You’ve got a marketing strategy in place for your brand, and it’s a well-oiled machine. Your emails are automated, the social media calendar is strategic, and media buying is up. But something’s still missing: user-generated content.
Ready to work smarter, not harder? Read on to learn why UGC has become critical for eCommerce brands and the types of UGC that drive the most conversions, sales, and brand loyalty.
What Does User-Generated Content (UGC) Mean?
UGC stands for User-Generated Content. This is any content that your customers and brand evangelists make about your product or company and post online.
Just about everybody has a smartphone these days, and platforms like Instagram and YouTube allow consumers to post photos of things that inspire them to share with their friends and family.
What used to be reserved for professional photographers is now accessible to anybody with a mobile phone.
Everybody can be a micro-influencer and share their thoughts on the products they love with their followers.
Why is User-Generated Content (UGC) Important for eCommerce?
UGC heavily impacts buying behavior. In place of window shopping is a digital marketplace of rich images, videos, and ads to capture the attention of new customers.
Of over 7,500 U.S. consumers surveyed, several things became clear about the ultimate power of UGC:
86% of consumers always or regularly seek out photos and videos prior to purchase (up from 72% in 2016).
80% of consumers find photos from other customers more valuable than photos from brands or retailers (up from 44% in 2016).
One-third of Gen Z consumers and 21% of millennials won’t purchase a product if it doesn’t have visual UGC.
It’s not a matter of if UGC will impact your brand, but rather how much.
User-generated content not only shows other leads how many people your product and brand, but it can help you round out your social media calendar with authentic content from your biggest fans.
Sure, you can boast about your brand. But wouldn’t that be more meaningful coming from people who actually use your bags?
Top 5 Benefits of User-Generated Content (UGC)
In today’s crowded marketplace it’s more important than ever to push authenticity and user engagement as top priorities.
This is why many brands are now incorporating user-generated content social-media strategies into their marketing plans and these top 6 benefits certainly show why.
1. Take The Pressure Off Your Content Team
UGC is an effective way of easing the strain of creating custom content and supplementing it with an effective and powerful alternative.
Whether you’re creating content in-house or outsourcing it to an agency, this can mean increasing your ability to share highly-targeted content far more often than if you were creating it all yourself.
2. Boost Your Social Media Reach & Growth
Successfully executing a UGC campaign can significantly strengthen your brand and build customer relationships across social media.
There are a number of ways to do this.
For example, create a custom hashtag or photo contest on Instagram, ask a question or create a challenge on Twitter or Facebook, or even launch a video contest on YouTube.
3. Gain A Few Search Engine Optimisation Perks
Getting your brand’s online assets ranked highly on search engines is always a concern. Particularly if your business relies on this to make sales or gain new clients.
UGC can actually aid these SEO efforts. If users around the net are publishing content about your brand with backlinks to your website, this can in turn significantly improve your presence on search engine result pages for applicable terms.
4. Building Relationships With Your Audience
After all, what better way to engage your audience and make them notice your brand than to highlight their own content.
Discover what makes your audience excited about creating content and engaging with your brand, then use this knowledge to bake personalization into your marketing initiatives.
You’ll have faithful brand ambassadors lining up in no time.
5. Create A Lifestyle Around Your Brand
Whether you choose to work with micro-influencers or celebrities, finding users who can advocate your brand while showcasing it as a part of their daily lives will bring immediate authenticity to your marketing.
This transforms your advertising efforts by harnessing user-generated content to create a desirable lifestyle around it instead.
If you’d like to find out more about these types of personalities in Australia, certainly browse our portfolio of influencers.
6. Offers Insights Into How Your Customers Feel About Your Products and Services
Anytime your customers are talking about your brand online, they’re sharing valuable consumer insights. Especially when they’re saying something negative.
Brands often shy away from this feedback or immediately jump into defense mode, but negative feedback often points you right to the areas where you can improve your business and create a better experience for your customers going forward.
5 Examples Of Top Brand’s User Generated Content Campaigns
Below are examples of top brands that get immense success in user-generated content campaigns.
Coca-Cola‘s marketing team came up with the idea of starting a ‘share a coke’ campaign through the social and ads channel.
Overnight it has started to see a great response from the general customers around the globe.
This idea first popped in for the Australian in 2011, when Coke decided to print about 150 most common and popular names on its bottles asking people to ‘share a coke’ with their loved ones.
The campaign was run in rotation in different countries based on the culture, customs, and background of each of those countries.
And this idea was welcomed with open arms and people profusely started sharing photos with the bottles on social media and the ‘share a coke’ campaign became an instant hit.
Inspired by the title of Netflix‘s original series ‘Stranger Things’, they have decided to promote their series through some creative User Generated Content (UGC).
Normally, in order to spread the word about Netflix’s upcoming premiers, they promote fans’ posts extensively using simple hashtags usually the title of the show.
In one such campaign, Netflix used the title of ‘Stranger Things2′ in the hashtag to promote their upcoming second season of the series.
Due to such action, the curious Instagram users were lured back to the page of Netflix to find out what the real fuss was about.
Witnessing this overwhelming response they realized they can cash in from such UGC in the future as well and shared such campaigns more often than not.
In a recent campaign, on their Instagram page, they reshared some influencer content like ‘Baby Barb’.
Also, the waffles and eggs specialized food item producers like Eggo used the series title to improve engagements. So no doubt these UGC played a vital part in Netflix’s social media strategy.
The design software company Adobe thought of running an innovative campaign for talented designers and artists using a Hashtag.
They started an Art Maker Series, where inventive designers were asked to share their creative artwork and highlight their skills using any of the Adobe products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. in a demonstration of fast-paced videos.
Adobe then used these shared UGC for user recommendations, product/feature promotions, and other expert endorsements.
With such UGC, Adobe has tried to showcase its design capabilities.
They use another hashtag #AdobePerspective where endowed design content creators could share their and other users’ visionary work for free. This was seen as a great opportunity by Adobe to engage with the users of various other communities.
Nothing is more authentic and compelling than your users vouching out for the product they love.
Apple was quick in realizing this after they found out about users’ dissatisfaction with the average camera capabilities for pictures shot in low lights.
Without wasting any time Apple launched a #ShotOnIphone campaign to redeem their lost trust in iPhone’s camera aptitudes.
Apple was losing a significant amount of fans due to this issue.
So, in the urgency of regaining the trust back of its users, Apple was swift in addressing this matter giving a lot of importance to this campaign.
The campaign was about newbie and pro users taking photos in low-light with their iPhones and sharing them online.
Those beautiful low-light shots were then posted on Youtube under the campaign name “Shot on iPhone”.
The campaign mostly showcased some of the most magnificent everyday day user’s low light visuals that were taken using the lens of the iPhone.
This long-running UGC campaign also improved user engagements in Apple’s community. Made all the users feel like a part of the community.
This helped Apple to revive its status among its fans. Undoubtedly a master plan of making the proper use of the UGC campaign making it a part of their core marketing strategy now for the last 3 years.
Back in 2014, Starbucks encouraged its customers to draw some artistic doodles on their white cups launching a contest for them on Twitter under the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.
Looking at the huge success of #WhiteCupContest, in 2016 Starbucks came up with another challenging contest for its enthusiastic customers.
This time the coffee giant came up with a contest naming it the #RedCupArt challenge under the hashtag.
This has also received great feedback from its customer by generating an enormous social media activity for Starbucks on Twitter and Instagram.
Both of these UGC campaigns were the perfect example of creating a huge social media impact even without having to spend a lot.
And excitingly enough, for Starbucks, these contests were a great publicity stunt that worked like magic.
Another reason for such user-generated content campaigns to get success is that it’s super easy to participate for anyone and something that is directly related to the customer’s favorite product.
This wraps up our 7 benefits of user-generated content! Use these insights to start working on your first wave of UGC. The much-improved conversion rates alone are a good enough reason to give this a shot, while the others are only adding to the advantages of having a long-term marketing strategy based on UGC.
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