Is UGC marketing part of your marketing strategy? If not, you run the risk of losing engagement and credibility with your customer base. In today’s world, user-generated content, or UGC, is arguably the most powerful brand-building strategy available. It’s also a fun way to interact with users, followers, and customers. As there are virtually no downsides, UGC marketing is a win-win strategy for both brands and the consumers they strive to serve.
Advertising Has Trust Issues
Let’s face it. Decades of in-your-face, biased advertising have left entire generations numb and less trusting of advertisers. Nowadays, people are inclined to compare most advertising efforts to those of snake-oil salesmen, rather than those of your friendly neighborhood storeowners. Unsurprisingly, a 2021 Nielsen study found that people trust advertising displaying humor, family, or wholesome values in their content far more than ads featuring celebrity endorsers.
Additionally, that same study suggests that our trust in advertising also largely depends on the channel. Polling at a staggering 89%, word of mouth was the most popular form of advertising, followed by brand websites, partnerships, and television commercials – in that order.
These statistics paint a clear picture for advertisers in the modern era. The public cares about the brand’s core values and social standing deeply, sometimes even more than the products themselves. Celebrity endorsements no longer carry the weight they once did. Today’s viewers want authenticity, not scripted productions of millionaires showcasing products they’ve never actually used. Many brands have recognized this societal shift and have even managed to capitalize on it. This is regarded as the birth of the UGC marketing strategy.
What is UGC Marketing Content?
For most, enjoying a product, service, or experience is enough in itself to capture the moment on camera. Social media allows us to share these moments with the world, instantly and effortlessly. With nothing to gain, these authentic reactions from everyday people incidentally work wonders in persuading others to invest as well.
This is the very core of user-generated content. Brands encouraging their consumers to share their positive experiences online is the name of the game. But what exactly makes UGC marketing so engaging amongst audiences?
As stated, word of mouth remains the most trustworthy channel for advertising company values. Paying celebrities to convey these values rarely translates well, as consumers can now see through the facade and into the padded pockets of the famous faces on camera. In contrast, seeing regular users, like yourself, celebrate a product or experience is far more relatable – and above all else, real! Personal recommendations without vested interests translate to authenticity, and for businesses, authenticity equals a lot of money.
In fact, companies can leverage up to 5x more sales by employing these strategies. Considering that UGC marketing also erases the need for an endorsement budget, the ROI will inevitably increase substantially as well. UGC marketing is a game-changer for any company. The opportunities, specifically for e-Commerce businesses that exist entirely online with no physical storefront to demonstrate products, are limitless.
Leverage Social Proof for Your Website and Campaigns
At the end of the day, we are all humans. Humans work together to sell things to other humans. Despite vast differences beyond this, our natural instincts reign superior. The social proof theory refers to a very real human phenomenon: in moments of doubt, we look to others to navigate social settings. We mimic others, await validation, and then use this newly acquired social knowledge to proceed.
These survival mechanisms don’t come with an on/off switch. We don’t just rely upon them to break the ice at parties; we unknowingly use them in every aspect of our lives – including the things we buy. Social proof, such as “9 out of 10 experts” or “Top downloaded app” badges, helps consumers choose which products to invest in. Online marketing poses ample opportunity for consumers to check for social proof – through likes, shares, and comments.
For UGC marketing, social proof is achieved by curating user submissions and displaying them across the various channels used by your brand. A diverse album of everyday users providing UGC posts can often pull new users in to try the products themselves.
Use UGC To Replace Ordinary Product Images
Real people making real posts are as authentic as advertising can get. The fact that celebrities need additional payment to touch the products they endorse, and even more money to actually use them says all you need to know about those kinds of endorsements.
Of course, companies will often encourage submissions by offering small incentives to paying customers. Replacing generic stock images with actual consumers using your product resonates far better with users. Providing visual proof of real people enjoying a company’s products or services can help users validate the decision to try them for themselves.
Build a Customer Community with UGC Marketing Strategies
Seeing posts from like-minded people gives users a sense of community within a brand. They can all relate to the excitement of being the next person featured on a brand site by sharing their enjoyment of a product.
In addition, a brand site that constantly seeks new customers without acknowledging and appreciating its current customer base can easily leave a bad taste in your mouth. UGC marketing reverses this negative trend by gathering already loyal customers and making them a part of the brand. New users can feel less threatened to engage if others already hold space there. At the same time, participants feel special, knowing they contributed something to the community.
Incorporate UGC Marketing and Other AI Solutions Into Your eCommerce Business
UGC marketing is a remarkable, interactive strategy to improve your eCommerce business. It helps foster authenticity while providing social proof and building a community. In addition, UGC marketing encourages and promotes the most effective way to advertise: word of mouth.
Learn more about how to enhance your online storefront through modern strategies, including UGC marketing and optimizing eCommerce tools such as Smart Merchandiser. Visit our Zobrist website to connect with us! We look forward to showcasing our tried-and-true eCommerce services to elevate your engagement and skyrocket your sales.