How to Integrate UGC In Your Ecommerce Social Media Marketing Strategy
Social media marketing remains one of the best avenues for business growth. Instagram, particularly, has proven to be the go-to platform for ecommerce retailers (especially those with photogenic products). But it’s a long game of consistently churning out content, and knowing what to post can be quite a challenge. What is it that your audience would like to see?
Enter user-generated content (UGC) – a simple and effective way to establish a better connection with your followers. For Shopify store owners, UGC is not only great for boosting your online community but also a way to reduce content production costs.
In this post, we’ll look at seven smart ways to integrate UGC into your social media marketing strategy. Before we dive in, note that the same basic principles of harnessing user-generated content apply to Shopify UGC. The details will depend on your niche and the kinds of products you’re selling. That’s why the examples we’ve included are not from other Shopify stores. They’re chosen based on each brand’s success with incorporating UGC into their marketing and with an aim to include different industries.
That being said, here’s how to use UGC to boost sales, follower counts, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Show Customers Using Your Product
The most obvious way to leverage user-generated content is to share photos and videos of your customers using your products. This will help you showcase the products better and show your followers how they can be used.
User-generated content tends to be considered more trustworthy simply because there is no agenda involved. It’s just regular people sharing their lives and mentioning the products (or services) they enjoy.
You should also ensure that you share this content beyond social media. Gili, for example, has done a marvelous job of incorporating plenty of UGC on its website. This kind of social proof will certainly help Gili boost sales, as it shows just how many people trust the brand.
Going the extra mile can be a great tactic as well. When you share someone’s post, reach out to them and thank them for using your product. Share an additional tip. In fact, go ahead and send them a message of thanks even if you decide not to share their post. The idea is to show the human side of your brand and try to connect with every customer. The more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to make repeat purchases.
Let Them Tell Their Stories
When people follow a brand on social media, they want to hear what others have to say about it. That’s where user-generated content steps in. It allows you to let your customers talk about their experiences in their words.
The simplest thing you can do is to reshare someone else’s photo, video, or story. Perhaps they’ve just bought one of your products and loved it? Or maybe it’s a firm favorite, and they’ve just received their fifth order? Most of us like to show what we get up to on a daily basis, so hunt around socials to see who’s mentioned you. Repost with the proper credits, of course.
Alternatively, you can reach out to your customers yourself. Ask them to share their story with you and how your brand fits into it.
This is what Bay Alarm Medical has done to great success on its Instagram.
The company uses customers’ words in photo captions, getting very personal and specific, giving a glimpse into the lives of its satisfied clients.
Make the Posts Shoppable
Shopify UGC can also help you increase sales for specific items. After all, no matter how well you shoot a product, it’s always best to see it in action in the real world.
Plenty of your customers will likely share images of themselves wearing or using your products. You can simply reshare these images and include a shoppable link that will take your customers directly to your store.
Now, the photos you shoot yourself might be cleaner and represent the product better. However, followers are more likely to be swayed by a user-generated photo simply because it’s more real. After all, your aim, as a brand, is to try and show your product in its best light, whereas a customer’s aim is merely to show it.
Monsoon has had great success with its shoppable Instagram posts. The brand encourages its customers to share outfits using the #MyMonsoon hashtag, which makes it easier to find and reshare. Use a similar tactic and shine a light on the photographic skills of your followers.
Replace Photoshoots with UGC
You can also replace your brand-generated content with user-generated content. Shooting products can be incredibly expensive, especially when you need an original and never-before-seen post for your social media several times a week in order to stay relevant. With Shopify UGC, you won’t be spending anything, and the posts can do incredibly well.
Of course, you should continue to share some branded material. But there’s nothing wrong with your feed consisting almost exclusively of non-branded material, at least when you’re not introducing a new product.
This tactic serves community-building extremely well, too. Just take a look at how Glossier is doing it. The brand attributes its success to its customers, who eagerly share images and videos of themselves using Glossier’s products.
This is the kind of ambassadorship you can achieve with Shopify UGC as well, especially if you can foster a feeling of camaraderie and community among your followers. Encourage storytelling and bonding on a more personal level by giving various prompts and sharing the stories of the people behind your brand.
Let Them Ask the Questions
Sometimes, you’ll need to facilitate UGC by relying on some prompts to get your audience involved.
The prompt will depend on your audience and your brand, but Q&As tend to work really well. They give you the opportunity to share meaningful information with your audience. You can use them to give tips and engage with followers in a new way.
For instance, you can do themed Q&As about specific products or services, especially just after they’ve launched. You can share how-to information, or you can get more personal and talk about your Shopify store. Show the people behind the brand and have them talk about their favorite products.
Hosting a Q&A will bring you a fair bit of engagement. There will probably be an increase in your views, as the people who have asked questions will come back to see whether you’ve answered.
Take a look at how Skillcrush hosted a Q&A a while back. It was centered around career advice and landing the perfect job.
This is another idea you can utilize. Invite an expert in your industry to have a chat with your audience or let a brand ambassador take over your social media accounts for the day.
The more personal and open you are and the more you engage with your audience in a one-on-one setting (even if it’s through a Q&A), the less faceless you will become and the more support you will garner.
Support Their Success
Your followers are all there for a reason: a shared interest or interests. This means they are all connected by a common trait. They might like to hear more about each other and how your brand has played a role in their lives.
Supporting the success of your followers and customers can be a great way to offer motivation and inspiration. It certainly helps foster that sense of community we keep talking about. This may be something as simple as wishing someone a happy birthday or congratulating someone on a promotion. It can even be merely cheering them on as they do something they haven’t done before.
You can check out how Transparent Labs does it. While the brand does focus on the fitness success of its athletes, sharing these major triumphs helps its followers feel more inspired and more a part of the same family that strives towards the same goals.
Leverage User-Generated Content for Your Ads
Finally, you can also use Shopify UGC for your social media ads. If you notice a specific image or a specific kind of image is showing success and getting a lot of likes and comments, you can also use it for a paid ads campaign. Or, if there is an image that encapsulates your brand well but has been created by a user, don’t shy away from leveraging it.
You can use these images for retargeting as well. A lead will likely be swayed better by an image of a product in use than by a generic image of a product they’ve already seen.
This is how Parachute manages to convert a fair share of its visitors, cleverly employing users’ images.
Of course, Parachute happens to have very photogenic products, but we’re sure you’ll be able to hone in on some similarly appealing photos too.
Consider how you can utilize some of these tips for your own social media marketing strategy. However, bear in mind that different tactics will have varying levels of impact on different audiences.