Want to Grow Your Brand with Influencer UGC? Do These 7 Things.
Tuesday Nov 29th, 2022
Are you using influencer user-generated content (UGC) only in your social media strategy?
If so, you’re missing out on bigtime brand growth.
Influencer UGC belongs in ads, product detail pages, emails – anywhere social proof boosts conversion rates.
But most brands are missing out on this simple way to boost results.
Let’s start with what it is.
WHAT IS UGC?
User-generated content is any content - testimonials, reviews, photos, video, audio, meme, blog posts - created by users and it functions like modern day word-of-mouth building trust in the peers of the users who see/hear it. WHY DO BRANDS NEED UGC?
We all know people trust the opinions of their peers more than brands or businesses. 86% of consumers always or regularly seek out photos and videos prior to purchase, according to Power Reviews research.
Consumers prefer photos and videos taken by other consumers over brand or retailer provided assets. Online shopping is driving the demand for UGC.
HOW TO SOURCE UGC? To meet this need, brands are turning to micro and nano influencers. These real users and talented content creators can be tapped to build a library of authentic images, videos, and testimonials predictably.
Once you have a reliable source of UGC, the fun begins. You can start integrating it into your marketing mix to drive brand discovery and increase traffic, conversions and average order values. So, the question is: where can this relatable, more trustworthy content be used to drive brand growth? To answer that question, we’ve outlined seven ways to capitalize on your user-generated content.
***We’ve also provided a quick refresher on the difference between influencer-generated content and user-generated content. If you’re a seasoned marketer, feel free to scroll past it and start with number one!***
A Quick Refresher:
Influencer vs. User-Generated Content
Marketers often use user-generated content (UGC) and influencer-generated content (IGC) interchangeably. But there is a difference.
UGC is created and posted by uncompensated users. Conversely, IGC is created by compensated content creators, or influencers. Unlike the average user, influencers have an audience and typically are professional or aspiring content creators.
The mix up with UGC and IGC is due to the fact that influencers are users too (or at least they should be). Whether content comes from a passionate consumer or professional creator who has used your product, brands should be ready to leverage it.
While shoppers trust UGC, it’s not always a cakewalk for brands to obtain it.
Brands can’t count on the quality or quantity, nor a timeline for when they'll receive it. That’s a challenge for brands that want to build strategies around UGC.
Furthermore, while millennials love to show off their new kicks, hats, and sunglasses on social media, some products rarely get showcased (think lingerie, laundry detergent, toothpaste, lotion, etc.). Because UGC doesn't necessarily come from a campaign, it rarely aligns perfectly with a brand's seasonal requirements, either.
When brands do receive UGC organically and it is suitable for reuse, it’s important to obtain permission to reuse the content and keep a file of screenshots of the permissions.
Lastly, brands are increasingly promoting not only their products but also their purpose. UGC rarely highlights a brand’s mission beyond the products.
That's where IGC can help. Brands can count on the quality and quantity of posts and request thematic content to meet their marketing needs. What's more, influencers generate about three times more word-of-mouth messages than non-influencers. Plus, influencer messages are also more impactful on purchasing decisions. Four times as powerful, in fact! Brands can also negotiate licensing rights upfront with the influencers so that permission is not a question.
Ultimately, most brands need to supplement UGC with high-quality influencer UGC. By doing so, and leveraging both, you'll build trust and boost sales.
1) Add UGC to your ecommerce product detail pages.
Simply exposing shoppers to UGC on your product detail page (PDP), increases conversion by 8.5%, according to Power Reviews. That’s easy, right? But do you want to really kick it up a notch? Make the UGC interactive. Shoppers who interact with UGC demonstrate significantly higher conversion. One way to encourage interactions is to display UGC in an interactive photo gallery on the product detail page. Below, Little Hometown features interactive images, videos, product shots and reviews in its gallery. Power Reviews found a 110.7% conversion lift when a shopper clicks on any image in such a gallery.
2) Add UGC to your Amazon product detail pages.
Research by Profitero found brands get an average 45% sales lift by adding more images and a 58% sales lift by adding video to their product detail page on Amazon. Amazon allows up to seven images (or six images and one video). Maximize your Amazon conversions by using all seven spaces to tell your brand story. Build confidence for your online shoppers by using different types of images. In addition to the required product shot on a white background, show the product in a real life setting, out-of-the box, in use, and with a view of scale and proportion. Below is an example of a lifestyle image on an Amazon product detail page from Coffee Beanery. It adds to the brand story and answers multiple questions, including:
Who uses the product?
Where is it used?
How does the user feel?
What does the product really look like (providing validation from a real user)?
What is the relative size of the product?
3. Use influencer UGC in Google Display and Shopping Ads
To bolster engagement, use influencer generated content for your next Google display or shopping ad. WordStream notes that “e-commerce ads that feature user-generated content drive four times as many clicks as e-commerce ads that don’t.”
The relatable images tell a better story to shoppers and are more relatable than a staged photograph. Save yourself the cost of stock photography or expensive photo shoots and repurpose IGC to maximize your online ads.
4. Share influencer UGC across all social media platforms.
Millennials are three times more likely to research products on social media when deciding which brand/product to buy. Connect with them by incorporating original brand images from influencers. Share influencer content across all of your platforms to maximize your reach and surround shoppers with multiple touchpoints.
Using influencer images in your social feeds to highlight real and relatable people builds trust with your audience. A recent Edelman study shows that "trusted companies have stronger consumer buyers and brand advocates."
5. Use UGC in email newsletters.
Adding influencer generated content in newsletters can leave a lasting impression on customers. SalesForce notes that UGC is more memorable. They found that 50 percent of consumers reported UGC as more memorable than brand-produced content.
Additionally, using influencer content in your email marketing increases open rates and clicks. Higher open rates lead to more conversion opportunities. Try combining customer testimonials with their images as part of your email marketing strategy.
6. Make influencer content shoppable.
Turn your IGC into shoppable content. By doing so, you can help convert your share of the 130 million Instagrammers that tap on a shopping post to learn more about products. In a survey commissioned by Facebook, Inc., 81% of respondents said Instagram helps them research products and services. Furthermore, 80% said they use Instagram to decide whether or not to make a purchase.
Furthermore, you can incorporate IGC and UGC into your seasonal lookbook to diversify your model pool. Since influencers have their own style, IGC will highlight multiple ways to style or use your products.
7. Add UGC to guest and company blog posts
Guest blog posts and a company blog are essential tools for reaching new audiences and boosting search authority. The perk of this amplification strategy mainly comes from the fact that you can earn backlinks.
If you're unfamiliar, a backlink is simply a link from one website to another. While it might sound simple, domain and page-level backlinks make up roughly 40% of Google's algorithm. Meaning, if a publication uses one of your photos and leaves you an attribute, you get a bump in search ranking. Likewise, if you create a reader-worthy blog and someone links to it, you'll see a healthy boost in where your page stands in search results.
Additionally, updating your business's past blog posts with new images can have a profound effect. According to the SEO Tribunal, freshening up previous posts with new photos and content could increase organic traffic by as much as 111 percent.
Build your library of visual content.
UGC is now mandatory for consumer brands. Shoppers are looking for it. To compete in today’s content hungry world, you need UGC in your marketing mix. If you’re like most brands and can’t get enough UGC organically, influencers can help. Are you ready to explore how to build your content library? Schedule a quick chat with an ApexDrop strategist.