Customers are much more likely to purchase a product if they can see a real person using it. This is why user-generated content (UGC) is vital for e-commerce websites and online marketplaces, taking inspiration from popular social media websites like Instagram.
UGC can be one of the best marketing and conversion tools at your disposal, turning customer satisfaction into effective advertising. This article will discuss how to encourage user-generated content for your e-commerce website and how it can be used effectively in 2022.
What is user-generated content, and why is it important?
User-generated (or user-created) content refers to content posted by users on social media or content-sharing platforms. It can include video, photos, text, or audio. For e-commerce, this content will typically relate to a specific product or the customer experience.
UGC is extremely valuable from a branding perspective, showing impartial feedback from real customers who are essentially selling products on your behalf! User-generated content is expected to overtake influencer marketing over the coming years. So if you run an e-commerce website, UGC needs to be a key consideration for your overall marketing strategy.
Consumers are proven to be much more receptive to user-generated images and video than any other type of advertising as it is personal and unbiased. UGC can have a big influence on your audience’s buying decisions, which is why major online brands place great emphasis on this form of marketing.
How to get user-generated content
Below are several ways to get user-generated content so it can be used as a marketing tool for your e-commerce website.
- The easiest way to get user-generated content is by simply asking for it. You can request UGC via social media or email campaigns to prompt happy customers to send images, videos, or written feedback about your products.
- You can also use automated tools to request reviews from all of your customers. This could be an automatic request sent a few days after a product has been delivered.
- Competitions and giveaways are a great way to receive user-generated content, rewarding customers who participate.
- Finally, you can have relevant influencers review your products for additional exposure. Influencer marketing can be very lucrative and should not be under-estimated. We will discuss this more in the next section.
5 Ways to use user-generated content for e-commerce in 2022
Don’t let your user-generated content go to waste. It is worth its weight in gold, so you need to shout from the rooftops about it! This section will look at five ways user-generated content can be used for e-commerce marketing in 2022.
1. Show user-generated content on your key pages
The best way to display UGC photos is on your home, category, and product pages. Image placement is key so that it has a prominent position on each page, gaining maximum exposure to promote your products effectively.
In terms of your product pages, ensure your user-generated content is placed high up the page so the user does not need to scroll down to find it. That said, don’t just rely on UGC; ensure you have professional product photos and videos to provide in-depth descriptions.
2. Dedicate a page to UGC
Have your own dedicated page for your user-generated content, keeping it all in one place so your audience can find it easily. This should be in addition to placing content on relevant key pages.
You could also integrate Instagram, making your Instagram page ‘shoppable’ and linking posts back to product pages to generate leads on the platform. This is even more useful if you have Instagram followers who are top customers and regularly create content about your products.
3. Social media campaigns
Your user-generated content does not need to end with Instagram. Platforms such as Twitter and TikTok can also be valuable lead generation tools, and best of all, they are free!
Encourage followers to tag your profile with content they have shared. You could also incentivize with giveaways and regular competitions. It is always recommended to use a range of marketing channels to target different audiences and demographics.
4. Email campaigns
Marketing and sales emails are perfect for showing off user-generated content and reminding lapsed customers of your great products and services. If your email marketing campaigns are not delivering the required return on investment, it may be time to try something new. You could try centering mailshots on UGC to drive sales and prompt customers to return.
5. Use UGC alongside influencer marketing
Influencer marketing and user-generated content marketing are not the same, but this does not mean they cannot work in unison.
Ideally, your campaigns will utilize several micro-influencers and influencers with 100,000 followers or less who are popular within a local area or specific niche. These kinds of followers have much more credibility and are more relatable to your audience, as opposed to mega-influencers.
Micro-influencers have a much higher engagement rate than mega-influencers, thus offering a better ROI and making the best use of your budget. You should also use various services for better budget management, such as dedicated business bank accounts and accounting software.
The challenges of user-generated content
There are several challenges that may impact the effectiveness of your user-generated content. Fortunately, such issues are avoidable with a clear strategy, a great user experience, and high-quality products.
- New e-commerce websites may struggle to get enough user-generated content, which can only be overcome with perseverance. Like any marketing campaign, trial and error are common, so constantly adapt your strategies to achieve different results.
- Marketing can be expensive, so it may be worth considering the benefits of easily repayable personal loans to get your marketing campaigns off the ground.
- Choose your influencers carefully. As previously mentioned, try targeting micro-influencers similar to your audience for more authentic content.
- Perhaps your products or industry are not particularly exciting, meaning user-generated content is a bit of a rarity. If this is the case, try reaching out to your satisfied customers and maybe even offer an incentive.
- If the UGC you receive is not of sufficient quality to share on your website or social media, then you should offer some guidance on creating engaging content, rewarding any improved content by sharing it on your social media.
- You must also consider the impact of high-quality images and videos on your website. To avoid slow loading speeds and damaging the user experience of your e-commerce website, you should ensure you have the best possible hosting package.
User-generated content is a marketing strategy that is becoming more and more popular. Content that is created by your happy customers can be re-shared across your website and social media (with permission), helping to generate more leads and result in more sales.
Potential customers are much more likely to purchase if they can see the product in use by a real person. UGC can give your e-commerce website more authenticity and help to build good relationships with your top customers.
About the author:
Sam Bocetta is a cyber-authority with over 25 years of experience and a comprehensive understanding of fraud, identity theft, and privacy issues that plague millions of victims worldwide. However, during his retirement days, he mastered his online business and marketing skills by keeping an eye on both present and future trends. Sam has written for GlobalSign, AT&T, DevOps, FEE and CSO among others.