You’re in the market for a new toaster, with two options. A friend has the first one and raves about how good it is. The second one, on the other hand, has a great product description on the site. Which one do you buy?
Chances are you’re going to go with the first one. Why? Because people trust people, not brands.
Word of mouth has always been the best way to get products out there. And with the increasing popularity of social media, and the emergence of influencers, the game is changing. It’s no longer just about getting people talking about your products. Most shoppers’ first port of call when deciding to buy a product is to look online.
So, how do you use users’ images and reviews to further benefit your business? Read on as we discuss the best techniques and some great examples of how it’s done.
What is user-generated content?
First things first, you can’t use something to our benefit if you don’t understand it. User-generated content (UGC) isn’t a new concept, but the way it’s used is changing.
UGC, generally speaking, is any content that is published online by users of a platform, including images, videos, blogs and audio.
So, how can ecommerce businesses utilise this content to boost their bottom line?
- Buyers are highly motivated by others. If someone else makes a purchase, and shares their pleasant experience, you are typically more likely to buy that product.
- UCG can have a high visual impact. While product descriptions and reviews are important, nothing matches the influence of a well-taken photo or video displaying the product.
- Social media is huge. The increasing popularity of platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter offers ecommerce businesses the perfect way to target a wider audience
- UGC is a low-cost form of promotion for ecommerce companies. Some businesses pay influencers to advertise their products. But some simply ask social media users if they can use their photo in a campaign – for free.
How is UGC used?
Companies can use UGC in different ways to promote their products. The most popular social media platform for generating business using UGC is Instagram. The user-friendly, diverse and stylish nature of the platform makes it popular with both companies and users. So much so that in 2017 Instagram had 800 million users!
How your business makes the most of user-generated content depends on the type of company you run, and who your target audience is. Here are some examples…
1. Beauty Bay
Make up and skincare stockists, Beauty Bay, know how to use social media to their advantage. Their customers use their products, then post the results to social media along with the associated hashtag. Beauty Bay can then simply lift and re-use the images on their own social media pages, which are great real-life examples for their followers.
In short, Beauty Bay gets real-life images to use on their site that doesn’t cost them a penny.
2. Go Pro
Similar to Beauty Bay, Go Pro makes use of their customer’s Instagram posts to share on their own page. This acts as free advertising and displays the real-life use of their products. Go Pro does this by monitoring their hashtags on Instagram and selecting their favourite images. After contacting the user and gaining their permission, Go Pro can then simply share the image to their page.
3. New Look
New Look aims to obtain UGC by requesting reviews from recent shoppers. Actively seeking reviews, particularly about recent purchases, increases the likelihood of shoppers writing positive reviews. Over time, this will help to increase sales, capitalising on consumers’ high trust in other people.
Getting your brand out there
One huge benefit of using UGC in ecommerce is the wide reach possible with social media. Sending your products to just 10 influencers, all with 100,000 followers each, could mean 1,000,000 people seeing your products in a very short space of time.
Nowadays, many of us spend hours on end glued to our phones, scrolling through social media. Without even realising it, we are influenced by what we see. If someone you follow is positively promoting a product, chances are you’re going to want to try it too.
In this everchanging world, ecommerce companies must be prepared to make some changes in order to keep up. Whether that means making your site more user-friendly or sending your products to various YouTubers to get your name known – it will no-doubt be worth it in the long run.
How to leverage UGC
It’s one thing knowing you need to make the most of user-generated content. It’s another knowing how to do so. Of course, you can do as we discussed above and get your products out to established social media users to share your name. But, you should also consider the type of brand you want to create and whether the selected methods represent that.
1. What are your company values?
First of all, think about what your company wants to represent. Do you value inclusion? Do you run a charity alongside your business? Does your company donate any of their profits?
Anything that makes your business stand out in a good way is worth promoting. If you’re a beauty company that values inclusion, for instance, selecting reviews or images from a variety of people with different skin types and colours will help you promote this message.
2. What are the benefits of your products?
As with anything, people are less likely to buy into a product unless they can justify the benefits outweighing the costs. When marketing your products, particularly when using UGC, it’s important to make the benefits clear.
Target your UGC depending on the key benefits you want to promote. If, for example, your products make life easier for parents and guardians, you’re going to want to get content from those groups – your target audience.
3. What could users get?
Typically, people are more likely to do something if they get something back. If you want customers to create content for you, offering them something in return is going to produce better results.
Some brands offer a small discount in exchange for a review, but Marc Jacobs took it one step further in their campaign. Using the hashtag #CastMeMarc, the luxury retailer gave Instagram users the chance to be a model in their next campaign. As expected, this generated thousands of responses, giving Marc Jacobs free and abundant marketing.
Boost your business with Bing Digital
Making the most of user-generated content could be the difference between your company taking off or not. At Bing Digital, we offer bespoke ecommerce sites for our customers. Our expert team specialise in Magento websites, tailored to suit your company and target market. We can provide support and advice to help you take advantage of social media and UGC.
Any questions? Be sure to contact our team today for more information.