User generated content (UGC) first emerged as an outlet for people to express their thoughts and share their daily life with their network of friends. Today UGC is revving up the way we live our lives, influence one another, and conduct business. Most importantly, it is helping brands drive commerce, creating the much needed linkage between social media investments and the expected business results.
“51% of millennials say consumer opinions found on a company’s web site have a greater impact on purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends.” (Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands)
Google acknowledged the undeniable power of UGC when they launched their Google Farmer update. Companies can no longer expect to get high visibility online based off of brand written content and product descriptions alone. Google now ranks sites with authentic content from multiple sources higher than those who have only brand generated content. This new notion may have brands in a panic, but it is actually quite simple to implement consumer UGC on eCommerce sites to keep their SEO rank high. The more authorized UGC brands can display from their best consumers, the less they have to slave over copywriting to increase their SEO. And the good news is, the number of users creating content is skyrocketing.
Consumers demand user generated content to make purchase decisions, so consumers need to be the driving force behind brand campaigns. Recruiting the best customers as opt-in brand ambassadors allows brands to collect content that is authorized for their use in campaigns. By letting consumers create content, brands will save time, money, and energy while increasing their customer loyalty, revenue, and SEO.
Just like your best friend who won’t let you buy the sweater that makes you look like big bird, consumers will always have each others backs. Peer consumers, known and unknown, formed an unspoken pact where they rely on each other for product trends. Consumers need social proof to understand products from the authentic user perspective, which gives brands the opportunity to drive user generated commerce. Consumers hold more credibility than the brand, because they are the ones actually investing in the product, taking it home, and using it. The proof of a cool product is evident when the product hashtag is searched and the screen is flooded with consumer selfies with the product, not one product catalog image created from a team of marketers.
Just getting started? Here are 4 easy ways for brands to execute a social e-commerce:
- Product Campaigns – create a product hashtag and launch a campaign urging consumers to post a picture of the product with the specified hashtag.
- Social Promotions – run a contest to incentivize your customers to create the best content by rewarding the winner with a great prize.
- Post Online Instead of Review Online – ask your customers to upload a photo with the product they purchased. You can install a photo uploader widget to collect photos from your customers right on your website.
- Launch a Brand Ambassador Program – recruit your best customers as opt-in brand ambassadors. They will create high-quality content at your request.
This blog was originally posted by WOMMA.