ENCOURAGING USER GENERATED CONTENT FOR YOUR eCOMMERCE BRAND
A Guest Blog Post By Patrick Foster
“User Generated Content” (UGC) is becoming increasingly important for many types of businesses, but it is especially useful for eCommerce brands.
In fact, some are even predicting that it is the future of eCommerce.
Why is this?
It’s because UGC helps your brand to form a more personal connection with your customers.
It adds a creative edge, improves your SEO, functions as social proof, and can boost your conversion rate optimization.
Knowing all this, how can you make the most of UGC for your brand?
Here are some hacks that you can use to start taking advantage of the benefits today.
Get More Product Reviews
Shoppers enjoy reading product reviews before they buy anything online.
In fact, many people have come to expect to find reviews on eCommerce websites.
If you don’t have reviews on your product pages, new visitors may be less sure about parting with their cash.
People are far more likely to trust their fellow shoppers than they are your marketing department.
If another customer says the product is fantastic, they are more likely to believe them.
The simple fact that they have been written by an independent customer based on their own experiences makes product reviews compelling and persuasive.
On top of that, the language they use is persuasive.
Product reviews are written in plain English using a more genuine tone of voice.
They highlight some of the negatives as well as the positives, which your own product descriptions are unlikely to do.
This all increases trust for new visitors.
One more benefit is the SEO advantages.
You are getting large amounts of keyword-rich content added to your website for free.
What’s more, this content is full of the exact words and phrases that your target customers will use to search for your products — keywords that you may never have thought of yourself.
To get more reviews, first you need a place to add them.
This should ideally be on the product page right where shoppers will see them before adding to their carts to give them a final push.
Then you should simply start asking for reviews.
Follow up with your customers a few days after they have received their purchase and ask for their feedback.
Provide them with a link where they can leave it and make it really easy for them.
You could even prompt them with questions so they don’t have to think too hard.
Make this a regular practice and build up your reviews over time.
Don’t worry about negative reviews — everyone gets them.
As long as most are positive, you’ll be fine.
Encourage Customers To Send Their Images
Images are another great way to make use of UGC on your e-commerce website, and they can help to bring product reviews to life.
When new shoppers arrive and consider buying a product, they will see a previous customer’s photos of them using the product.
This can be very persuasive.
If they see another customer using the product and enjoying their purchase, this adds power to a product review and makes it more effective.
An amateur photo taken by a customer can be more powerful than all your fancy professional photos.
It means people don’t have to imagine how the product will improve their lives because now they can see it for themselves.
Get More Video Reviews
If images are a powerful form of UGC, videos take things even further.
With a video, there is the implication that someone has gone to a greater effort to review your product.
You can encourage videos in the same way as you encourage standard product reviews.
Don’t worry about the quality of the videos because you have no control over this — it’s the fact that the videos are genuine that matters.
If anything, it makes the sentiment feel more authentic.
Video Is More Popular Than Ever
People love watching videos on their phones, and many shoppers are keen to watch another customer share their experiences, especially when they can see the products being used.
On top of that, videos can also encourage visitors to stay longer on your site, browse more of your pages, engage more and, ultimately, buy more.
Video is also a great way for small ecommerce businesses to grow their consumer base quickly.
Speaking from personal experience, I have seen a number of fledgling enterprises create a loyal following based on UGC video techniques.
For example, rather than just encouraging people to upload video reviews, try to get them to be more creative.
Videos could show unboxing, using the products, product tutorials and demonstrations, creative uses for the products, and more.
This is especially good for electronics industries, whose typical audience are highly engaged with the latest gadgets and await their unveiling with anticipation.
Find any tech and gadget site online, and you’ll see plenty of user-generated content featuring hotly anticipating unboxing videos.
Actively encourage your followers to do the same and share the best ones on your website.
They get recognition and their 15 minutes of fame, and you get some valuable social proof that will net you sales and engagement.
Increase Engagement On Social Media
One of the places where UGC is most important is social media.
You can use all of the above on your social accounts as well as on your websites to build engagement around your brand.
One of the best ways to do this is to launch a competition.
Choose a product or a category of products, then get your community to upload photos or videos of themselves using your products in some way.
It could be the most unusual ways they use your product, strangest place they have used your product, or one the best things they have created using it.
Get creative and have fun.
Try to come up with something that will inspire people to get involved, then create a whole campaign around it.
Upload the best to your blog, send out press releases, and build buzz.
This will help to spread the word about your brand, build more trust, and hopefully generate more business.
These are some of the best ways that you can use UGC for your e-commerce store.
Think about how you might use it, whether using text, images, or videos, or launch your first competition or campaign on social media.
Get creative and have fun, and start encouraging product reviews for your product pages today.
Patrick Foster is a web marketer and eCommerce business developer who has worked in the industry as a consultant for several years.
Today, he turns his talents to blogging on eCommerce Tips, a resource and knowledge library aimed at helping aspiring eCommerce entrepreneurs get ahead in the industry.
For all the latest posts, find him on Twitter @MyeCommerceTips.
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