When you wear a new running shoe or a new shade of lipstick and you absolutely love it, you’d click a pic and send it to your friends or even post it on your social media page, wouldn’t you?
You are here inadvertently endorsing the brands through your pics. The opposite is also possible. When people are unhappy about a purchase, they express their displeasure through public forums.
These expressions of happiness or displeasure from customers fall under the category of user-generated content(UGC).
UGC refers to all the different types of content- comments, blogs, photos, videos, podcasts – that your customers voluntarily post about your product or service. The content created can be positive or negative depending upon the individual’s experience with your brand. With the high influence of social media, UGC has become so powerful that it can make or break your business.
For businesses that offer valuable, good-quality products/services, UGC organically builds up over a period of time. To speed up this process and to spread the word quickly to the maximum number of potential customers, the brands can adopt certain methods.
Listed below are some of the ways in which you can engage your customers and encourage them to create UGC.
1. Customer reviews
Customer reviews are a powerful form of UGC that can attract new customers to your brand. Review requests can be sent to customers through emails or messaging applications to collect star ratings, text reviews, photo reviews, and video reviews of your product/service. The reviews collected can be showcased on your website or product page to improve the credibility of your brand.
Review requests which were traditionally sent through emails can now be sent via WhatsApp using the Shopify review app, Reviewbit. Reviewbit lets you automate the entire process of sending review requests via WhatsApp so that you can collect a larger number of reviews effortlessly. Reviewbit also helps you showcase these reviews on your home/product/collection page in eye-catching widgets.
2. Hashtag campaigns
Hashtag campaigns are a great way to generate UGC. Create unique and easy-to-remember hashtags and share them with your customers. The #RedCupContest is a very successful Starbucks hashtag campaign.
By creating hashtag campaigns, you are actually guiding the customers to create the type of content that you need. Even when customers are creating content randomly, without any guidelines, you will get tons of content. But they will be mostly unusable and will not serve your purpose.
3. Create a challenge
Come up with a challenge that excites your customers and you are sure to get lots of amazing content for your brand. For example, fitness trainers or brands can start a 30-day fitness challenge to promote their brand.
Well-planned and executed challenges can go viral on social media and attract thousands of followers and potential customers to your brand.
4. Reward your customers
Incentivizing the content created is an extremely vital step. You can provide discount coupons or gift vouchers to your customers for the content created.
5. Blogs/ social media posts
Constantly update your blogs and social media pages and encourage your customers to interact with you through comments and discussions. Make sure you respond to all the comments and discussions that come up in your blogs and other posts.
6. Create communities/ forums
Communities allow interaction between people who share similar interests. You can create a community on Facebook/LinkedIn/ Instagram or an online forum on your brand’s website. By creating a community, you get all your target audience in a single location. Your community will have members who have an emotional connection with your brand. This community will be a breeding ground for content in favor of your brand.
7. Q & A
Another method to prompt customers to create content is by asking questions related to your product/service. Ask thought-provoking questions and post them in online communities or on your social media pages.
With a little bit of planning and strategizing, UGC created by customers can be utilized by the brands in their marketing efforts to attract potential leads.
Benefits of UGC
- Creates trust in the brand- Unlike the advertisements and other content created by brands themselves, the content created by users is seen as authentic, unbiased opinions. So, they help improve the credibility of your brand.
- Improves SEO- UGC boosts SEO and helps drive more traffic to your website. Simply adding customer reviews to websites has proven to increase organic page visits.
- Free promotion- UGC acts like a free-of-cost promotion for your brand. It can be used along with other marketing techniques to promote your brand. UGC is found to be 9.8x more impactful than influencer content in triggering purchase decisions.
- Triggers shopping decisions- Customers who are hesitant to make purchase decisions can be prompted to take action by adding UGC to your product page. 79% of customers say UGC influences their shopping decisions.
- Gain customer perspectives- UGC is a rich source of information regarding customer likes and dislikes. They will help you mould your products/services according to customer preferences.
How to handle negative UGC
Along with positive content, customers are sure to post negative feedback and comments on a product at one time or the other. Negative user feedback can have a huge impact on your business. But, with the right handling of this feedback, brands can turn these in their favor. A timely, empathetic response is sure to pacify the most dissatisfied customers. Negative user responses are actually a good opportunity to showcase your business ethics. Get tips on how to handle negative feedback.
It all starts with brands developing a strong online presence in the form of websites and social media pages and creating avenues for customers to interact with them and send feedback. UGC created across online platforms in the form of written reviews, photos, videos, podcasts, comments, discussions, etc can have a tremendous impact on business. 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than content created by brands themselves.
Of the different techniques that you can adopt to generate UGC, one simple, fun and cost-effective method is by sending review requests. By installing the Shopify Review application, Reviewbit, you get a hassle-free method to collect and display user-generated content in the form of text reviews, photo reviews and video reviews. Add Reviewbit to your store, today!