a bog-standard website has become very common. Many individuals like to influence their readers with their words and blogging lets them do so.
Another prominent form of user-generated content is forum discussion. Forums are a virtual community where users discuss a specific topic. The topic of discussion can vary anywhere from product development, reviews of a product, and even customer issues.
Technology at a high pace and smartphones are becoming smarter. With the help of smartphones, one can very easily create a very basic video in a short period of time. Popular video contents like unboxing an item, or even showing a product guide through videos are forms of user-generated videos.
Even business owners share videos of their happy customers through various video sharing platforms, like YouTube.
Here is an example of a customer sharing his experience after using BotMyWork’s chatbot builder:
Live streams are real-time with a hundred percent raw discussion. Often found on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. — these are original videos without any time invested in editing.
Another notable form of UGC is social media. It is due to real-time posts depicting applications of products and services and social sharing social media platforms have been very successful in amplifying buyers’ voices.
One of the best examples that I can serve you is the “Do us a flavor” campaign by Lay’s.
Just by offering consumers a chance to create their own flavors and getting rich, Lay’s wisely used UGC to boost their customer engagement.
So these were some basic forms of user-generated content found online and boost customer engagement in one or more ways. Marketing experts like Tomer Tagrin boasts that user-generated content is a game-changer. The Yotpo CEO says:
“In an A/B test for one eCommerce store, we found that adding customer photos to product pages increased checkout by 24%, which added up to an additional $8,900 in sales for the $100 product over a 10-day period.”
And if this is true (which actually is), it is necessary that we start planning out strategies that amplify our customers’ voice for sustainable growth.
5 Ways To Imply Use-Generated Content For Your E-commerce Business
Implying UGC is all about rolling all your assets together with your eCommerce strategies. Both you and your prospects should be present on platforms like social media, forums, or even your website, for better customer engagement.
Thus, here are 6 ways by which you can take full advantage of user-generated content:
1. Resharing Social Media Posts
The easiest way to start is social media reshares. You only have to reshare the posts made by people about your brand’s products and services. This was the same strategy used by Lay’s for their “Do us a flavor” campaign.
You can personalize the posts as per your desire, add a caption that greets the author of the post. If you’re using social media platforms like Twitter you can strike a conversation within the post itself.
2. Shoppable Gallery
A very unique and efficient, not known to many, is building an in-site shoppable gallery of the UGC content. Most user-generated content pieces are born on social media but an in-site shoppable gallery is a game-changer. It lets you increase the reach of a UGC beyond social media.
Here’s an example from Underarmour of an in-site shoppable gallery using UGC:
Underarmour utilizes the Instagram posts of its buyers on its homepage to showcase their own products. From active women to professional golf players Underarmour celebrates its each and every customer.
Also, you can directly buy the style worn in the picture without the need to browse through the shop.
A shoppable gallery is an attractive collection of UGC that is linked to your products. Also, it acts as an inspiration for the other customers who are looking for the best combination of products from your store.
The in-site shoppable gallery is a perfect way of portraying your customers’ journey with your brand and lends the visual charm of curated content for increasing sales.
3. UGC Based Social Ads
As per a study, social ads that have some sort of UGC in it are found to have 4x times higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click. Also, brand engagement is increased on an average by 28% when users are exposed to a blend of buyer created content as well as professional content.
This shows how persuasive user-generated content is that it can work wonders for your ad campaigns.
You’ll agree with me if I say, ads have only a couple of seconds for compelling the users to click and make a purchase. But including user-generated content in your social ads is really helpful. The consumers make eye contact directly with people who are portraying products that were beneficial to them.
It raises viewers’ interest and accelerates your chances of the buying decision.
4. Blog Posts
We all are aware of how important are blogs for an eCommerce store. But what if you could add the power of UGC to your blog posts to make them even more relatable for your audience. Blogs with user-generated content help in inspiring your prospects through the story of your current customers. Thus, it leads to another fact that adding UGC to your content is a perfect way of storytelling.
For blending UGC into your blogs, just weave the words around a theme. In this way, you can discuss and curate UGC around a topic on your official blogs very easily. The content ideas can range from anywhere from case studies to an event announcement.
This is a success story of a client who opted for our services for solving their business problems. We’ve used her feedback and weaved blog posts around it in order to show our prospects how the product added value to her and how it can add value to your own businesses.
5. Create A Social Media Wall
You might have noticed that people love to take snaps of themselves when they go to an event and share it online. I’ll advise why not leverage these to share a glimpse of your event? With the help of these captured moments to gain more reservations for your events.
Creating a social media wall out of these snaps can help display a conversation within the feeds of your company's social pages.
How to detect UGC?
For detecting UGC you need to be versed in social listening.
But what is social listening?
Social listening is the monitoring of the social media channels that your brand is currently active on. It requires fetching content that discusses your brand or shares something but that is posted about or for your business. It can be a customer’s feedback or a discussion or even a direct mention.
You have to detect such content and bring it to implication on your company’s platform. Thus, there are two ways to do so:
Stay alert for all the social media mentions. Keeping checking your notifications constantly for social media accounts that write about you. Due to an increase in the ephemeral content over social media staying alert is really important in the manual approach.
According to me if your marketing budget allows then, going by the automated approach is much smarter. The social listening tools can do the work efficiently for you and also save a lot of your time. Automated tools keep a close eye on keywords being used and turn them into alerts.
By keywords I mean to say anything from slogans, branded captions, product name to branded hashtags.
Some of the best social listening tools are:
The Future Of Ecommerce Marketing
Social media has turned ordinary individuals into publishers due to which the boundary between brands and their customers seems to fade away. A huge avalanche of content can be seen on various online platforms. Thus, it is very wise to leverage this content to showcase your products and build a strong connection with your audience.
With the help of user-generated content, you can amplify your customers’ voices and grow as a collective powerful community.