User-generated content for ecommerce is arguably the most effective way to promote your brand and product. This is one of the primary reasons social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are popular for ecommerce marketers and shoppers. For example, over 50% of women get shopping advice from social media.
That's a lot of people going on such platforms to particularly search for peer advice on what items to purchase. Simply put, consumers want to know what other people think about your brand and product. According to Bright Local, 94% of consumers state that positive customer reviews make them more likely to patronize a business.
For these reasons and much more, user-generated content has become a powerful and effective way for businesses to build credibility, promote their offers, and boost sales.
So, if you don't use user-generated content yet, it’s time to get started . Also, if you already get content from your customers, our guide will show you how to amplify your efforts to position your business for long-term growth and increased sales.
We will cover the top tools, strategies, platforms, and step-by-step instructions on how to get and manage user-generated content for ecommerce.
Let's get started.
What is User Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content or user-created content is any type of content such as audio, text, images, and videos that customers create and post on online platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest. Further, UGC can be posted directly to the brand’s site in the form of a review, or sent to the brand to be leveraged for marketing purposes. This type of content can be generated at request or organically.
Why You Should Leverage User Generated Content for Ecommerce
55% of shoppers trust user-generated content more than every other type of marketing or advertising. In fact, 85% of web users state that user-generated content is more influential in their purchasing decisions than the videos and images that a brand creates.
With the above said, here are the top reasons every brand should consider user-generated content for ecommerce to grow their business and satisfy primary KPIs.
1. User-Generated Content Shows Your Product in Use
Say that you are a consumer and you want to purchase a pair of gym pants from GymShark, you may have questions about the size and fit of the outfit. What do you do? Would you rely on textual descriptions and brand images or prefer to see how it fits on real people? Probably the last option, just like most consumers.
For a company like GymShark, they handle UGC excellently, especially on Instagram. So all you’d need to do is head over to their Instagram page, view their numerous UGC content that shows their products in use like the below to get a better idea of the fit and style.
To further assist shoppers with understanding the fit of their clothing via UGC, GymShark created a “Fits” highlight on their Instagram page.
So rather than viewing brand descriptions, the shopper can see the same information in visual format from a co-customer and in use to get a stronger impression of the offer. Written descriptions are still crucial but the user-generated content enables the shopper to create a relatable connection for trust with your product before they get into the written descriptions.
The user-generated content will help the consumer see your product in use by real people and in the ecommerce space where trust is non-negotiable, this is invaluable.
2. User-Generated Content Boosts Word-of-Mouth
A great benefit of user-generated content is that it can be leveraged to boost word-of-mouth - one of the most powerful marketing channels every ecommerce business should consider implementing. Consumers have a higher probability of purchasing a product based on the recommendation of a friend or family member than even a celebrity.
Take the brand, Riff Raff & Co, for example, their target audience is toddler moms. So they got toddler moms who had purchased their product (toddler sleep toys) and were pleased with it to promote the offer via social media platforms. And in exchange for the gesture, they'll get a free sleeping toy for their toddler.
What better way to convince a toddler mom about how good a toy is for her child than with another toddler mom who has both bought and used it?
How to Get User-Generated Content for Ecommerce
There are a couple of excellent ways you can have customers post their content for your ecommerce brand - you can request it directly in exchange for a reward, leverage on influencers, use creators from a creator marketplace, and lots more as we'll see.
Let's look at these ways individually.
1. Offer Rewards to Customers in Exchange for User Generated Content
Here's an example. Outdoor ecommerce brand Moosejaw gives a free Moosejaw flag to consumers who want to participate in their #lovethemadness campaign. The recipients in return are then invited to share visuals of themselves using the flag when on outdoor adventures.
The strategy is simple: offer a gift to customers to motivate them to participate in your UGC campaigns. And if the gift is relevant enough to your target audience, you can expect tons of submissions for the project.
For practicality, a great way to request and collect user generated content is with a product review app such as Okendo. Okendo is a customer marketing solution that provides the necessary tools businesses need to capture and display high-impact user content such as customer videos or photos, product reviews and ratings. Simply put, it's an all-in-one tool for gathering user-generated content.
Here’s how it works:
- Offer your target audience a relevant gift in exchange for their content.
- Use Okendo to solicit user-generated content from current customers via automated emails.
- Use Okendo to display and organize the content on your site as social proof to get other users to join in.
2. Leverage Creators through a Marketplace
The idea behind user-generated content for ecommerce is that prospects trust the opinion of other consumers more than that of the brand. So, if you get everyday people to honestly review your product on high-quality video after shipping them a sample, you can use the content to compel prospects to make a purchase.
A great solution to use for this is Billo. The service offers vetted video creators that you can choose from. Then you just have to ship your products to the one you choose, and they'll create a customer perspective video about your products which you can then post on your website or social media pages as user-generated content.
Another great solution for this is Influee. Just like Billo, it allows you to receive custom branded user-generated content on-demand from real people.
3. Find Individual Creators on Facebook Through Groups
There's a Facebook group for literally everything and user-generated content creators are no exception. These Facebook groups for user content host tons of consumers who are willing to review your products either for free or at a small cost. All you need to do is join such groups and post content about your product to engage with the community and then request reviewers. Here is an example of such Facebook groups:
That said, unlike with platforms that vet their content creators, most Facebook groups do not. So you will have to do the vetting yourself before sending off a sample of your product to persons in the particular group for an honest opinion and content about your offer.
4. Leverage Influencers
Influencers are extremely valuable to any ecommerce business. However, most brands look outwards to discover influencers that can promote the brand but forget that some of the most relevant influencers may already be customers. This can be a better approach to finding influencers to promote your brand, as you're certain that the influencer already uses your product, so working with them to promote will be more natural..
You can use a tool like Gatsby to discover which of your customers are influencers and then sync the data to your marketing stack to initiate automated flows. This way, the moment customers who are influencers purchase from your brand, you can automatically identify them and reach out to them requesting user-generated content.
That said, it'll be a lot easier if you include an incentive with the request to increase your chances of working out a deal. Just because a customer likes a product doesn't mean they'll want to promote it. But with the right incentive, they could. And if you want to find new influencers, Grin is a fantastic solution.
5. Encourage Customers to Post on Instagram and Tag your Brand or Use your Branded Hashtag
There are tons of examples of the impact that Instagram hashtags can have on your user-generated content campaign. Take Outdoor ecommerce retailer, REI, for example. The brand shut down its online store on Black Friday and encouraged customers to spend some time outdoors, take pictures, and post it with the hashtag #OptOutside. The campaign received 1.2 billion social impressions with 1.4 million people spending Black Friday outdoors.
Another great example is from the athletic apparel brand, Rhone. Their customers post photos on Instagram wearing Rhone products and tag the brand as well as use the hashtag #wheninrhone. In exchange, the brand features the consumer in a roundup and uses the posts with the hashtag as user-generated content by reposting it on their Instagram feed.
That said, you can still get user-generated content for ecommerce without launching a campaign. Using a tool like FourSixty, you can be notified when customers make brand-relevant posts about your products. With its UGC aggregation engine, you can place such content from Instagram at the forefront of your customer's shopping experience. You'll easily find using this tool the most influential and best posts that @mention or tag your brand.
User-generated content for ecommerce is arguably the most powerful way to compel prospects to purchase from your business. However, to effectively use this approach you need the right strategies and tools. In this article, we've reviewed the top strategies such as offering the right incentives, leveraging creator marketplaces and Facebook groups, and taking advantage of Instagram hashtags. But these techniques require the right tools like Influee, Billo, and Gatsby to make the process seamless. Follow the tips in this article to know how to match a strategy with the right tools and watch your user-generated content game amplify!