Are you aware that over 4 billion users across the globe log onto social media platforms daily? The influence of social media is rapidly increasing, which is the main reason why a social media content strategy should be a part of any serious retailer’s marketing plans. While dealing with the challenges of sales, customer service and all the other day-to-day curveballs life throws, how can retailers still manage an effective social media strategy?
By emphasizing and leveraging user generated content, marketers can rely on their customers to fill content gaps with strong, influential social proof.
Let’s say for example you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and you suddenly notice that a user posts a photo using your product. The picture is perfectly shot and gives a spot-on visualization of how you envision users getting the most out of your product. That Instagram post is an example of great social proof. By highlighting social proof, you’ll have the chance to increase your bottom line while also increasing the amount of content you can share across your social channels.
Other benefits of leveraging user generated content include:
- Expanding Your Audience
One of the biggest reasons to stay active on social media is because so many users are constantly joining each platform. As new users join social media platforms, you have the opportunity to introduce your goods and services to potential new customers. Additionally, social media allows your customers to introduce your product to their social networks.
Picture this: One of your customers uploads a photo of themselves using your product in a Facebook post with a brief description of how awesome it is. Since they tagged your Facebook page in the post, you get a flood of notifications of your customer’s friends commenting with questions about your product, eager to get over to your website to try it for themselves.
This is just one example of why expanding your audience is one of the main reasons to make user generated content a priority in your content strategy.
- Allowing Customers to Serve as Brand Advocates
Messages about how great a product is are to be expected coming from the brand itself, but coming from a customer that message can impact a buyer’s journey tremendously. User generated content is the key to amplifying the voices of your best marketers: your customers. Sharing user generated content across social media channels is especially beneficial considering an overwhelming 85% of shoppers find user generated content more impactful than brand photos or videos.
Ultimately, customers prefer to hear from other customers. By prioritizing amplifying the voice of customers, brands make attracting new customers that much easier.
- Building Trust with Skeptical Shoppers
Let’s pretend for a moment that your brand is active on Twitter and you see a user on your timeline tweet a photo with your product. Only except for singing your brand’s praises, they’re wondering if they truly got what they paid for. After some brief confusion, your next step is to politely mention them, asking them to message you with a more specific question regarding their order so you can get things squared away for them.
The importance of the added layer of transparency social media can provide for consumers can’t be overstated. With the benefits of user generated content in mind, the next challenge is collecting the content. A few methods for generating UGC include:
In-House Social Media Campaigns
With a witty, memorable hashtag, the right social media campaign can lead to a flood of impactful user generated content. Another key aspect of incorporating user generated content into your social media strategy is encouraging the use of multimedia. Photos and videos are crucial to influencing buying decisions of millennials. An astounding 84% of millennials say user generated content had an influence on what they buy.
In-house social media campaigns require more of a hands-on approach with the brand’s social channels to ensure the right type of content is being collected, and to manage conversations. Brands with fewer resources when it comes to social media management may be more inclined to rely on other methods, like influencer marketing to drive user generated content collection efforts.
This refers to leveraging the audience of an authority figure within an online community to generate excitement about a brand, product or service. Incentives and giveaways are popular avenues of generating traffic from an influencer marketing campaign. Suppose you’re a brand-new name on the market and you’re struggling to generate buzz.
After doing some research, you make the decision to go the influencer marketing route. You connect with an influencer with a following you can only dream of cultivating on your brand’s social media profiles. After hitting it off with the influencer, they agree to promote your product in exchange for a free product sample. You send them a sample and they post a picture on Instagram using it, encouraging their followers to go to your website and place an order for the product you sent to the influencer. Once the orders are shipped and the influencer’s audience has your product in their hands, they’ll be eager to post pictures with their new items, providing you with new customers, and new content.
Typically, this route can come at the cost of either free product, discounts or sales, and sometimes even a cash cost itself. There must be another way for generating influential user generated content, right? Right – But how?
Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews are the ideal, low-cost, high-return method for collecting user generated content. Ratings and reviews are a strong UGC solution because they can be pushed to multiple channels ensuring high visibility early in the buyer’s journey. Additionally, user generated content gives customers insight other customers are typically looking for. A staggering 70% of consumers consider user generated content from reviews when making buying decisions.
With ratings and reviews playing such a vital role in the user generated content collection process, merchants and customers need a ratings and reviews solution they can rely on. This is where the ResellerRatings reviews suite comes into play. With our full-suite of services, merchants have the option to access our new visual marketing platform which allows reviewers to leave photos (and soon videos) and answer customer questions.
For more information on how ratings and reviews can influence your UGC collection efforts, schedule a demo with a rep today.