Building a brand, creating content, mustering up a marketing strategy, and making its materials are tasks that are a must for the survival and success of an e-commerce business. The quality of the content will highly affect your sales traction, customer perception, and trust in your brand. Thus, you must ensure that you make the best of them.
The problems encountered generally fall into three buckets. First, the content and implementation may be costly. Gartner’s research revealed that marketing spending ranges from 6.4% to 9.5% of revenues. It may be a high cost, especially for E-commerce startups where revenues are not that high.
Second, it’s not easy to create content. There are many factors to assess to lead to a successful content start; customer preferences, activity, current trends, etc. Plus, though surprisingly, the majority of marketers, still need a consistent content strategy.
Third, building a good brand means that you should earn your audience’s and customers’ trust. But it’s hard to earn such trust with just your words and good marketing. It would be best if you had someone to back up your claims.
This is where User-Generated Content becomes a gold mine.
What is User-Generated Content?
Firstly we should ask, what is user-generated content anyway?
User-generated content is content made about and around your product. The content is made by people who are outside your company. User-generated contents are organic, meaning you don’t have to put any effort or influence to get them.
If you are not rewarding the creators, why do they make this user-generated content? How does it benefit them?
That’s actually one of the answers. Users usually generate content independently when they are under strong emotions. When your product or service gives them great benefits or makes them at least satisfied, they are likely to create content about it. Consequently, and you should beware, they also make content when they are dissatisfied with your product. So you should always ensure that you deliver them the best. And if a complaint, ticket, or negative feedback content comes out, you know how to respond and contain the situation.
People also make user-generated content to educate people. By expressing their experience with your product or brand, they inform and influence your potential customers into availing of your offer. A highly satisfied customer who submitted a review on your website is an excellent plus for others to buy your product further. Content creators also create user-generated content for you when they create content that layout options of different products and brands (and yes, even without sponsoring them) to their audience.
When people with common goals or set ideas meet online, they build a community. Online communities aim to achieve a common goal, share common ideas, or patronize a certain brand or product. When your brand or product fits into what they have in common, they share it with their community, and you get endorsed, remember, for free.
User-Generated Content for Ecommerce falls into the following categories:
1. Product Reviews
People create and publish user-generated content in communities and on your websites. These contents tell other audiences about their experience with your products and can also be a key performance indicator for you. They are a great source of feedback for your product. You’ll discover rooms for improvements and strengths to magnify, and with it, you can read more about how your current and potential customers think when choosing a product.
2. Rich Snippets
Similar to product reviews, rich snippets indicate your customers’ experience of your product. They come as ratings under search results. A high-rating rich snippet is more likely to rank up in search engine results and raise customer trust in your product.
3. Product Reviews
Remember how product reviews are created and published in communities? Comments around a product review within a community are considered user-generated content too! They either dispute the authors, provide additional insight about a product, or validate the review. Either way, boost your brand and product’s popularity.
4. Blog Posts
Bloggers also create user-generated content for E-commerce. After all, bloggers are content creators too. Blog posts create a story, an outline, or a layout of what a product is about and influence their readers’ lifestyles and choices. Bloggers usually aim to inspire and inform their readers. Blogs Posts that generate comments rank higher than articles that are benign of interactions.
5. Social Media Posts
Facebook and Instagram posts, tweets, and other posts from social media amplify your voice to a large network of people. Be it posts in the form of images, videos, or text since people love sharing their experiences. Social media posts are considered excellent user-generated content for E-commerce.
6. Brand Hashtags
Branded hashtags are hashtags that represent your store. They are unique and not yet popularly used, so you can differentiate yourself on the market. Hashtags give your customers a way to engage and interact with you. Paired with social media posts, you’ll get to surface more on your target audiences’ walls. If you plan on using branded hashtags, it’s best to incorporate a sense of belongingness to your customers and consumers like “[your brand] x Me,” “My [your brand],” and the likes
Why is User-Generated Content Valuable in E-commerce?
First off, user-generated content invokes more trust in your customers and audience. According to Zdnet.com, 92% of Consumers base the product’s worth on UGC. It’s undeniable that positive feedback from outside your company validates your claims and promises about your product.
Often, amateurs are the creators of user-generated content. Amateurs usually provide raw and unedited content. These amateur creators make these kinds of content that give their audience a sense of authenticity of how actually is their experience in availing your products, thus, increasing your credibility in the market.
Aside from authenticity, user-generated content is also a good way of connecting your brand to people. Since it is made by creators and community members whom audiences can relate to, this content gives a sense of inclusivity to their lifestyle and identity, thus also creating a sense of necessity to have your products.
User-generated content often provides the potential for great marketing content that you can sponsor. When an influencer or creator that generates content about or around you gets attention, you can channel your resources and let them endorse your product more, raising brand awareness to your target audiences to get the best out of the emerging trends. It also gives you large cost savings, as these UGC creators take a large part of experimentation for marketing content out of your marketing budget. As they say, “Don’t panic, it’s organic!”
Even for content that does not receive substantial attention, resharing user-generated content from different creators, bloggers, influencers, and reviewers on your official page will boost and widen your social reach and attract more engagement and followers.
Tips on How to Leverage User-Generated Content for ECommerce
We saw what user-generated content is, what their types are, and how they can help your E-commerce. Here now are some tips on how to leverage user-generated content for E-commerce.
1. Reshare good UGCs
One good way of leveraging user-generated content for e-commerce is simply resharing your clients’ posts about your brand and product. As discussed earlier, they increase your potential customer’s trust and relatability to your brand.
But you can do more than resharing their walls. You can also edit them before reposting them. You can graphically edit images from creators’ posts to emphasize your brand and enhance your audiences’ brand awareness. You may also edit them so that the content fits the theme you are trying to portray. This way, your target audience can relate more to what they see on your reposted user-generated content creator’s posts.
2. Product Images
As you and almost all E-commerce business owners already know, product images are a must for your website. They are the most basic reference for your customers of what they’re going to buy should look like. Since this is a crucial part of the business, you must ensure that your product pictures have the best quality and impress your customers while being as real as possible.
Adding user-generated content from creators, influencers, or blogs may help you with this. They provide context to your customers on how to use your product well. They might even open a whole new set of use cases for your product, which you might have not yet discovered, and add it to your product description.
3. In-site Shoppable Gallery
This is one of the best usages of user-generated content for E-commerce. Aside from resharing posts, you can also import them to your website. Then you can compile them and turn them into a gallery from which your customers can derive inspiration. In-site Shoppable Galleries are great for E-commerce as they provide context for your customers of what combinations of your products fit them from looking at the UGC you imported as a reference.
4. Incorporation of UGC into your social ad
Social promotions only have a few seconds to catch their audiences’ attention and make them click through them. Upon seeing user-generated content from a user, your audiences can relate to increasing their interest in your product, or adding a product review will increase their trust in what you’re selling.
5. Creating Brand Hashtags
Communities help Ecommerce businesses widen their social reach. And communities and blog posts usually start with just one story. That story can start with developing your brand’s hashtag strategies. Brand hashtags may separate your brands and give inclusivity to your audiences. It invites people to work around you and create user-generated content for you. What’s good is that hashtags can be a starting common idea among the people using such hashtags and may jumpstart a community that is co-anchored with your brand.
User Generated Content is the pinnacle of growth when it comes to building your brand awareness. Not only does it curate trust in your audience it provides content for extending your organic reach. Use these to your advantage and you’ll quickly get your E-commerce more traction to success and growth.