SMALL BUSINESS GROWTH   |   6 minute read

Using UGC on Your eCommerce Store’s Social Media + 3 Examples

Guest post by G2

Making use of user-generated content (UGC) for your store makes sense. After all, your paying customers are providing you with free content. As with everything, there’s a right way to do it and there are obvious mistakes to avoid. You’ve put hard work into your eCommerce store and your products, so let’s make sure that you’re sharing your customers’ content the right way.

Why use user-generated content?

tradegecko-selfieMaking use of UGC may not seem like a great choice. Why would you use photos taken on an iPhone when you have ones that you hired someone to take? It’s easy, there are tons of benefits for your brand and they can simplify your job. It can help boost your sales especially as the holiday season approaches, so let’s cover a few of the benefits of using user-generated content.

Gives social proof

tradegecko-socialproofUser-generated content, although it may just be a picture or a review, can help strengthen the bond between your customers and your brand. Afterall, they’ll be able to reflect on others’ experiences and compare them to how they make use of your product. By seeing a peer’s review or photo with your product, viewers of your content will be able to make a purchase decision much more easily. 

In the state of retail, consumers want to choose brands  that they trust. Customers expect that an item purchased from your eCommerce store would meet the expectations set by your brand’s marketing. . User-generated content will help back up your claims. It’ll make your brand more authentic and help build the  credibility of your brand, even before your customer makes a purchase.

More and inexpensive content

tradegecko-honeytoastOne of the greatest advantages of using UGC on your eCommerce store’s social media is that it provides you with instantly shareable content.. Receive a great review on a new product offering? Share the details of the review (with consent) on your Twitter or Facebook feed. Did one of your customers share a trendy selfie in your brand’s clothing? Repost the picture on your brand’s Instagram for your followers to see! 

Your customers are giving you free content that can be used to fill up your social media content calendar, and you can keep it organized with a project management tool. Work smarter and not harder and take advantage of the free content that’s being given to you—it’s cheaper and more accessible than hiring a photographer.

How to encourage and make use of user-generated content

Ready to start using UGC for your social media? Great! If your customers aren’t already coming to you with this content, you’ll need to do a little encouraging to get the content that they’re ready to share.

Incentivize it

In order to get the ball rolling on UGC, you may need to encourage your customers with an extra something to get submissions. 

tradegecko-incentivesGet creative with the mechanics to encourage your customers. Consider having a contest or giveaway if users post photos onto their social media accounts with your brand. The prize doesn’t have to be grand, it can be as simple as a free product. If you’re looking to get a ton of submissions at once, consider offering an incentive to every participating customer. This can take the form of a discount or something else. Find what works for your brand.

Set standards

When requesting UGC, avoid being overly picky in the beginning. Remember, your customers are providing you with images and reviews often of their own volition . However, once you start receiving a large amount of UGC, set a few guidelines on what content will be considered  and what content will not be.

If you’re ready to get a bigger UGC campaign going, consider implementing one of these:

  • Ask users to tag your brand or use a branded hashtag to gather all posts easily
  • Encourage users to share pictures with a certain pose
  • Promoting a new product? Gather UGC and push the product with real customers using it

Share it

It’s important to not only gather UGC but also share it in a timely manner. No one wants to wait six months to see their photo on your brand’s page. When you receive pictures from your customers, make sure you have permission to share, and onlynce you do, can you post it on your social media. Always  credit and tag the creator. Once users see you are willing to share their content, they are more likely to start sharing it with you in hope of gaining some more social media followers. It’s a win-win situation.

How you share your UGC is up to you. You can have single photo Instagram posts or even slideshow ones that show off multiple pictures or even products. Maybe you’ll use a decent amount as part of social media stories or use them in an advertising campaign. Experiment and figure out what works best for your brand. It may take a few attempts but the right method will be found..

3 Brands to look to

Airbnb

tradegecko-blog-airbnbThis example is one of many on Airbnb’s feed where they use their customers’ photos to show off the Airbnb  experience. In this post, they highlight the location, the host, and give credit to the original photo source. From here, followers can see that if they follow Airbnb and tag the brand, they’ll have the chance to be featured as well.

Gymshark

tradegecko-blog-gymshark

Athletic apparel brand Gymshark regularly features UGC in their Instagram feed. In this post, they highlight a customer that won their #Gymshark66 contest.They link back to the user’s profile and thank everyone who participated in their contest.

Glossier

tradegecko-blog-glossierSkincare unicorn Glossier has built user trust by featuring makeup artists and other makeup enthusiasts on its Instagram feed. In this post, they’ve featured a makeup artist, Rafiqah Akhdar, and highlight the products that she’s used.

Tap into your potential

Your customers are a helpful base to help build your brand. Through their   opinions and reviews they can create user trust in your product. It’s natural to be fearful of encouraging UGC for your eCommerce store—there’s the risk of drawing negative feedback to your product. You can use this negative feedback about  your product to help you identify areas for product improvement. User-generated content can help increase brand loyalty and desire behind your brand and it’s easy to fit into your overall integrated marketing communication strategy.

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tradegecko-blog-writerzAnastasia Masters is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in history. In her spare time, Anastasia enjoys eating her way through Chicago's different neighborhoods, planning her next trip, and binging a new show on Netflix. You can follow her on Twitter at @anastasia_mm0.

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