Wait. Is it possible to use UGC beyond Social Media?
Well, of course, yes! User-generated content (UGC) is rapidly evolving from a niche marketing tactic to a fundamental component of content marketing strategies. Despite its growing popularity, often brands are not able to use the earned content effectively, resulting in wasting most part of it. Good news is that UGC is powerful even beyond social media.
The rising focus on UGC is not without merit, as it brings numerous benefits, such as enhancing customer satisfaction, enabling brands to better understand their audience, fostering a sense of community among users, and bolstering trust through peer-reviewed content.
User-generated content (UGC) is gaining popularity because people seek authenticity. Zara, a major brand, has now begun using UGC to showcase their products on their website. UGC’s appeal has been growing since 2016, and it took Zara seven years to catch on.
People tend to trust other people, not just brands. When you see someone who looks like you wearing a blazer, you’re more likely to consider buying it.
Surprising UGC Stats That Matter
Statistics show that incorporating UGC into marketing initiatives has a substantial impact on consumer behavior. Approximately 82% of consumers are more inclined to buy from brands that integrate UGC into their marketing strategies, with 86% stating they are more likely to make a purchase when brands publish user-generated content.
However, the most compelling aspect of UGC’s significance is its positive influence on a brand’s bottom line. In 2022, website visitors exposed to UGC converted at a 3.8% higher rate, and users who interacted with UGC were 102.4% more likely to convert than the average customer, according to PowerReviews.
“In contemporary content marketing, a balanced blend of brand-created content and curated content is the norm. Most marketers have embraced re-gramming content from their enthusiastic fans, with a mix that typically comprises 25-30% of content sourced from users.”
Moreover, many brands have devised branded hashtags to track and locate this content.
Yet, the potential of UGC goes far beyond social media. Here are 12 strategies to incorporate UGC across various channels to boost engagement and drive sales:
1. Incorporate UGC in Email Campaigns
User-Generated Content (UGC) can add authenticity and engagement to email campaigns, creating a more personalized and interactive experience for recipients. Here are detailed points on how to effectively use UGC in email campaigns, its benefits to brands, and some examples:
Personalization Through Customer Stories: Use customer testimonials, reviews, or stories as a part of the email content.
Showcase Real-Life Product Usage: Incorporate photos or videos of customers using your products in real-life scenarios.
Segmented UGC for Targeted Campaigns: Segment UGC based on customer demographics, interests, or purchasing behavior to make email content more relevant.
Incorporate UGC in Newsletters: Regularly feature customer content in newsletters to keep the content fresh and engaging. Create a monthly spotlight section featuring a customer’s story or achievement related to your brand.
Use UGC for Product Launches: Leverage UGC for email campaigns focused on new product launches to generate excitement and authenticity. For a cosmetic brand’s new product launch, use UGC of early users trying and reviewing the product.
Create Interactive Contests: Engage customers by creating contests where their submissions can be featured in future email campaigns.
Feedback and Reviews Request: Encourage customers to share their feedback and reviews, promising to feature them in upcoming emails. For Example, after a purchase, send an email requesting a review with a chance to be featured in the brand’s newsletter.
UGC as Social Proof: Utilize UGC as social proof to build trust and credibility among your email subscribers. Include a section in your emails with customer ratings and reviews for best-selling products.
Seasonal Campaigns with UGC: Integrate UGC into seasonal email campaigns for a more authentic touch. During the holiday season, feature UGC showing how customers are using your products in their celebrations.
Benefits to Brands:
- Enhanced Engagement: UGC makes emails more engaging and relatable, increasing open and click-through rates.
- Builds Trust: Seeing real people use and endorse products builds trust and credibility.
- Cost-Effective: UGC is a cost-effective content strategy, reducing the need for expensive professional photoshoots.
- Encourages Loyalty: Featuring customers in brand emails can foster a sense of community and loyalty.
- Increases Conversions: Authentic, relatable content can effectively persuade subscribers to make purchases.
- A fashion brand includes customer photos in a “How to Style” guide within their emails.
- An electronics company showcases video reviews of their gadgets in action in their promotional emails.
- A travel agency sends out newsletters featuring travel stories and pictures from their customers’ vacations.
These strategies not only leverage the power of UGC in email marketing but also help in creating a more engaged and loyal customer base.
Utilize UGC in Cart Abandonment Campaigns
As you may already know, a cart abandonment campaign is a marketing strategy aimed at re-engaging customers who have added items to their online shopping cart but left the website without completing the purchase.
Cart abandonment emails present an excellent opportunity to recover potential sales. UGC is a powerful tool to increase e-commerce sales and its integration into emails is a visual reminder of the products left behind and can rekindle interest.
You can go a step further by leveraging social proof, displaying UGC that highlights positive experiences with the abandoned product. This might include images and reviews from other customers who purchased and loved the same product, reinforcing the product’s appeal and trustworthiness.
One example is Alo Yoga, which effectively uses UGC beyond social media and sends emails when you don’t finish buying something. In these emails, they show you the items you left in your cart. They also share pictures and posts from other customers on Instagram who wore those products.
2. Welcome New Subscribers with UGC
When new subscribers join your email list, it’s crucial to make a positive first impression. Welcoming them with UGC, especially in the form of customer testimonials or success stories, can help build trust from the very beginning of their interaction with your brand.
It’s a subtle way to introduce your products or services without coming across as overly sales-focused, which is particularly effective for nurturing a positive customer relationship.
3. Leverage UGC in In-Store Collateral
Another way of using UGC beyond social media! Enhance the store experience by weaving UGC into your physical collateral, including posters, brochures, and catalogs. The seamless blend bridges the online and offline reals. REI, for instance, showcases customer-submitted adventure photos within their store displays, fostering a sense of community.
4. Live Displays/Billboards
Bring UGC to life on the streets with live displays and billboards that showcase real-time user-generated content. Engage passersby and ignite excitement around your brand. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign featured UGC photos on billboards, encouraging customers to share their own stories.
Bring UGC beyond social media, on the streets with live displays and billboards that showcase real-time user-generated content. Engage passersby and ignite excitement around your brand.
Digital billboards and displays can be more creative and more targeted when brands use authentic UGC to populate their content. This improves brand awareness by exposing a new audience to your brand community and social proof marketing efforts.
5. Displays shown in Stores
Transform your brick-and-mortar outlets into immersive spaces by integrating UGC on-screen throughout the store. The provides shoppers with valuable insights and peer recommendations. Best Buy, a leading electronics retailer, prominently features UGC reviews and products demos on in-store screens.
Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products by running UGC contests or offering incentives for UGC submissions. You can then use these submissions in your physical store displays.
By featuring UGC in your brick-and-mortar locations, you create a bridge between the online and offline customer experiences. Additionally, customers who see their content, UGC beyond social media displayed in-store, they becombe more likely to engage with your brand on social media, contributing to a sense of community and loyalty.
6. Enhance Product Detail Pages with UGC
Elevate your e-commerce product detail pages with UGC elements. Embed customer reviews, photos, and videos to empower shoppers with information, aiding them in making informed purchase decisions.
7. Create Dedicated Landing Pages for UGC
Develop landing pages specifically designed to collect and display content from your community, customers, and staff. These pages will act as central hubs for genuine stories and interactions with your brand. GoPro is an excellent model of this, hosting a dynamic UGC page filled with exciting, user-contributed visuals that engage and inspire.
8. Include UGC in Paid Ad Campaigns
Boost the effectiveness of your paid ads by incorporating real customer content. UGC not only increases engagement but also enhances click-through rates by adding a layer of authenticity. For instance, Airbnb skillfully uses customer photos and stories in their campaigns to build trust and rapport with their audience. Similarly, Crown Resorts integrates genuine guest photos in their Facebook ads, fostering transparency and encouraging community participation.
Crown Resorts Example:
Crown Resorts enhanced its Facebook ads by incorporating customer-generated photos, emphasizing their authenticity and origin from past guests. They promoted transparency by clarifying that these images were unedited. Additionally, they engaged their audience by explaining how to be featured in future ads, fostering a more interactive and genuine connection.
9. Display Homepage Reviews & Testimonials
Make a lasting first impression with UGC on your homepage. Featuring real reviews and testimonials prominently can quickly build trust with visitors. Glossier does this effectively by showcasing customer feedback and ratings, demonstrating product efficacy.
Alcove Rooms (Consumer App)
Alcove builds trust within its community seeking long-term room rentals by including a ‘Reviews’ section under the ‘Why Alcove’ menu. This strategic placement makes it simple for potential members to access testimonials and gain insights before committing.
10. Answer Buyers’ Questions with UGC
Use UGC to answer common customer questions on your FAQ page. Real-life product photos and stories give potential buyers a clearer understanding and build confidence in their purchase decisions. Etsy, for example, uses customer-contributed images in their FAQs, providing prospects with genuine insights and user experiences.
11. Utilize UGC for Customer Support
Enhance your customer support by sharing helpful UGC. Whether it’s tutorials, troubleshooting videos, or solutions to common problems, real user contributions can make support more relatable and effective. Apple’s Support website is a good example, offering forums and video guides created by users to help others navigate their products.
12. Showcase Employee-Generated Content
Never overlook the power of your team. Encourage employees to share their passion for your brand through their content. This approach not only brings a human touch to your brand but also boosts internal engagement and morale. Adobe exemplifies this by encouraging staff to post their creative endeavors, thereby reinforcing the brand’s image as a hub for creativity.
As the significance of authenticity continues to grow in consumer decision-making, UGC is a trend that people love and it is likely here to stay. Consumers are already discussing and posting about your brand on social media, so it makes sense for brands to tap into these conversations and use UGC beyond social media.
By resharing user images and encouraging customers to generate more content, brands can elevate their marketing efforts across various channels, from social media to email campaigns, websites, and even print media, thereby driving customer engagement and brand loyalty.