How retailers can benefit from user generated content

U

ser generated content is all the rage these days.

As a smart retailer, business owner, or social media manager – you will want to utilize this unique type of content.

In this article, we are going to explain what exactly user generated content is, and how retailers can find and use UGC in order to promote their products in stores (and websites!) and strengthen their social media game.

What is user generated content (UGC)?

In simplest terms, user generated content is every type of content created by the users of your product rather than by your content marketing team.

Tweets, Snaps, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, blog and forum posts… All of these (and much more!) belong under the umbrella term known as “user generated content.”

Why do people create user generated content?

There are plenty of reasons as to why people find creating this type of content worthwhile. It usually comes down to one of three things:

  • Love for the brand (loyalty)
  • Showing off their lifestyle (vanity)
  • Creative expression (hobby)

Depending on what motivates your fans to create UGC, you should remember to utilize different tactics to encourage them to create and share their content with you.

(More on that in our next article, so do come back next week, when we will talk about how you can motivate your fans to create more UGC you can use in your marketing efforts!)

The benefits of using UGC in your marketing efforts

The main benefits of collecting user generated content are rather straightforward. We can list them as follows:

  • UGC is the best source of social proof
  • Utilizing UGC raises engagement with the brand
  • UGC is reliable and free advertising for brands and businesses
  • UGC is a great source of content for your marketing efforts

Leveraging social proof with user generated content

Social proof is a well-researched concept that tells us people will confirm to the actions of others around them under the assumption that those actions are reflective of what is deemed to be the “correct” behavior.

The problem with social proof?

It’s all around us, but we are often not very creative when it comes to displaying it.

Today, it’s hard to find a website that doesn’t have some sort of social proof displayed on it. Be it in the form of trust icons, company logos or number of customers served info, most websites today offer some sort of social proof in order to get you to become their user or a customer.

The old-school social proof
The old-school social proof

Have you noticed something off about these types of social proof? That’s right. They aren’t exactly… Social.

User generated content is the purest and most convincing social proof you can find. It’s real content, created by real people. It isn’t there to convert or sell, and that is why people trust it more than they do icons and company logos.

Better social proof: User generated content
Better social proof: User generated content

We are more likely to trust a couple of Amazon reviews from your average Joe to whom we can relate to, than a thought-out marketing campaign worth millions of dollars and put together by a dozen of marketing experts. It’s simply in our nature.

88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Likewise, according to Lifestyles 2015 research, 72% of opinion-seekers age 25-34 look to social media contacts for recommendations when purchasing goods and services.

If you are a retailer, leveraging social proof through social media is a natural next step to take.

User generated content helps you raise engagement with the fans

Something magical tends to happen when you choose to display high-quality user generated content on your website or share it via your social media channels.

People tend to create even more of it!

We all love our efforts being appreciated, so it is no surprise brands who share UGC created by their fans tend to have even more of it sent their way.

This is a wonderful thing and definitely something content curators and managers should have in mind when considering using a social media wall as a part of their social media, or marketing strategy.

Hey... It's free!

Unlike any other type of content, user generated content costs you, the retailer or brand, nothing to create, yet we've learned it's the type of content your potential customers trust the most when researching your brand and products.

UGC works. It works for you even if you are putting no effort into harnessing it. It works because it is genuine. It's always there, constantly being produced and shared by your fans and users.

Knowing all of this, it only makes sense to put an effort into collecting and displaying this highly useful type of content – and using it as a part of your marketing strategy.

While user generated content works on its own, it will (naturally) work better and do more for you if you help it along by curating and showing it to your fans and customers.

UGC is an inexhaustible source of content for your social media channels

Producing high-quality content every single day is no easy task. Even if you have the best and most creative team of content creators working for you, slow days with no inspiration are bound to happen every now and then.

When they do, user generated content is there to save the day. UGC can inspire you to create your own content by showing you exactly what makes your fans and followers on social media ‘tick’. Also, you can repurpose and repost it on your own social media channels. Just remember to contact the owners of the original posts and ask their permission to do so.

User generated content and retailers

As a retailer, what is the best way for you to put user generated content to work?

Aside from embedding a social media wall into your website, it is best practice that you display UGC on location.

Many retailers and brands have experimented with placing social media walls in the windows of their stores. Some used them within the stores themselves in order to keep the shoppers on location for longer periods of time, but also to inspire them when shopping for a new style or a gadget.

As a result, well-curated and timely social proof seen in stores can help shoppers make the decision to go ahead and purchase the items they have been browsing in your store.

Ready to take the next step?

Now that you know all about the value of user-generated content and are ready to take the next step – it's time to sign up for Wallery!

Start your free 7-day trial (no credit card required) and create your first social media hub.

Unsure of where to display your creations or how to make the best use of UGC? Contact us at [email protected]! Our experts will be happy to help you out.

Ines Anić

Social media expert at Walleryapp
Interested in all things social, Ines is our go-to person when it comes to new trends in social media. When she isn't blogging for Wallery she can usually be found gaming.
21 articles

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