Today’s article on Simple Ways to Drive Up Sales with User-Generated Content is brought to you by Abdul Rahim – Marketer at Kudobuzz
Let’s welcome Abdul in our blog, and learn from his invaluable experience!
The future of e-commerce marketing is user-generated content (UGC). And this is because UGC allows e-commerce merchants to build trust and develop brand engagement with site visitors by showcasing the authenticity of their products’ usefulness through the eyes of their existing customers.
The shift towards marketing inspired by customers and for customers is necessitated by the fact that customers are becoming numb to advertisements and content produced solely for the selfish interest of the businesses behind them.
To pique the interest of customers nowadays, ads or content your business produces should significantly feature content from your customers. This content from customers is what is popularly referred to as UGC.
User-Generated Content includes but is not limited to social media posts, blog posts and reviews. There are many fascinating attributes of UGC but the single most interesting fact about it is that, millennials, who will soon have the greatest combined purchasing power in history love UGC and spend their time with it.
That’s why if your marketing efforts currently does not include plans for UGC, you should quickly adopt one.
To include UGC in your marketing, you need to be able to effectively generate them.
How to Collect User-Generated Content
Due to the many kinds of content you can collect from customers, the process of collecting them also differs. Using the methods mentioned below can help you collect the most popular forms of UGC out there.
— Ask for customer feedback
Reviews and customer testimonials are some of the popular forms of UGC. To understand how your customers feel about your brand or business, request feedback on their overall purchase experience or how much they liked a particular product they bought from you.
This could be by having a widget on your site or on your product pages that asks for reviews. You could also send out emails after a product has been purchased to ask for feedback on the customer’s experience.
Apart from collecting UGC that you can use in your marketing efforts, asking for reviews is a great way to learn what your customers think about your business and helps you look for new strategies to satisfy them.
— Run a niche campaign
An easy way to collect user generated content is to run a campaign on a niche topic with a specific audience in mind. For example, you could collect the day to day experiences of people who use a particular product, say apron (if you’re in the business of selling aprons ) by starting a hashtag #MeLoveMyApron.
Participants of this campaign will submit photos or videos of themselves wearing aprons with a short description of their experiences using the hashtag you’ve created. You’ll then publicise this campaign among your existing customers and ask them to invite their friends or family to join.
In 2014, Starbucks invited people to decorate one of its cups with customised art and submit a photo of it to Twitter using the hashtag #WhiteCupContest. The result was a whopping 4000 entries. You can imagine the accompanying buzz on social media and the brand engagement.
— Hold a physical event
Holding a physical event might work for some kind of businesses; those that can afford it and those businesses to whom a physical meetup makes sense.
Holding social events at strategic locations where customers of a business can meet other customers like themselves for socialization purposes is very useful. It is a good way to understand first hand how your customers feel about your product, an opportunity for them to try out your new products and a chance to collect UGC.
To attend such events, for example, customers can be made to wear your product to the event or use your product at the event and then whilst there, photos or videos taken can be shared to social media platforms with a chosen hashtag.
— Encourage the habit of sharing
A consistent approach to collecting UGC will be to encourage the habit of sharing amongst your customers. Excite your customers to create content without necessarily asking them to or without waiting for an official campaign to take part in.
The key to this is to delight your customers to the extent that they feel a sense of responsibility in seeing your business succeed. To delight them, you need to connect with them to a level that’s deeper than what other competitors are providing them. This also requires you occasionally reward them for their awesome creativity.
These are some ways of collecting UGC, let’s now look at how to use the collected UGC
How to use UGC for marketing
UGC can be a great addition to your marketing strategy, while boosting engagement and awareness for your business. The following are ways you can use content generated from customers.
— Use UGC in your social media marketing
Social media marketing is important hence most businesses have social media pages. The kind of content shared on these pages can be boring if the curation process isn’t creative. That’s why sharing content generated from customers can be a good way to keep your pages fresh and resourceful.
It’s not the only reason, UGC tends to lead to better engagement and builds trust among customers.
If you have collected content via campaigns, physical meetups or through after purchase emails, one of the best ways to make use of these content is to repost them on your social media platforms. An increase in engagement and customer trust as a result of this is an effective way to drive up sales.
— Display UGC in search results
Not all forms of UGC can be displayed in search results in a way that customer ratings can. If you’re a business that collects reviews and ratings, take advantage of this by displaying the product ratings in search engine results through the addition of rich snippets to your product pages.
Doing this will help your business stand out in search results and give you a high click through rate. A high click through rate will result in an increase in traffic to your site and an increase in traffic to your site will possibly lead to a high conversion rate.
In the picture below, you can see how the addition of ratings in the second search result has made it stand out.
UGC is not going anytime soon. Research points out that social media users consume more than 5 hours of UGC everyday and campaigns with UGC have 20% more influence on purchase decisions than any other form of marketing or advertising.
Combine this with the simple ways to collect and use UGC and you should be on your way to driving up sales for your business.
We feel honoured to have Abdul’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he has shared with us.
About the author: Abdul Rahim – Kudobuzz Marketing Team. Kudobuzz is a simple widget that displays selected positive social reviews on your website. Kudobuzz offers the most effective way to collect lots of customer reviews while improving your SEO.