Ecommerce

3 Types of User-Generated Content Brands Should Be Using

As a consumer-focused brand, your customers are your best advocates. Whether you sell t-shirts, beds, or even camping gear, the experience you produce can turn a customer into an extension of your marketing team. How so? User-generated content or UGC. Due to the rise and adoption of social media, it is now the norm to show off your latest fashion finds, gadgets, and the like, across various social channels, such as Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.

According to a Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, the most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. The report goes on to show that 83 percent of online respondents in 60 countries said that they trust the recommendations of friends and family. As a brand, tapping into that level of trust and evangelism is priceless. 

The Three Types of User-Generated Content

There are three primary types of UGC used by ecommerce marketing teams:

Community Q&A

Community Q&A is more open-ended than the other two types in that it can be any kind of feedback. The Community Q&A typically lives on products pages to improve shopper-to-brand engagement around a particular item. Some platforms allow customers to both ask questions and answer them, giving additional credibility to the responses as they are consumers of the product.

If you find that many of your customer reviews include more questions than comments or feedback, consider implementing a community Q&A. By including answers from customers and members of your team, you ensure shoppers receive quick, reliable answers.

Ratings and Reviews

Ratings and reviews are relatively straightforward. Depending on the system in place, such as Yotpo, they allow customers to generate direct feedback on a product–one of the strongest types of user-generated content. As the Nielsen study shows, peer reviews go a long way, and sites that feature other customer reviews become more credible. Some systems also allow for filters to be put in place, ensuring only verified buyers can review, whereas other platforms are more open-ended.

Many brands find it effective to share customer comments and ask for comments in return via email. After a customer receives their order, send a follow-up email with another shopper’s review and ask the reader to share their feedback on their recent purchase.

Images & Videos

If you’re selling products to consumers, images can be just as powerful as a rating or review. When it comes to fashion, your customers’ real-life photos provide personal details about fit, which can positively affect another person’s purchase. By allowing user-generated images, you add a level of trust and transparency to your brand. Beyond fashion, there’s an excitement to receiving a new product in the mail, and customers love either unboxing them and sharing their experience.

We’ve seen brands collect customer images through contests, Instagram hashtags, or reviews on the site. When you incorporate this type of social proof into your marketing campaigns, you accomplish two things: you show your appreciation for your loyal fans, and you give new shoppers the confidence to buy your brand’s products.

Implementing a User-Generated Strategy

The foundation for any successful UGC strategy is, of course, first gathering content and reviews. Yotpo makes this super easy for brands. For example, through the platform, marketers can send emails directly to shoppers and ask for a review. Yeah, not groundbreaking. But rather than requiring the user to click on a link in the email, go to another page, and write a review, they can simply reply to the email with their message and hit send. However, the user can simply reply to the email to submit their review instead of visiting the website to complete the action.

To successfully implement a UGC strategy, a brand or retailer needs a process to manage customer content as well as a tech stack to collect content, strategically place content throughout the site and social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, etc.), and push through to email campaigns. From what Yotpo has seen, customers who answer questions are often the ones increasing their lifetime value and sharing their experience on social media.

With the help of Blue Acorn iCi, Jack Black added an Instagram feed to the homepage that pulls in content from shoppers and influencers as well as their own images to ensure a uniform brand story. The Instagram feed allows Jack Black to show new customers who their regular shoppers are (everyday men who are looking for quality shave products) and why they love the brand. Additionally, each product page has customer reviews as well as a section for Q&A that enables users to ask other customers about the item. “Is it worth the price tag?” “Absolutely!”

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Shannon Kenneally
After graduating from Clemson, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn iCi’s Media Marketing Specialist, she keeps clients and customers up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the ecommerce world. In her free time, she enjoys running with her dog and checking out the local breweries in Charleston.
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