User Generated Content: The Unflashy Secret to eCommerce Success

User Generated Content: The Unflashy Secret to eCommerce Success
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User-generated content (UGC) makes your eCommerce brand unique. Refunnel's CEO Atif Raza explains how his company can help you use user generated content to automate and streamline these processes, freeing up valuable time and resources.

As eCommerce evolves, user-generated content (UGC) is a potent yet underutilized tool for growth. Today, eCommerce owners and brands seek ways to not only thrive but also stand out in a crowded digital marketplace. So, understanding the nuances of user-generated content is crucial.

In this blog, we will explore UGC, its multifaceted benefits, and practical strategies to harness its full potential for eCommerce brands. We will also understand how Refunnel can help you encourage and gather UGC from your fans and customers.

Before we dive deeper into UGC, let’s quickly introduce Refunnel to you: Refunnel enables brands to automatically monitor and store all your UGC tags (IG Reels, Story mentions, & TikTok) in one place. It also helps you launch challenges to collect UGC from your community and secure usage rights for your top posts.

What is User-Generated Content?

In Nielsen 2021’s Trust In Advertising Study, 88% respondents across 56 countries said they trust recommendations from people they know.

Bottom line: That is why user-generated content is the authentic voice of your customers.

It does not take a specific content form. So, on one hand, it could include written reviews, product ratings, and pictures, on the other, it could include YouTube videos, Instagram posts, testimonials, and more. 

But, what really sets UGC apart is its origin – it's created not by professional content creators but by everyday users of your products or services.

6 Reasons Why UGC is Important in Ecommerce

Now, let's dissect why UGC is important for eCommerce:

1. Authenticity and Trustworthiness

Think about it: How many times have you read reviews on Amazon or looked for product images beyond what the seller provides? That is exactly what platforms like Amazon do - they encourage users to leave reviews so it helps both buyers and sellers.

But, despite the protection provided by financial regulators and governments, buyers are skeptical about purchasing online. So,  building trust is paramount. UGC brings a fresh breath of authenticity. When potential buyers come across reviews, testimonials, or visuals shared by fellow customers who have genuinely experienced your products, they're more likely to trust your brand and make a purchase.

2. Enhanced Engagement and Community Building

Imagine you’ve just purchased a treadmill for your home. Wouldn’t you want to join an online community on Facebook or WhatsApp that helps you understand how to maintain your treadmill or a group of runners in a virtual competition? That’s exactly what UGC does - create a community of like-minded buyers and sellers.

Encouraging your customers to actively participate by creating and sharing content related to your brand or products cultivates a loyal following. This engagement extends beyond the transactional, creating brand advocates who willingly champion your products.

3. Cost-Effective Marketing

Today, it is not about how deep your marketing budgets are. Instead, it is about how you’re solving buyer challenges and how creatively you speak about your brand.

Although traditional marketing strategies were all about splurging money on Facebook or Google ads, UGC has leveled the playing ground. You don’t seep pockets to create UGC because by nature, it is cost-effective and can even spread organically. When your customers become your advocates, they willingly promote your products without requiring substantial financial incentives.

4. Diverse Content Types

Imagine you’re planning a vacation to the South African coast. Wouldn’t you prefer to look into user generated images coupled with video or written reviews?

Why? Because you want to get as close to reality as possible so you don’t get surprises when you land there.

That’s the variation your customers are looking for too. Apart from authenticity, one of the biggest virtues of UGC is the diversity in content forms. UGC provides a treasure trove of diverse content, ranging from insightful product reviews and unboxing videos to user-submitted photographs and creative testimonials. This diversity allows you to cater to various marketing channels, appealing to a broader audience.

5. SEO Benefits

Now, imagine you’ve almost finalized on a gym membership in your neighborhood. But, before you finally pull your credit card out, you want to check their reviews on Google.

Whilst you’re at it, you come across a YouTube review. Did you realize what’s happening here? It’s the Search engine Optimization (SEO) game at play.

Beyond its impact on customers, UGC also contributes to your website's SEO. User-generated reviews, comments, and discussions contribute to a richer tapestry of user-generated text on your site, which can improve its search engine rankings.

6. Leveraging Social Proof

The concept of social proof plays a pivotal role in persuading potential customers. When they see that others have already made purchases and had positive experiences, it not only triggers a fear of missing out (FOMO), it gives you a sense of assurance that you’re about to take the right step.

That is a potent motivator that drives sales for eCommerce brands.

7 Strategies to Encourage User-Generated Content in eCommerce

With a deep understanding of UGC's significance, let's delve into comprehensive strategies to actively encourage and utilize it in your eCommerce operations:

1. Streamlined Product Reviews and Ratings

Design your website to make it effortless for customers to leave product reviews and ratings. More simply, set up a post-purchase sequence to gather reviews and ratings. Consider offering incentives such as discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive access to encourage participation.

2. Dynamic Social Media Engagement

Actively engage with your customers on various social media platforms. Encourage them to share their experiences, photographs, videos, and stories related to your products or services. Establish and promote branded hashtags to facilitate easy tracking and sharing of UGC.

Pro tip: When they speak positively about your brand online, remember to reshare it or post it on social media by tagging them. If they have a negative review, reach out to them to know what soured their experience and how you could make it better.

3. Energizing Contests and Challenges

Organize engaging contests or challenges that inspire customers to create and share content tied to your brand. Offer enticing prizes or recognition to motivate participation and creativity.

4. Showcasing Customer Testimonials

Solicit and prominently showcase customer testimonials on your website and in marketing collateral. Feature the personal experiences and stories of satisfied customers to build trust and connect on a human level.

5. Collaborate with Influencers

Use the influence of individuals within your niche. Partner with influencers who can generate UGC on your behalf. Their endorsements carry substantial weight and can expand your reach to a wider audience.

6. Nurturing Online Communities

Create and nurture online communities or forums where customers can openly discuss their experiences, share insights, and provide valuable feedback. These platforms enhance the sense of belonging and increase UGC.

7. User-Generated Content Platforms

Explore specialized platforms and tools designed to facilitate the collection, organization, and management of UGC. These platforms streamline the curation and display of this content on your eCommerce site.

User-generated content is not merely a supplementary element in eCommerce but a pivotal component that can propel your brand to new heights. Its power lies in its authenticity, engagement potential, cost-effectiveness, and the trust it builds among your customer base. By integrating UGC seamlessly into your eCommerce email flows and overall marketing strategy, you create a dynamic ecosystem where customers become advocates, ultimately driving the success of your online business.

5 Powerful Ways to Turn One-Time Buyers Into Lifelong Customers With Refunnel

Despite UGC becoming a goldmine for eCommerce brands, sourcing and managing it can be daunting, especially when trying to convert one-time buyers into lifelong brand ambassadors. 

You could have a person responsible for generating UGC and monitoring what is being spoken online. But, what if you’d like to track social posts or filter the best UGC in specific geographies?

This is where Refunnel steps in. Let’s understand how Refunnel can launch your UGC strategy:

1. Streamlining Content Tracking and Engagement

Refunnel simplifies the UGC process for brands. It acts as a central hub for tracking content where brands are tagged. But it goes beyond mere tracking – Refunnel enables brands to actively engage with their audience by running creative challenges, encouraging a diverse range of content submissions from fans. This interactive approach not only boosts brand visibility but also fosters a community around the brand.

2. Nurturing Customer Relationships

Often, brands invest heavily in customer acquisition but fall short in nurturing these relationships. Refunnel bridges this gap. It allows brands to recognize and reward their customers, turning them into vocal advocates. Incentives like free products, gift cards, or exclusive merchandise can be powerful motivators for customers to share their success stories, thus promoting the brand organically.

3. Refunnel and Email Marketing Integration

The integration of Refunnel with email marketing platforms like Klaviyo takes UGC sourcing to the next level. There are two primary ways to leverage this:

  • Email Campaigns: Brands can target various customer segments such as Recent Purchasers, Engaged Recent Purchasers, Repeat Purchasers, and customers who have left 5-star reviews. The strategy involves offering rewards like discounts or product giveaways in exchange for video reviews. Refunnel automates this process with custom email templates, efficient UGC tracking, and managing payouts.

  • Email Post-Purchase Flow: This strategy involves a carefully timed sequence. The flow is triggered 5-10 days after the product delivery, with an initial email offering a straightforward prompt about the type of content needed. If there’s no content submission, a conditional branch sends a follow-up email to those who opened or clicked the first email, reminding them of the offer. This entire flow is streamlined and automated by Refunnel, ensuring a consistent and effective approach to sourcing UGC.

4. Building a Community of Brand Advocates

By inviting satisfied customers, especially those leaving positive reviews, to share their experiences in exchange for rewards, brands can build an army of fans. This community doesn’t just supply creative content; it acts as a trust-building engine, influencing potential customers through genuine, relatable stories.

5. Capturing Organic Customer Moments

Sometimes, the best UGC comes organically, with customers sharing their experiences without any prompt. Refunnel helps brands identify these golden moments on platforms like Instagram or TikTok and leverage them to nurture long-term ambassador relationships. This approach not only enhances brand authenticity but also recognizes and rewards genuine brand love.

But, is there a live example of how Refunnel enables it? Examining Beauty by Earth case study

An excellent example of Refunnel's effectiveness is seen with Beauty by Earth. The company had two big challenges:

  1. It was finding it difficult to track Instagram and TikTok content. 
  2. Secondly, paying creators and securing their usage rights was proving to be cumbersome.

Result? Wasted spending on software without UGC campaigns not taking off.

Refunnel automated the capturing and storing of UGC tags, including Story mentions. It inspired top creators with inspiration to create a wide variety of content whose usage rights and payouts were approved seamlessly.

It led them to launch 81 new UGC assets within two weeks of launching their first UGC challenge. More importantly, the company saved 5+ hours manually acquiring and tracking content and managing usage rights.

How Refunnel helped Beauty by Earth collect UGC posts and streamline content

The Transformation with Refunnel

Without Refunnel, brands often struggle with manual campaign management, tracking, and individual outreach for usage rights and payouts. Refunnel automates and streamlines these processes, freeing up valuable time and resources. This efficiency means that even Story mentions during weekends don’t go unnoticed, ensuring a comprehensive UGC strategy.

Enjoyed this guide on UGC? Follow Atif Raza, founder of Refunnel on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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