User Generated Content
XX min read

The Ultimate Guide to UGC Marketing for E-Commerce

Published on
June 25, 2022
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E-commerce stores have become more prominent recently, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the need to continue with life away from crowds. This resulted in an increase of online stores from 547,690 in 2019 to 707,249 in 2022. That’s roughly a 150K increase in the number of e-commerce stores people can shop from in a matter of two years.

A recent study stated that online global sales for 2022 are expected to surpass the five trillion-dollar mark. This forecast is due to approximately 2 billion individuals who purchased something online in 2020, with an estimated 14 percent increase from 2020 to 2021 in e-commerce profits. These statistics show that e-commerce is not slowing down, and people are embracing the convenience of shopping from home.

What significance does this information have with user-generated content (UGC) and UGC marketing? A lot! UGC plays a massive role in making people buy from online stores. Online shoppers cannot see the item for themselves in person (which you could typically do when you shop in-store). Therefore, they have to rely on what others say about the item or the brand to make an informed purchasing decision.

Ninety percent of consumers trust the word of other consumers when deciding on what to buy. This “word-of-mouth” phenomenon that’s happening with user-generated content and shoppers benefits retailers and influencers who use these products themselves. Leveraging the power of UGC for your e-commerce marketing strategy will help take your online enterprise to the next level.

If you wish to generate more traffic to your e-commerce site and get more conversions, using social media channels and gathering UGC from all social media platforms is a good idea. To help you see the reasons behind this, you can use this guide to UGC e-commerce marketing.

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Overview of User-Generated Content in E-commerce

There is so much buzz about UGC being an excellent tool for marketing and that brands not using it are missing tons of opportunities. To understand all of these and why this is being said, you first need to unpack what UGC means and why it has become a go-to tool for the marketing strategy of e-commerce brands.

What Is UGC?

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of UGC eCommerce marketing, you first need to understand what UGC is. The acronym stands for user-generated content. Now, some people believe that UGC includes content crafted by influencers, and in some ways they’re right, but they’re also wrong.

Not all influencers can claim they make UGC since not all of them actually use the product shown in their content. Influencers, however, can inspire their followers to create branded content, which can then be used for marketing strategy. These are called influencer partnerships and are a great way to encourage people loyal to your brand and the influencer to create UGC for you.

UGC can also result from a spontaneous feeling of gratitude and happiness towards a brand. If you love how a dress makes you look, you can snap an image of yourself in the dress, post it on Instagram, and tag the brand. That’s a true-blue UGC right there!

People can also choose to take pictures of themselves with a product or just post photos of an item in an artistic manner and then post this on their social media pages to compete in a contest. A hashtag that the brand assigns for that contest is often used here, which helps promote the brand and qualifies the poster for a chance to get a prize. This is another kind of UGC.

From these examples, you can see that UGC is content such as reviews, images, or reviews crafted by consumers who use, love, or appreciate a brand. Any content created and posted by the public to show off a product or brand is considered UGC, regardless of any push from influencers, the lure of prizes from a contest, and other incentives.

Image Source: Unsplash

What is UGC E-commerce Marketing?

As the name implies, UGC e-commerce marketing is a strategy that uses UGC to help push more traffic to e-commerce or online stores. This is to encourage increased familiarity with these e-commerce brands and, more importantly, increase conversion rates for these stores.

UGC can consist of many different types of content that help promote and laud a brand. This can include the following:

  • Images on Facebook
  • Posts on Instagram
  • Boards on Pinterest
  • Tags on Twitter
  • Customer reviews on Google
  • Product reviews on the site’s product pages

They can also be unboxing videos on YouTube, blogs, and articles on other websites, inclusion in listicles, and other content made by content creators, which can benefit the brand.

UGC e-commerce marketing uses all these assets to help achieve the goals a brand sets for itself. For instance, if the target is to get more people to purchase from the site, an effective UGC marketing campaign would include shoppable UGCs and customer reviews that show real people talking about the product. If your goal is to improve your brand awareness, hashtag campaigns and other similar ideas can do the trick.

Ways User Generated Content Helps E-commerce Businesses

Now that you know what user-generated content and UGC e-commerce marketing are, you should also understand why it’s so popular among many online marketing professionals. Why do brands choose to go with UGC marketing campaigns? What benefits do brands and e-commerce stores get from such a marketing strategy? Here are some of the reasons:

Image Source: Pexels

1. Boosts Your Brand’s Authenticity – People love authenticity when it comes to brands since it holds better relatability. Studies have shown that consumers view UGC as more authentic and relatable since it shows people who are just like them. When they see others enjoying your product, they can see themselves doing the same, which helps with purchasing decisions.

2. Builds Trust – When people see others have confidence in your brand, it also encourages them to try and believe in your name. UGC shows real people posting about your products, which makes others conclude that if others rely on you, so can they. This is why UGC establishes trust between a consumer and the brand.

3. Promotes Brand Awareness – Having hundreds, if not thousands, of people posting about your products on social media platforms can easily increase interest in your brand by 100 times for each person. And that is if the person only has 100 friends.

So, imagine your reach if you multiplied the number of UGC you get from customers by the number of friends and followers they each have on Facebook and Instagram. That is a lot! One hashtag campaign alone can help you reach thousands, significantly increasing the public’s awareness of your brand.

4. Saves You Money – Let’s face it. UGCs are less expensive than content created by influencers and celebrities. The cost of having an influencer create content for your brand can range from $10 per Instagram post (nano-influencers) to $10K per post on the same platform (mega-influencers). And let’s not get started on celebrities who can command upwards of half a million dollars per post!

The cost can also vary depending on the platform used for the endorsement. For UGC, a simple hashtag contest or even engaging with your audience (and having an excellent brand) can result in lots of UGC, which you can use for free for your campaigns. Just ask permission from the poster and get their consent before using them.

Types of UGC Fit for Your E-commerce

Before you start putting together your UGC e-commerce marketing campaigns, you should determine which UGC types are best suited for your brand. Not all UGC is ideal for you, so establishing which one is the right fit will help save you time, money, and effort. Here are some of the UGCs that most e-commerce brands find helpful in marketing what they have:

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Testimonials and reviews are opinions real-life customers have about products they’ve purchased and used. They post these to help others become aware of how good (or how bad) these items are. Consumers tend to trust other consumers when they talk about how happy they are with a product, so they try these products out when they read favorable comments and reviews.

When to use it: If some of your products are getting rave reviews, you can use these for any of your e-commerce ads and landing pages, even as social proof on your homepage. One thing you can do to further improve how testimonials look on your product pages is to allow the addition of images to these reviews. Examples of these include those you can see on Amazon. There are tools that allow these kinds of reviews to be added to your product pages.

Visual UGCs on Instagram

Although Instagram isn’t the only social media platform where you can gather visual UGC (Facebook and Pinterest can also be great sources of such user-generated content), it’s one of the mediums that most e-commerce brands use. Instagram UGCs are also great for creating shoppable UGC. These are images that make buying the products in them easier with the help of links within the post that lead to your eCommerce site.

When to use it: If you have real customers who post high-quality images of themselves wearing or using your products in fashionable and ad-like ways, you can use visual UGC on IG and create shoppable posts with them. You can also use IG stories for this same purpose. Just make sure you’ve set up your IG shop to start doing this.

Social Platform Posts

Aside from Instagram, you can also use other social media platforms to round up UGC. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest are just some platforms where you can collect UGC user-generated content. You can gather shoutouts, videos, and creative posts from these mediums as soon as your loyal customers post and tag you in them.

When to use it: If happy customers post content on their social media accounts and tag you, you can optimize these as social proof for your brand. Your online store can significantly benefit from these when used in ads and landing pages that show just how happy and satisfied your customers are with your products.

Unboxing and Product Demo Videos

Unboxing videos help customers see how your items look right from the box. On the other hand, product demos show potential buyers what to do (and what not to do) when using your products. These are great for those who love UGC that come with live commentary from people deemed as experts in using such products.

When to use it: If you’re selling somewhat complicated items to operate or need to be assembled, these videos are great UGCs to have. You can usually find these on YouTube. These are often made by content creators who either love your product and want to post their unboxing on the platform or are experts at unboxing videos. This can help boost your site’s conversion rates.

Pro Tip: “Building awareness through your content can drive potential customers towards engagement with your brand. Make sure to create and share content that can help you achieve this marketing objective.”

Effective Ways to Get UGC for Your E-commerce Marketing

One challenge brands face when using UGC for their e-commerce marketing campaigns is gathering such content. Scouring the internet to get all the images or videos that tag your brand can be quite tedious and downright frustrating, especially when locating relevant posts for your UGC marketing strategy becomes challenging.

If you’re finding the task of curating UGCs for your eCommerce business marketing needs rather tricky, below are some things you can try to help make your mission less of a burden:

Ask your customers for UGC

As simplistic as this may sound, this has been proven effective for several brands when it comes to making user-generated content that could be used for marketing campaigns. You can do this by posting encouraging statements on your social media accounts that motivate your customers to create and post UGC for you.

A hashtag campaign is one way to do this, and another is to simply remind your consumers to tag you in the posts they create. This is a great strategy to use when you want to generate more customer photos and feedback.

Run a Contest on Social Media Platforms

Another way to gather UGCs without adding stress to the equation is to host a contest or giveaway for your customers. This is where you can effectively use a hashtag for marketing. The prize for such a contest doesn’t have to be extravagant. Product samples, discounts, and other similar cost-effective prizes will work.

A contest will encourage people who love your brand to post about it and increase your reach since followers and friends of the people who post content can see them. These people can also become potential customers, generating even more UGC for your brand.

Use an Influencer or Two

Sure, an influencer may cost you a bit of money, but you can consider it well spent when you reach a huge number of people with one post. One or two Instagram posts from a nano-influencer can reach up to 10,000 followers. Just make sure that when you utilize this medium, you don’t only request them to post about your brand but that they also ask their followers to create similar posts. You can combine this and a hashtag contest for a more effective strategy.

Automate Reviews

If product reviews are what you need to create UGC for your brand, you can have customers post a review for you via the marketing channels you use to reach them. These can be included in your email marketing efforts, on the social media platforms you use, and even at checkout on your e-commerce store.

Optimize this avenue by utilizing a tool that allows your customers to post reviews or rate your products, and also post images of them using the product they bought from you.

How to Build a Successful E-commerce UGC Campaign

Building an e-commerce UGC campaign is no walk in the park, and it can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t approach it with the right strategy. However, such pitfalls can be avoided, and you can create an effective one if you know how to go about it the proper way. Here are some tips that may help you put together successful UGC campaigns.

Gather inspiration from brands that have succeeded in creating UGC campaigns

Get some insights on how a successful eCommerce UGC campaign is crafted by looking at brands that have nailed this strategy down. The brands you can emulate need not be e-commerce sites. Examples of brands that have leveraged their UGC effectively include Starbucks, GoPro, Netflix, and Lululemon.

Set your UGC marketing goals before embarking on a marketing strategy

What is the primary aim of your UGC marketing strategy? Is it to increase conversions or to increase brand awareness? Are you creating UGC campaigns to get insights into what customers want from your brand, or are you looking to influence buying decisions? Knowing your goals for your UGC campaigns and strategy from the get-go will help you figure out what you need to do and what UGCs to collect.

Use tools that help make UGC curation more effective

Trying to locate and curate UGCs for your campaigns can be time-consuming and tiresome if done manually. To expedite the process, you need to use tools that help you find and collect the UGCs that you need for all your social media posts and marketing needs. One such tool you can turn to when focusing on IG and Facebook is Archive App. This tool allows you to automatically detect posts that tag your brand.

Keep it as authentic as possible

When you put together a marketing campaign, whether you’re doing content marketing, a hashtag contest, or using an influencer to inspire UGC creation, always strive for authenticity. Don’t force your audience to use content your copywriters crafted on their posts. Remember that customer experience and connecting with them at a level they’re comfortable with is better than trying to force a message that doesn’t sound genuine.

Ready to Start Your UGC Journey? Visit Archive Today!

Using user-generated content to help boost your e-commerce brand and increase conversions is a tried-and-tested strategy. It’s something that a lot of other brands are already utilizing.

Improve how your brand is performing and become as popular as the other brands by leveraging UGC your customers created. Not only will you give your target audience a chance to create visual content for you, but you also give them a voice that they can use for your brand.

If you’re unsure how to begin such a journey for your e-commerce website and the type of content that’s best for your UGC campaigns, Archive can help. Discover how to put together an effective UGC campaign, gather inspiration from successful Instagram UGC posts, and learn more about UGC marketing by visiting our website.

Interested in initiating the creation of UGC so you can incorporate it into your e-commerce marketing strategies? Check out what the Archive App can do for you!

FAQs on UGC E-commerce Marketing

Why is UGC so important in online marketing?

UGC is important to online marketing because it’s authentic and helps create a personal connection between the buyer and the brand. It also helps influence buying decisions since people feel they can trust consumers like them who post honest reviews and images that how they enjoy the products they are posting about.

What is Shoppable UGC?

Shoppable UGC is user-generated content that contains links leading to the e-commerce site that sells the product being featured in the image or video. People can click on the link or button that tells them where they can buy the item. They’re redirected immediately to the product page of the item so they can purchase it right then and there.

What is a UGC platform?

A UGC platform is a software as a service (SaaS), which makes the curation of UGCs easier. There are lots of different UGC platforms you can use for your UGC curation needs, with some allowing you to collect everything from customer reviews to Instagram posts to tweets and so on. There are also some that focus more on a couple of social media channels that are associated with each other, such as Facebook and Instagram.

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