eCommerce Tips & Trends

How to Use User-Generated Content in Your eCommerce Store

Gayatri Bhaumik

by Gayatri Bhaumik

On 2019 M12 18

by Gayatri Bhaumik

In the digital age, your customers are sharing their favorite products with their close friends and network. It’s also become easier for them to share recommendations with their internet following - though that doesn’t mean they know all of them in real life. All the same, getting your customers to share user-generated content is easier than it seems. Plus, it can have great benefits for your business.

What you need to know about user-generated content

In a world where marketing strategies change in a New York minute, it’s important to stay on top of trends and find new ways to market your brand and grow sales. User-generated content is an easy way to spice up your marketing plan. Bonus: it doesn’t cost very much, either. We’ve made it easy for you to understand user-generated content and have even provided some ways that you can start using it to market your eCommerce store today.

What does user-generated content mean?

User-generated content (UGC) is visual and written content that your customers and audience creates. Most importantly, these are not the result of monetary incentives - sponsored influencer posts on Instagram are not considered UGC. Instead, this is organic content that users decide to create and share on their own in order to share their experience with a product.

UGC can take different forms, so there are many different examples of user generated content. The most popular type of UGC is product reviews. These can be hosted on your website or on an external site. Additionally, photos and videos created by customers are a form of user-generated content that can be beneficial for your company.

Why is user-generated content so important?

User-generated content may seem like just another marketing tactic to check off the list, however, implementing user-generated content for marketing can help your brand in several ways.

First, a good user-generated content strategy can lead to a higher conversion rate in your eCommerce store. For websites that have it, UGC can have as much as a 29% higher conversion rate compared to other websites. Higher conversion equates to higher sales thus leading to more opportunities for your business to grow. For this reason, you’d do well to consider the benefits of user generated content platforms.

Since it’s not paid for, UGC also provides organic feedback about your products. Potential customers are more likely to be persuaded by UGC because users like them are more relatable than hired models. They can picture how they’ll use the product themselves and it can push them to make a purchase. Customers sharing your product - and their views about it - can create trust for your company. By seeing other real customers who are happy with their purchase, they’re more inclined to trust your brand and buy your product.

Another great benefit of UGC? It’s free for your brand. Your customers are likely already sharing content about your brand or product - or will, with just the slightest bit of convincing. They’ll feel valued if you ask for UGC, which can create a strong relationship between your brand and customers. This strong bond that forms leads to a higher rate of  customer retention.  Additionally, a regular schedule of new content can help your SEO strategy and provide better opportunities for backlinks to your site and products.

How do I get user-generated content?

It’s easy to think that if you say you’ll share UGC that your customers will immediately start flooding you with content, but that’s not really the case. You will probably need to provide a little encouragement in order to get users to participate in your user generated content strategy.

Before you even begin to ask for UGC, you’ll need to figure out how to collect it. Will you create a hashtag or just ask users to tag your brand  in their pictures? Creating a landing page around your UGC campaign can direct more traffic and highlight how you’ve used the UGC you’ve received.

Once you’ve set the standard, you’ll need to introduce a campaign to promote your UGC. Consider sending out a campaign through your marketing automation tool where you announce the hashtag or ask for post sharing. Add a short bit to the bottom of your purchase confirmation emails that includes your hashtag and social media handles.

If you promote your UGC campaign and don’t receive much response, you may need to incentivize it. Consider doing a contest or giveaway where you choose a winner based on the UGC posts shared with your brand. Whatever you do, don’t force the UGC. Know that it may take a bit to come in

How to use UGC

Using user-generated content is simple. There’s a variety of ways that you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

You’ll need to find a way to identify the user-generated content that is being shared. You can ask your customers to tag you in their photos or even use a specific hashtag. Make sure your hashtag is unique to your brand and one that isn’t being overused already. Look through your tagged photos and see what content is out there.

Before sharing any UGC on your product pages, you’ll need to the customer for permission. You don’t want a PR nightmare when someone claims you’ve shared their content without their knowledge. Save yourself the hassle - and bad rep - by asking for permission before you share.

What is User-Generated Content on Social Media?

You can ask your customers to tag their photos on social media with your account or with your brand’s hashtag. Once you’ve found photos, use these pictures as part of your social content strategy. You’ll get a wide variety of content shared with you, but you’ll still need to make sure to prioritize quality over quantity.

When you’re ready to share these photos on social media, make sure that you give credit to the original poster in the caption. Download the photos, protect them with backup software, add them to your content strategy, and get to posting. Tag the user in the caption (and photo if applicable) and make sure to use the hashtag in your caption as well. You’ll be encouraging your customers to share more content. Be sure to talk about what specific product the customer is promoting in their content so that potential customers can get a good idea of how it can benefit them, too.

Shopping on social media is becoming a popular trend in the ecommerce industry. UGC can be great to source photos to showcase your Instagram shopping capabilities. It’ll show how your products can be used in real life.

Another great use of your user-generated content strategy is to incorporate it into your advertisements on social media.  You can share the photos your customers have taken. Similarly, you can include quotes from product reviews in your advertisement content. Experiment with different techniques to find out what works best for your brand.

Benefits of User-Generated Content Platform for Product Pages

Adding UGC to your product pages is a great way to increase conversions and persuade potential customers to purchase your products. Gather great photos of specific products that you can showcase on each individual page alongside your professional product photos. Platforms like Shopify offer a variety of plugins that allow sellers to integrate photos from social media onto their product pages.

You can also have a section at the bottom of each product page where users can add their own reviews and photos to help future customers through your ecommerce system. You may be understandably nervous about this. After all ,what happens if you get a negative review. However, in this case, the pros outweigh the cons. Both positive and negative reviews can help build trust in your product and brand.

Implementing a User-Generated Content Strategy

User-generated content can be a useful part of your marketing tool belt for your eCommerce store’s strategy. You’ll provide social proof behind your brand and help convince those on the edge to purchase your product. Get creative with how you use UGC and find what works for you.  

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Anastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the  University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago's different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anastasiamasters/