Do you know how many sites there are in the ecommerce universe? According to Lemonstand, there are 12 to 24 million online stores -- and counting.
As an ecommerce entrepreneur you may find it tough to position yourself successfully in front of your target customers, while knowing that tons of brands are also competing for their undivided attention. So, what’s the secret ingredient to gain ecommerce success? Think social proof.
You’ll be able to stand apart from your competition and skyrocket your sales if you tap into the power of social proof in the form of user-generated content.
But, what exactly is user-generated content? The term (abbreviated as UGC) refers to original, unpaid content created by fans or real users of a particular brand. It can exist in the form of testimonials, pictures, comments, Facebook statuses and tweets.
Why is UGC so important to you? How can it help you achieve your business goals? Here are some of the reasons why you should leverage user-generated content.
1. Nurtures trust through authenticity
Studies have shown that 92 percent of online consumers trust recommendations from others. As an entrepreneur, you can spend a huge chunk of your time running paid ads and creating compelling posts to entice people to buy from you. However, you won’t be able to give customers a solid reason to do business with you if you don’t showcase authentic testimonials from real users.
Social proof is powerful. It helps brands become more transparent and worthy of people’s trust. Consider: When was the last time you bought from an online brand without looking into the opinions of previous customers?
2. Boosts brand awareness
When used in the context of online contests, user-generated content does wonders for boosting your brand awareness. When you run an online competition in which you give customers a chance to win a prize in exchange for taking a picture of themselves using your product and sharing it with their friends, your brand will often go viral.
With that kind of free incentive, you encourage real users to spread the word about your brand, thereby expanding your reach. You get more eyeballs for your product or service as your social shares or referrals increase.
3. Improves your SEO
How do you improve your SEO performance without having to create a regular stream of content? User-generated content does the work for you.
Since search engines rely on content to evaluate the quality of your website, featuring authentic user reviews and testimonials sends out the message to these web crawlers that you are providing value to your audience.
To optimize the power of user-generated content for better SEO performance, encourage your customers to leave their comments and upload images of themselves interacting with your product. Doing this will allow you to rank for long-tail keywords based on the phrases that your customers use in their feedback.
4. Lets you provide better customer service
How would you be able to improve your customers’ experiences without knowing and understanding how customers feel about your product? You cannot take your customer service to the next level by basing your efforts on simple assumptions.
Win your customers’ hearts by allowing them to voice their thoughts and feelings in your forum section. This will help you identify their pain points and resolve any issues they run into. Moreover, providing a venue where people can leave their opinions about your brand encourages them to stay on your site longer and openly discuss these issues with other consumers.
5. Increases website engagement
When users see the content they and other users have created on your site, they’ll feel more connected to you. Website users know that you value their personal experiences with your product. In return, those users will engage more with you and put you at the top of their list.
Instead of adding plain stock photos of your products, it's awesome to feature user-generated content images, instead. Place these UGC images together with user reviews on your product page or home page. This strategy persuades visitors to make a purchase.
Get your customers to market your brand for you by providing them opportunities to create user-generated content. Let the audience members who value you feel they belong, and you’ll be able to create better relationships, broaden your reach and be on top of SERPs. Most of all, your sales will increase.
There are tons of user-generated content ideas available today. You just have to tap into each one of these reasons to leverage user-generated content, to see which one works best for your brand.