Consumers are more motivated to make a purchase when brands feature user-generated content, according to a new survey commissioned by TurnTo Networks and conducted by Ipsos. In fact, 65% of consumers say UGC is more interesting than content generated by the brand itself. UGC is particularly powerful when influencing Millennials and Gen Z consumers.
Here are six ways to encourage more UGC.
1) Ask for photos with your product
Rent the Runway will share photos on Instagram of customers wearing their products. LEGO increases customer engagement while showcasing its products by sharing photos and videos of users bragging about their newest creations. LEGO also partnered with Belkin, an accessories brand, to develop a line of customizable iPhone cases, then invited customers to share photos of their custom-made creations.
2) Reward consumers
Some brands offer incentives for customers to submit photos. For instance, a few years ago Starbucks sponsored a White Cup Contest and invited customers to doodle on their coffee cup and post a photo of it. The winning entry was used as the store’s new limited edition cup. Brands can reward consumers with a retweet or social media share or provide a bit more incentive with free swag, a coupon code or gift card. Each of these incentives lets your customers know that your brand is looking for UGC.Make it easier for users to share
Encourage user-generated content by using popular hastags like #ThrowbackThursday or #Photooftheday — or create your own. Walgreens put its own spin on #ThrowbackThursday with the #tbtWalgreens hashtag. Walgreens introduced the hashtag during graduation season and invited customers to share childhood photos of graduates. Yoga and activewear brand Lululemom created the hashtag #thesweatlife and invited customers to tweet or Instagram photos of themselves exercising.
3) Post questions about your product
Ask a simple question via social media, such as what’s your favorite pizza topping or who’s firing up the grill tonight. Sandwich shop Which Wich regularly posts Twitter polls like “How hot is it where you live?” Or create an entire campaign like Lay’s and invite customers to invent a new potato chip flavor, then asked consumers to vote for their favorite. The campaign generated 3.8 million submissions. The winning flavors go on sale July 30. Lay’s is encouraging consumers to try all three, then vote for their favorite.
4) Ask for product reviews
Shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 88% of consumers reading online reviews, according to a BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey. Brands can encourage more customer reviews by including a “write a review” link in a follow-up email a week to 10 days after a product is delivered to the customer. Invite users to provide a review directly on your website, much like Amazon incorporates reviews, or make it easy to provide feedback on mobile by rating the service with stars or on scale from 1 to 10 without requiring the reviewer to log in.
5) Encourage sharing live events
Camera manufacturer GoPro created its #GoProMusic campaign to highlight fan photos taken with GoPro cameras at the Bonnaroo Music + Arts Festival. In addition to engaging fans in real time at a live event, the campaign demonstrated to potential customers how to use a GoPro camera to share a live experience.
Consumers are increasingly looking to fellow shoppers for information about products and UGC is a good way to increase shopper confidence and influence buying decisions. These UGC campaigns work because they align with the brand and its audience to feel authentic and to enhance the shopping experience.