In the ever-growing ecommerce market, how do you reach your target audience? Cracking just how your ecommerce brand can stand out in a seemingly saturated market may seem like a daunting task. But more and more, companies managing to sprint ahead of the herd are embracing the power of user-generated content.
User-generated content, or UGC, is unpaid, original content from real users of a product or brand. UGC can exist in many formats, i.e. photos, blog testimonials, social media posts (Facebook statuses, tweets, Instagram photos, Snapchat stories, etc.), or website/social media comments.
Why should you utilize user-generated content? Let us break it down.
There’s growing proof that consumers heavily value the recommendations of other consumers. You can devote substantial amounts of time and money to developing and running strategic ads. But even if your ads succeed in bringing traffic to your site, you won’t be giving customers a solid reason to do business with you if you don’t showcase genuine testimonials from real people. Think back to the last time that you made a purchase from an online brand without consulting reviews from previous customers. Can you even recall? Authenticity breeds trust and UGC helps facilitate that.
User-generated content also offers another way to improve SEO. We likely don’t have to tell you the importance of search engine performance. Optimal SEO performance is key to the success of your brand. Search engines evaluate content to determine the quality of your site. Featuring authentic, original reviews and testimonials, tells these web crawlers that your site is offering valuable substance to your audience. Encouraging your customers to leave comments and review photos of them interacting with their products will help improve your SEO performance by allowing you to rank for long-tail keywords.
Brand awareness? User-generated content is also phenomenal at expanding your audience. User-generated content by way of an online contest does wonders for getting your brand name out into the world. And who doesn’t like a good contest? Free incentives motivate real users to spread the word about your brand, in turn, increasing your reach. If you run a giveaway where you offer consumers an entry ticket for every photo they share of your product with their friends, your company will likely start trending on social media. As your mentions, reposts, and referrals increase, so does your audience.
User-generated content also allows you to improve customer service. General assumptions will only get you so far. Reviews and feedback offer invaluable insight into your consumers’ real experiences. Getting a true survey of your brand’s fans’ experiences with your product will allow you to adapt, identify problems, and swiftly address recurring issues. Feedback forums not only allow consumers to feel they are being heard, but they also encourage users to stay on your site longer, as they engage with other customers.
By increasing engagement, user-generated content ultimately strengthens users’ connection to the brand. Brand loyalty is powerful. Allowing users to contribute to your site and identify with the views of other real users helps consumers feel more connected to you. Users will feel you truly value their opinions and they will be more eager to return to your site and share their experiences. Reward consumers by curating a showcase of their product photos in a gallery on your site or alongside product pages. This will encourage visitors to make a purchase and share it in the hope of being featured. Plus, you’ll save money on stock or house photography.
Giving consumers the opportunity to market your brand through user-generated content helps your most valuable consumers truly feel valued and in turn broadens both your reach and sales.