User-generated content is any content shared by customers based on their experience with a product or brand. UGC influences customer purchase decisions, unlike any other factor. Want to know how? This blog covers all that and more - along with how to leverage UGC to turn customers into advocates!
People trust recommendations from other people. However, this doesn't imply that paid reviews and sponsored testimonials are effective. Customers, like businesses, have evolved; they only trust organic reviews and suggestions, which is where user-generated content comes in.
Marketers use user/customer-generated content as a website conversion strategy to influence a customer's purchase decision.
But does it work?
Almost 98% of eCommerce customers check online reviews before making a purchase, and another 66% are likely to purchase after reading a review. Now, this makes customer-generated content a necessity to increase sales as it is authentic.
It's getting customer-generated content that is the real challenge for online stores. Well, this blog will answer all your queries regarding user-generated content and how it can help you transform your customers into advocates.
User-Generated Content (UGC) is content like text, videos, images, reviews, feedback, etc., created and shared by customers based on their experience. Customer-generated content is organic; there is no hidden payment or sponsorship behind it.
According to 87% of all search engine results, user-generated content is the second most powerful factor influencing a purchase choice.
Unlike paid campaigns and reviews, UGC is recognized to be the most dependable, credible, and original form of content since customers generate it based on their experience. These features make UGC the best website conversion strategy for marketers.
As user-generated content results from a customer's experience with the brand, it's more authentic than paid reviews and more credible than influencer reviews.
60% of marketers believe authenticity is key to increasing conversions, and there's no authentic form of content than UGC. Moreover, customer-generated content influences the purchase decisions of 86% of millennials and GenZers.
However, just because customers trust UGC doesn't mean you can publish fake customer-generated content.
Improved Customer Loyalty and Experience
Instead of being an outsider, UGC allows customers to engage and contribute to the brand directly. This significantly impacts brand loyalty and experience since customers thrive on being a part of something bigger than themselves. Providing UGC enables them to be a part of a business's community.
Asking for user-generated content or featuring it on your site or social media goes a long way. Customers will love how you treat their opinions; it'll show how much you value them as partners. This, in turn, delivers a positive customer experience, enhances customer loyalty and retention rates, and generates positive word-of-mouth.
Experts say that 9 out of 10 people purchase a product based on recommendations from others. The reason? Customers generate those recommendations based on their real experiences. No other content can offer this kind of sophistication than UGC.
As 90% of customers trust brands that showcase UGC, you can use it as a trust signal to influence purchase decisions.
You can also personalize your website by displaying UGC relevant to customers' recent search history and interactions.
Increased Customer Engagement
Increasing audience engagement with your social profiles will reflect back to your online store.
Audiences tend to engage better with customer-generated social media posts when compared to other posts. This is an effective way to increase engagement and brand awareness without spending a dime.
Moreover, existing customers will be encouraged to participate since they will be featured in branded marketing, leading to increased fulfilment and customer loyalty.
Influenced Purchase Decisions
User-generated content is extremely important in the checkout phases of the purchasing journey, where you want to convince your customers to make a purchase.
A staggering 70% of users consider ratings and reviews before purchasing. Likewise, a minimum of 41% of customers read 4 to 7 reviews to learn more about the product.
You can thus display reviews, testimonials, photos, or videos on the checkout page as a website conversion strategy.
If your business has financial constraints, you can invest your efforts in UGC, bringing conversions greater than any paid website conversion strategy.
UGC will not empty your pocket; all you have to do is provide your customers something unique to engage with, like hashtag campaigns.
You don't even need a dedicated team of experts to get started with UGC. Just invest in a user-generated content platform that will collect valuable content created by your customers and make it available for all your marketing efforts.
Let's look at four popular ways brands generate and implement UGC to increase brand awareness and sales:
Social media is one of the best user-generated content platforms. It's hard to keep your online business and social media apart; after all, it's the dwelling place for most of your customers.
Make the most of social media and strategically place your customer-generated content to encourage customers as GoPro did:
Customers love to share their opinions on brands on social media, especially on Instagram. You can use this UGC and showcase them to boost audience engagement.
Reviews and Testimonials
More than 70% of shoppers say they read product reviews before completing a purchase. Customer testimonials are thus one of the popular user-generated content examples.
You can encourage customers to write reviews or testimonials after they purchase a product. Some brands offer gifts and points as incentives to write product reviews; this also increases customer engagement and loyalty.
Amazon displays UGC as reviews; this demonstrates the transparency of the brands, which increases credibility and boosts sales.
The recent trend most online businesses have been using for customer-generated content is hashtags. You can run a campaign to encourage customers to share their experiences via hashtags.
We all know Nike's popular hashtag, #justdoit. It has over 20 million followers on Instagram and is widely regarded as the greatest hashtag campaign ever. Nike uses the Just do it hashtag campaign as their major avenue of acquiring user-generated content.
You can do the same for your brand by developing simple, relevant hashtags.
Video is a highly efficient way to build user-generated content irrespective of your brand. It can let your customers connect with you in ways other forms of media cannot.
Reports say that videos created by users have 10 times higher views than brands' official videos.
For example, GoPro introduced a new challenge called #gopromilliondollarchallenge - this hashtag spread like wildfire. Now you can see users posting videos using GoPro as part of the challenge. That's how GoPro creates cool customer-generated content without spending too much.
A brand advocate is someone who spreads positive word-of-mouth about your business by creating UGC. Here are some effective methods to employ to convert customers into brand advocates:
Define Your User-Generated Content Goals
Before initiating your campaign, you must outline your user-generated content goals.
Why do you want to run this campaign? What benefits are you expecting from this campaign? How are you going to achieve your goals?
Ensure you have answers to these questions before acquiring user-generated content.
Some of the most popular user-generated content goals used by marketers are:
Enhance Your Customer Service
Now that you've established your user-generated content goals, you can use these strategies to turn customers into advocates.
It's difficult to convert a customer into an advocate, but it's also not impossible. The easiest way to achieve this is by providing the best customer service.
Customers like it when businesses cater to their specific requirements. Customer journey mapping can be used to track their activities and provide a customized experience unique to each customer. 55% of customers say they're ready to spend more if the business offers the best service.
Sometimes, customers need a little push. Offer surprise gifts and rewards for sharing photos or videos of your products on social media.
You can also run a loyalty program and offer loyalty points to customers for purchasing, referring a friend, and writing reviews. This will help you improve customer loyalty and acquire new customers simultaneously.
Make Customers the Center of Attention
Turn the spotlight on your customers - let them be the centre of attention!
Create hashtag contests like Gopro's #gopromilliondollarchallenge and encourage customers to post videos of your product. Feature them on your social media posts, and reward them with the desired fame.
This will encourage all your customers to participate even in your future challenges/contests. Just as simple as that, you can turn them into advocates.
Be Active on Social Media
Your loyal customers probably follow all your social media pages, and you must maintain that relationship. Furthermore, social media is a wonderful venue for building a unique brand voice and personalizing your brand for your target audience based on their activity.
Post engaging content that persuades your customer to create UGC. Indulging your customers through your content will help you increase their loyalty by making them feel like they're contributing something valuable to your brand.
Ask for Feedback
Sometimes, all you have to do to turn customers into brand advocates is just ask.
Ask your customers to leave feedback relevant to their website experience and product. Your loyal customers will come forward by themselves to spread word-of-mouth with reviews and testimonials.
Plus, you can also learn about their pain points through feedback and improve customer experience, creating better UGC.
According to experts, UGC is considerably more beneficial than paid marketing strategies since customers value authenticity. No wonder brands seek out user-generated content to build trust and a devoted customer base.
Prominent brands are using the approaches discussed in the blog to leverage UGC. Use them in your marketing strategy to turn customers into brand advocates and enhance conversions.
Looking to generate UGC with website personalization? Glood.ai can help!