Do you want to know the secret to creating a popular website? We’ll give you a hint, its initials are UGC — we’re talking about user-generated content. In an eCommerce environment where up to 35 percent of traffic is due to organic searches, and Google gives higher rankings to sites with UGC, brands can’t afford to miss out on the popular power of UGC. Whether you have user-generated visual content on your product detail pages, create a microsite to run a contest, or build an active community around your brand, using UGC throughout your site can improve audience engagement and visitor frequency.
Adding UGC to Your Site by Creating a Visual Community Forum
Leaving your brand image up to your consumers might seem like a horrifying concept, but with a little moderation and a carefully crafted message, your brand can experience tremendous growth in social proof and sales. The Mountain Hardware #FindingWintercampaign is a perfect example of leveraging the power of UGC to create a visual community forum.
Mountain Hardwear combined the powers of social media, trending hashtags, and UGC to encourage customers to share their adventures with the Mountain Hardwear community. The campaign was designed to improve brand awareness, increase user engagement, and create a positive following of brand ambassadors. Additional benefits of the campaign included:
- Ability for consumers to share their own stories in visually appealing ways.
- Improved brand awareness on social media networks.
- Enhanced social proof, which resulted in more sales.
- Active brand moderation and perfect timing for seasonal promotions and sales.
Leverage UGC to Run Effective Brand Contests
Brand sponsored contests are a great way to drive new traffic to your site. When you combine the benefits of social media with UGC and your current customer base, the results can be astronomical. Just take a look at the Starbucks #WhiteCupContest.
In 2014, Starbucks noticed that many customers were posting their own versions of Starbucks cups. However, the customers were receiving little to no recognition from the brand. Leading up to fall 2014, Starbucks designed that this needed to change; customers needed to be recognized, thus the #WhiteCupContest was born.
Participants were encouraged to submit an original design on Instagram or Twitter. By May 2014, Instagram had received over 2,000 submissions. As more submissions rolled in, Starbucks began to aggregate submissions on their Pinterest page. The beauty of this tactic? Starbucks successfully encouraged customers to:
- Purchase a drink to participate in the contest
- Share their submissions on social media
- Encourage friends, family, and even strangers to like and / or share their submissions
- Visit and subscribe to more than one Starbucks’ social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest).
In September 2014, Starbucks announced the winner saying, “We’ve had so much fun bringing Brita’s design to life – from the initial idea for the contest to holding the finished cup in our hands, everyone involved has been blown away by the imagination and talent of so many of our customers,” said Ryan Turner, Starbucks director of global social media. Through the campaign Starbucks not only created a customer for life, but they gave back to their loyal customers in the best possible way — the promotion of individuality and creativity.
Adding UGC on Your Product Detail Page
Implementing UGC onto your product detail pages can help to convert shoppers into active consumers. In fact, over 70 percent of consumers agree that consumer reviews make them feel more comfortable about their intended purchase. But, how do you capitalize on the 63 percent of people who are more likely to purchase a product from a site if it has product or services reviews? The answer: add UGC to your product detail pages by leveraging the following tips:
- Use an ecommerce platform that has a built-in rating and review component.
- Encourage UGC on your social media accounts by encouraging people to share their stories.
- Create a micro gallery, like Butter London, to encourage customers to share their visual user-generated content.
Butter London recently installed a UGC gallery that is specifically tied to its latest nail polish colors. Users can share their photos using the hashtag #ButterLondon, or by visiting the site and choosing to “Share Your Story.” The campaign successfully drives customers to the brand’s social media sites and eCommerce site.
Concluding Thoughts on Using More UGC for Your Website
The jury is in and the vote has been made, UGC is here to stay. Not only will it be around for the foreseeable future, but it can help to elevate your brand to new heights, drive sales, and increase your customer base.