If you are wondering how you can build your brand loyalty, increase your inbound traffic and reinvigorate your e-Commerce sales, look no further than user-generated content!
In the most basic of terms, user-generated content is the content created by your users or customers. This may include product reviews, blog posts, and ratings written by buyers, fans, experts or anyone else who engages in your business.
Not sure why you could want to add user-generated content to your e-Commerce site? Here are some reasons why:
Consumers rely on it.
So much so, that many customers say that they rely on user-generated content to information their decisions and purchases on such items as electronic devices (59%), automobiles (54%), and major appliances (53%). Also, did you know that 84% of millennials admit that UGC has influence on what they buy?
A powerful medium.
People put more weight on the opinions and endorsements that are written by real customers. 70% of consumers rate peer reviews above professionally written content, and 61% of consumers say they’re more likely to engage in a brand that has customer product reviews and ratings available.
The proof is real.
Consumers say that user-generated content is more influential than other kinds of content when changing a negative perfection of a brand. When shopping online, consumers believe that the most influential reviews come from the experiences of family and friends (21%), customers reviews (19%), and expert reviews (17%).
User-generated content is good for sales.
Consumers rely on product reviews more than ever. Before pulling the trigger at checkout, 64% of consumers actively seek product reviews! On top of that, there is a conversion factor. User-generated content brings a 29% increase in conversion rates, and user-generated ads prioritize support click-through rates that are four times higher. You probably already know that Google prioritizes content that is original and helpful, so UGCt is good for organic search rankings, too!
Now that you have an understanding of why well-designed user-generated content campaigns are vital to your content marketing strategy, let’s examine the different subsets that make up this area of marketing. All of the following user-generated content types are worth your consideration when trying to reach your targeted audience.
Ratings & Reviews
Customer reviews are the most basic and pervasive form of user-generated content. Whether written directly on a company website or posted to a consumer’s preferred social network (eg: Facebook), reviews are helpful to potential customers to aide in making informed decisions. And, reviews are more influential than search engine ads, so they are definitely worth integrating into your e-Commerce website!
This kind of user-generated content enlists the help of brand advocates with big followings of social media, especially Instagram and other social platforms. Influencer marketing is certainly unique when it comes to user-generated content creation, as marketing teams often work directly with influencers to develop relevant content, primarily in the form of videos, images and blog posts. This also makes it the costliest approach to UGC but can certainly have big results when done right.
When it comes to influence, bloggers have always had it in a big way when it comes to a brand-consumer relationship. Bloggers typically have a built-in audience that inherently trusts their opinion. For this reason, many companies partner with bloggers to create sponsored user-generated content that still feels authentic to readers.
If you browse through YouTube today, you’ll come across millions of video reviews, unboxings and tutorials that help consumers make purchasing decisions. What is most interesting about blog posts, videos, and user-generated content posted to different social media channels is that their effect can be exponential. Every user-generated post encourages more user-generated content and reviews in the comment section!
User-Generated Content to Grow Traffic & Sales
As we mentioned earlier, user-generated content is good for SEO and conversion rates. This alone is the most important and most measurable reason to boost your user-generated content strategy. Fresh, original content is clutch to your SEO efforts, and can also help your use of long-tailed keywords associated with your brand. Google also now displays visible star ratings in search engine results, which means that good reviews help boost your ranking.
There is also evidence to suggest that user-generated content is good for encouraging more conversions in your e-Commerce store. In a recent study, researchers discovered that when reviews are shared to social media, conversions skyrocketed by 40% over the industry average for Facebook, and 8.4 times higher for Twitter. Researchers believe that it’s the social proof factor that’s responsible for higher conversion rates.
What About Negative Reviews?
The obvious reason why e-Commerce brands are reluctant to encourage customer reviews is because any time you open up the dialogue, you are inviting the chance for bad reviews. The benefits of good customer reviews for outweigh the risk of bad ones, and the benefit of bad reviews is that you help create a better customer experience overall. The fact is that reviews matter.
With everything taken into account, it’s evident that you can’t afford to skimp on product reviews and ratings. Approach this new user-generated content strategy by encouraging your customers and fans to leave reviews, and by partnering with social media influences, bloggers and YouTubers to create original content tailored to your brand’s messaging.