Whether it’s photos of restaurant dishes or product reviews on Amazon; customers are evangelizing and advertising for brands all the time, for free. User generated content represents the innumerable ways in which a customer interacts with your brand. Implementing a strong user generated content strategy helps your company build credibility with existing and potential customers which translates to conversions.
A recent study by Elon University found that 65% of consumers trust word of mouth on the internet more than advertising content. More importantly, it demonstrates that UGC has a direct effect on conversions. Over 66% of consumers said they rely heavily on user generated content when making purchasing decisions.
“You know the challenge now, is there is so much information out there. We want information at our fingertips immediately,” states Al Lalani, Chief Strategist at Annex Cloud. “With the advent of social media, I can pull up my phone and I can essentially get an answer very quickly.”
When customers post images, article and reviews, they create authentic moments of connection between consumer and company: a personal experience is being crafted which a brand, on its own, cannot. “Sometimes when those answers are powered by brands, they’re often considered not as trustworthy. Or maybe it’s not answer the context of what I’m looking for in terms of using that product,” said Lalani. “People don’t trust brands as much anymore, they trust their peers for answers.”
Everyone has the potential to be an influencer. While the jury may still be out on the efficacy and desirability of that title, social media, Yelp, Amazon and other tools give consumers the power to influence the perception of a brand more than ever before. The question then, is how to get your customers to start influencing for your company.
The most popular method of generating UGC is through a unique hashtag with 72% of shoppers being influenced by Instagram. Developing a unique hashtag and branding your messaging with CTAs is a great way to create brand awareness through UGC.
However, before you begin thinking of the best Instagram hashtag for your company, it is important to identify your customers’ habits. Also consider their use of the platforms, implementing visual commerce, and trying different CTA strategies. A great UGC strategy on Instagram stems out of great content, so be sure to find ways to standout in your social media strategy.
When scrolling through user-generated reviews of your product, remember to follow up with positive reviewers as well as negative ones. Responding to a negative reviewer can lead to a positive outcome, hopefully resulting in the removal of the negative review. But creating a relationship with a positive reviewer could lead to further brand evangelism from that consumer. Implementing Ratings & Reviews directly into your strategy doesn’t just celebrate the positive reviews, but increases the amount of reviews as well.
It certainly helps to have hundreds of positive reviews on Yelp or Amazon, but when things go negative, remember to be the company that cares. Do your best to show your genuine concern for a possible bad experience with your company or product. This will help generate positive feelings from more potential customers.
Also, a few negative reviews on any review site help to ensure customers that what they’re reading is truthful. A whitewashed review page of only glowing feedback will lead customers to believe that they’re reading reviews written by the company itself.
If you want to reach a new audience, connect with your consumers’ community, or build brand credibility; there is no better way than influencer marketing. In a recent survey, 59% of marketers reported that they plan to increase their influencer budget in the coming year. Remember to identify the demographic your target influencers and see if those align with that of your brand. It’s also super important to have a plan of handling all of that, the influencer marketing management platform is a great option of doing so.
Identifying potential influencers is a great way to create and control experiences for potential consumers. Wherever you see a spike in likes or comments about your brand, you may be encountering a micro-influencer. These are people with smaller followings, but who are still valuable nonetheless. Remember to pursue both paid and unpaid sponsorships with any and all influencers.
Not ready to begin paid advertising and influencer campaigns? If you have a large enough following, you might consider a content contest campaign. Tap into your company’s following by offering prizes for posting images of your products with a dedicated hashtag. Design Within Reach saw an increased million impressions and 238% lift in engagement during their Champagne Chair Contest, in which their DIY-friendly customers submitted images of miniature chairs build with champagne bottle corks. Designing and implementing social media/content contests are a great way to build customer engagement and boost UGC.
Research shows that companies that incorporated UGC into their websites see an 18% increase in revenue. There are many ways to incorporate UGC into your marketing efforts, and very few reasons not to. If you are considering implementing UGC campaigns, consider Annex Cloud. With years of experience as an industry leader in referral and loyalty marketing, Annex Cloud has been on the forefront of successful UGC campaigns for hundreds of retail companies. Want to talk to the UGC specialists? Talk to us at Annex Cloud today!