Every day, online stores spend millions of dollars on marketing and advertising campaigns. Most of these campaigns center around one fact: they’re self-promotional.
For eCommerce brands, UGC can help promote products through word-of-mouth marketing. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to leverage UGC in your online store’s marketing campaign to extend your reach and build customer loyalty.
What Is User-Generated Content and Why Is It Effective?
In a traditional marketing campaign, a brand markets itself, making grand promises about its products and what they offer. On the other hand, user-generated content (UGC) is created by ordinary people who rave about their favorite products, services, and companies — and it’s one of the most effective forms of digital marketing.
The most common types of UGC include testimonials, videos, product reviews, audio, images, and blogs. You can find UGC on social media platforms, wikis, and online forums such as Quora and Reddit.
Because it comes from real people who interact with your brand, consumers usually find it more compelling than the content you create yourself. Let’s use an example of UGC and traditional content to drive this point home.
Let’s say you create a landing page that showcases one of your products for sale. You launch this landing page, which attracts several real customers who buy your product.
Over time, your product meshes well with your target audience, so much so that a customer posts a review on YouTube singing its praises. That YouTube video is UGC and acts as social proof of your product’s value. Anyone watching the video will see that a real customer is endorsing your product, which builds trust and may make them more likely to buy.
Why Is UGC Important for eCommerce Brands?
UGC is used by companies across the world to add a touch of humanity to their brands. The results speak for themselves. Here are some statistics that prove the tremendous value UGC can bring to an organization:
- 92% of people count on referrals to buy a product or service more than any other source.
- 90% of companies say that authenticity is essential when determining which companies they like and support.
- 79% say that UGC really impacts their purchasing decisions.
All of these statistics prove one thing: UGC can be extremely captivating.
Whenever the average shopper wants to buy a product, they’re much more likely to weigh UGC above any form of content you can create, such as blog posts, landing pages, whitepapers, eBooks, and buying guides.
This isn’t to say brand-created content isn’t effective. Successful eCommerce platforms can use both brand-created content and UGC to spread the word about their products, improve their SEO, and drive more conversions.
Benefits of UGC for eCommerce Brands
UGC offers significant benefits for companies and online stores, including:
1. Leads to Increased Conversions
Leveraging UGC on your website and social media platforms is a great way to spread the word about your products.
In fact, spreading UGC on your marketing channels can introduce your brand to new audiences who may be unfamiliar with it. This can increase your product’s reach on the internet, drive this exposure back to your website, and improve your conversion rate.
2. Builds Brand Awareness and User Engagement
If you’re delivering a unique product to the marketplace, using UGC is an ideal solution. Most marketing campaigns are geared toward promoting products that the general public is already familiar with.
But if you’re bringing a new product to market, you may find it difficult to create messaging that’s compelling and informative at the same time. This is where a UGC strategy comes into play.
Online stores can create a UGC strategy to encourage their most loyal customers to talk about their products to their followers. UGC content creators, whether they’re employees or influencers, can serve as brand ambassadors for your online store.
3. Can Provide a Positive Shopping Experience to Your Customers
UGC doesn’t have to take the form of Instagram or Facebook Reels. You can also embed UGC on your product pages to encourage shoppers to buy.
For example, if you’re promoting a new product, you can add video testimonials to the landing page. These testimonials can communicate the features and benefits your product has to offer.
On top of that, you can also insert shoppable videos to your landing pages that demonstrate how they work. Many clothing retailers already follow this approach to give shoppers an idea of how their clothes will look.
Following this strategy can elevate your store’s shopping experience and increase customer satisfaction.
4. Gives Your Brand a Human Touch
One of the greatest benefits of UGC is that it adds a human element to your brand. Instead of telling your own stories through messaging, third-party content creators can do the work for you.
UGC opens the door for your employees, customers, and influencers to talk about your products. It’s important to remember that people crave human interaction while shopping. Utilizing UGC can even help add a friendly or familiar face to your brand to increase sales.
5. Creates Loyal Customers
Ultimately, using UGC can help online stores for personal connections with customers. When you promote UGC content with ads, you’re effectively interacting with your target audience.
These interactions show that you care about your audience’s feedback. For example, fast-food giants like McDonald’s and Wendy’s regularly share customer videos in their social media posts. In doing so, they can prove their value with videos from their most satisfied customers.
How To Leverage UGC in Your eCommerce Strategy
Now that you know the basics of UGS, here’s how to implement it within your eCommerce strategy to boost conversions — and your bottom line.
Use UGC Videos To Feature Your Products
One way you can leverage UGC is to feature your flagship products. UGC videos, like testimonials and demos, can make your product campaigns more convincing.
For example, you can share UGC videos on social media that target people unfamiliar with your brand. This raises your brand awareness and attracts more potential buyers to your online store.
Incorporate UGC into Your Email Marketing Campaigns
If you want to nurture qualified leads who are still on the fence about buying your products, you can leverage UGC within your email campaigns. By incorporating UGC, you can show your email subscribers the benefits of purchasing one of your products — straight from the mouth of a real customer.
You should first segment your email list so that the campaign targets prospects who have shown interest in a particular product. This helps ensure that your UGC campaign only goes to qualified leads and maximizes your chance of success.
Create UGC Hashtags on Socials
A great way to create viral content on social media is to encourage your existing followers to share their customer stories. For example, you can share a video testimonial on Instagram and TikTok, create a branded hashtag, and encourage more customers to reply with their own stories.
Following this strategy gives your customers a platform to share their experiences and shows that your brand values and welcomes their thoughts — good and bad.
Best Practices for Using UGC in eCommerce
Ready to see what UGC can do for your eCommerce store? Here are a few best practices to help maximize your results.
Always Make Sure You Have Permission To Use Content
Since UGC content is created by other people, you should always ask for permission before using it across your own social media platforms — and give credit to the original creator.
You can easily reach out to influencers on social media through their direct messages (DMs) to ask for permission. Usually, they won’t object to you giving them more exposure on social media!
Be Transparent and Authentic
Transparency is key when using UGC. Potential customers want to see what buying your products is really like. Therefore, you should use a wide variety of UGC content to showcase honest customer reviews — not just glowing feedback, which can come across as disingenuous.
Use Influencers (If Possible)
Influencers can drive UGC production, and you can leverage influencer marketing to expose your products to new audiences you couldn’t reach on your own. If you have the budget, consider hiring an influencer who aligns with your brand values to create UGC.
You can look for influencers who have already used (or posted about) your product, or you can consider sending a sample to an influencer you think would be a great brand advocate.
Keep Your User-Generated Content Campaigns Organized
You’ll likely run simultaneous campaigns with multiple content creators when launching a UGC campaign. In order to maximize your results, stay on budget, and create outstanding deliverables, you should use a project management system to keep all campaigns organized.
Project management software gives you a dedicated workspace to manage all aspects of the campaign, including content submissions, approvals, post scheduling, and performance tracking.
Track and Analyze UGC campaigns for Continuous Improvement
Tracking metrics gives you quantifiable data that you can use to improve future campaigns — and it’s the only surefire way to know if your UGC campaign was successful.
You can monitor your own social media and website analytics to track key performance indicators (KPIs) like post impressions, engagement rate, and click-through rate (CTR).
If you don’t already, consider monitoring brand sentiment and customer relationships alongside social media metrics with periodic supplemental customer surveys. This can help provide a better picture of how consumers feel about your brand overall — which can also provide valuable insights into how to adjust future marketing campaigns.
Add UGC Videos to Your eCommerce store With Gander
UGC content is a powerful tool for eCommerce brands that fosters authenticity and trust by showcasing real customer experiences, driving engagement, and cultivating a sense of community. It can also provide your brand with valuable data and customer insights through social media and website analytics.
But social media isn’t the only way to engage customers with UGC. You can also engage shoppers directly on your website using eCommerce UGC, like shoppable videos that show off your best products.
With Gander, you can embed shoppable videos on your eCommerce product pages to show real customers interacting with your products. This is a great way to show potential buyers what people think about your product, and it could be just the nudge they need to make a purchase!
Gander makes it easy to embed shoppable videos into your website without slowing it down. Request a demo today to see how shoppable videos can boost your conversions!