While your brand spends time, money, and resources on creating content, your customers are out in the world doing exactly the same - for free. The only difference is that their content featuring your products isn’t staged or commercialized. It’s authentic branded content that your brand can collect and leverage across your marketing efforts.
While product catalogues produced in-house do a good job of showing-off your brand’s products, customer content is quite simply the best asset to convert visitors into buyers. With the congestion of brands on the market selling similar products, User Generated Content (UGC) provides the tools you need to inspire your customers into choosing yours.
Why You Should Prioritize Customer Content
Brands can’t escape the content crunch that our current social media marketing landscape demands. The thirst for fresh and constantly improving content means more time spent on simply keeping up.
While brands siphon resources towards in-house content creation, their customers are posting pictures with products on social media. The trick is leveraging this natural phenomenon by encouraging them to post with your products, then establishing a self-generating cycle of fresh content for your brand.
This inexpensive strategy will open up your resources through money saved on content creation. Not only that, but it brings with it an abundance of benefits for your eCommerce brand including customer trust and an increase of engagement.
Because 57% of consumers search on social media before making a purchase, this high-quality content represents a brand lifestyle that already resonates with customers. We use social media as a way to discover products, even subconsciously, and UGC becomes a natural way for you to leverage this formula in your marketing efforts.
Seeing real people using your products instills trust in your brand that can only be achieved through customer reviews, then the visual aspect of UGC increases engagement. Plus, if you use it wisely, this can extend further into your eCommerce performance as a whole to increase conversions in your online store - customer content is 5X more likely to convert than professional content!
If you don’t already have customer content, or you’re looking for new ways to improve your collection of UGC, then let’s talk about what you can do to inspire your customers to post.
How to Get Customers to Post Content Featuring Your Products (That You Actually Want to Use)
While you may find that customer content is easy to come by, brands often struggle to get content that they actually want to use in their marketing efforts. The challenge then becomes: not only inspiring your customers to post but giving them enough guidance so they know what to post.
What is the cycle for growing a collection of valuable customer content?
Promote hashtags & mentions. We’ve all heard the buzz about hashtags, but the truth is they are a great way to get people posting for your brand. When you come up with a cool hashtag that quickly captures the essence of your brand identity, your customers will become obsessed with adding it to their authentic branded content.
Plus, the hashtag can point your customers to the kind of content you’d like to receive. For example, CLUSE’s #getCLUSEcosy, which encourages content warmed with fall colors and featuring sweaters galore.
If hashtags aren’t your thing, you can also collect customer content from brand tags and mentions. Ask your customers to mention you when they happen to be wearing or using their favorite product of yours so that you can feature them in your eCommerce assets.
Give your promoters credit. When customers do give your brand a shout-out, always thank them for taking part in the brand community. You want them to remain an active member, and nothing works better than personalized attention from the brand. Additionally, this will allow other users to see how well you treat your customers, which will give you a leg-up in growing your audience.
Launch a contest. When you’re looking for a boost of earned content, turn to a contest or giveaway. Instagram is a great tool for asking your customers to enter a branded contest by simply snapping a picture and tagging the brand.
This is also where you can point your customers towards posting great content for your brand by getting specific with your requests. Don’t be afraid to ask them to get creative or fit a certain model in order to win. Remember: you are giving them something in exchange, so it’s okay to give them a few instructions!
Finally, repeat. The only thing left to do is get your strategy rolling. Once in motion, you’ll quickly see how crucial a UGC strategy is to your eCommerce, especially when you start spreading it as far as it can go.
So try every tactic and see what works for your brand. No doubt you’ll find that what best resonates with customers is their own content!
About the Author
Charlie Brook is the Content Marketing Associate at Photoslurp. Specialized in turning data into content, she works with both the written word and video production. Reach her at Charlie@Photoslurp.com.