Halloween is the spookiest time of the year, but there isn’t anything scary about the ROI of user-generated content marketing (UGC). For some time, it has been a best practice in ecommerce to include one or two pieces of UGC, often customer photos and reviews, at the bottom of a catalog page. We’re now moving into a practice called “Social Commerce” where the top brands are using UGC throughout their funnels from awareness to advocacy.
UGC creates an authentic connection between brand and customer, and is a compelling tactic to include in a merchandising strategy. It supports product awareness when used on organic social, paid social, and paid search. The best way to use UGC to boost sales is to use it throughout your entire funnel.
Getting started: User-generated content marketing and Halloween
Halloween, and other holidays, are times when people are eager to share photos and other content. It’s a great time for brands to grow their available content through UGC efforts. This lets you turn your customers into content engines and creates a wealth of visual media that can be repurposed throughout the year.
The easiest way to start the user-generated content engine is to ask your customers to create and make it easy for them to share it.
User-generated content is anything made by the consumer, as opposed to the brand itself. It could be photos, videos, status updates, reviews, blogs, and more. The effectiveness of brand-created advertising has been shown to be decreasing. People are looking for connection, authenticity, and brands they can trust.
Think about the last time you ordered something from an ecommerce site. You likely scrolled down to see the ratings, reviews, and commentary from other people. A study by Social Times shows that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content.
Overall, 81% of consumers now rely on UGC when forming their purchase decisions.
Make it easy for customers to share
First, ensure your customers can easily find and reference your social handles and any associated hashtags. Your handles and preferred hashtags should be present on landing pages, customer nurtures, emails, receipts, and checkout pages.
Brands often find success in directing customers to specialized contest landing pages that accept content from a variety of sources like social, direct upload, and SMS messaging.
Be specific on content needs
Ask your customers to generate the type of content you want. Multiple studies have shown that customers are up to 50% more inclined to create a specific type of UGC when prompted. This could be asking them to write a review on a specific site, share a photo to a specific hashtag, or otherwise capture their engagement with a specialized landing page.
Listen and aggregate
You should implement a content aggregation or social listening program. The best tools will be able to monitor multiple channels to find the UGC your customers are sharing. Yes, some of it can be done natively on social platforms. But as your brand grows and your customers increasingly produce content, you’ll need to deploy a more robust scalable solution. Being inundated with too much content is a good thing!
Launch a contest or campaign
If content creation is slow, you should consider launching a contest or hashtag campaign. The best contests will have multiple avenues to participate including a hashtag, social mentions, direct submission, and SMS/text message submission. We’ll explore some noteworthy UGC campaigns below.