User-generated content (UGC) is one of the easiest, but most effective forms of content for Shopify stores to build relationships with your audience, establish trust, and ultimately, drive more sales.
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- What is UGC?
- What types of UGC are there?
- Why UGC can be so powerful for Shopify stores
- How to Use UGC to Improve Your Shopify Sales
What is UGC (User-generated content)?
User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created by your customers or users relating to your brand, product or service.
UGC can include reviews, photos, videos, social media posts, testimonials, and more.
What types of User-generated content are there?
UGC often gets thought of as image-only content i.e. pictures sent in by customers of them interacting with your products to then post on social media.
However, UGC really is any content created by your customers:
1. Customer Reviews
Reviews are one of the most common and influential forms of UGC. Customers don’t always trust the brand they’re buying from - especially if they’re new to the brand - but they will trust another customer.
And if hundreds or thousands of customers are all saying something positive about your product or service, new customers will feel far more comfortable taking the plunge.
Positive customer reviews are essential for developing your brand reputation, converting new customers, and improving first impressions.
2. Social Media Posts
When customers share photos, videos, or updates about their purchases on social media platforms, it not only shows how much they like your product, but gives you free publicity to their connections.
3. Product Photos
One of the most common forms of UGC. Customer photos offer a more genuine and relatable product showcase compared to your professionally shot product photos. High-class product photos aren’t bad by any means, but modern customers aren’t naive - they know you’re showing the product in the best light.
Whereas UGC photos are more realistic, giving potential customers insight into how much your product matches up in real life.
Testimonials are essentially reviews on steroids, and are often organised by the business themselves. Written or video testimonials from satisfied customers helps to build trust and credibility, and can be shared to your website, socials, and other marketing channels.
Testimonials can include a customer sharing a first hand experience, impressive results, or a heartfelt thanks. Think about what questions potential customers might have for current customers - and ask your current customers to answer those in exchange for a discount or free gift.
5. Comments and Discussions
User-generated content can also include comments, discussions, and questions on your website or social media pages. In fact, they might even belong on pages you don’t own - such as Quora, Reddit, or Trustpilot. Keep an eye for what your consumers are saying about you where they don’t think you’re looking. Those comments are more likely to offer greater insight in your brand perception compared to any other, but can be a powerful tool if positive.
Why UGC can be so powerful for Shopify stores
Incorporating user-generated content into your Shopify store's marketing strategy can significantly improve your brand's authenticity and appeal to potential customers.
Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why you need to be using UGC for your Shopify store.
1. Builds Trust
As we’ve mentioned, potential customers trust the opinions and experiences of other customers more than your brand. If customers confirm the claims you’re making, it builds trust between you and your audience.
2. Boost Conversions
Connected to the first point, when shoppers see positive reviews, images, or testimonials, they're more likely to make a purchase. If you tell me your product is great, I’d be interested, but understandably sceptical. If 100 customers tell me your product is great, I’m going to be far more likely to believe them and want to see for myself.
3. Improves SEO
User-generated content often includes keywords and phrases related to your products, improve your search engine rankings and bring in more organic traffic. And these keywords will be more organic, natural, and similar to what your customers are searching.
For example, you might have focused all your keyword research on ‘Military-Style Hiking Boots’ but all your customers are searching for ‘Comfy Combat Boots’. Whilst your site is ranking for the former, all your UGC might be saying ‘these combat boots are so comfy!’, helping you to rank for the latter.
4. Community Spirit
UGC can also foster a sense of community around your brand.
You’re actively sharing, engaging, and elevating with your customers' voice, helping them to feel heard and enticing others to interact with you.
5. Easy Content Creation
Instead of creating all of your content by yourself, you can share and repurpose UGC to showcase real-life examples of your products in action - putting more time back into your hands. Emails and social media are the perfect places to share UGC, as well as in relevant areas of your Shopify store.
How to Use UGC to Improve Your Shopify Sales
Let’s take a look at how you can generate more UGC from your customers - and what to do with it once you have it.
1. Encourage Reviews
Prompt customers to leave reviews by sending follow-up emails after a purchase. Offering incentives or discounts can really help here - not only to drive more UGC, but to encourage a repeat purchase.
For example, try offering 20% off the next purchase when they upload a picture of their order on social media.
2. Create a Hashtag
Try using a unique hashtag with any marketing communication around a customer’s order, encouraging customers to use it when posting about their purchases on social media.
3. Share UGC on Your Website
The great thing about UGC is that it breeds more UGC. By displaying customer reviews and user-generated images prominently on your product pages, users are more likely to join in themselves.
4. Run UGC Campaigns
Competitions are a great incentive to encourage more UGC. Host contests or campaigns that encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand for a chance to win a special prize.
5. Engage with UGC
Give it attention and it’ll grow. Always respond to and engage with UGC when you see it. Thank customers for their reviews and feature their content on your website or social media profiles.
Equally, don’t shy away from replying to negative experiences. Sometimes turning a bad situation into a good one can be more convincing for new customers, because they now know if they have an issue, you can deal with it swiftly and effectively.
6. Leverage Influencers
Influencers are a great way to expand your reach and encourage users to engage with your brand. Partner with influencers in your niche who can create and share UGC about your products with their followers, enticing them to do the same.
7. Maintain Quality
You don’t need to share everything you see. UGC should be treated the same as any other content, with only high quality posts being shared. While encouraging UGC, ensure that the content aligns with your brand values and quality standards.
What is User-Generated Content (UGC) in e-commerce?
User-Generated Content (UGC) in e-commerce refers to any content created and shared by your customers that showcases their experiences with your products or brand. UGC can include reviews, photos, videos, social media posts, testimonials, and more.
Why is UGC important for my Shopify store?
UGC is important because it builds trust, boosts conversions, enhances SEO, and fosters a sense of community around your brand. It provides authentic, unbiased content that influences potential customers and helps improve your online presence.
How can I encourage customers to create UGC for my store?
You can encourage UGC by:
- Prompting customers to leave reviews through follow-up emails.
- Creating a unique brand-related hashtag for social media.
- Running UGC contests or campaigns with incentives.
- Partnering with influencers who can create and share UGC.
- Actively engaging with customer-generated content on social media.
What are some best practices for leveraging UGC on my Shopify store?
Best practices for leveraging UGC include:
- Displaying customer reviews and user-generated images on product pages.
- Sharing UGC on your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials.
- Responding to and engaging with UGC to show appreciation.
- Maintaining quality and ensuring UGC aligns with your brand values.
- Moderating and curating UGC when necessary.
How can UGC help with SEO for my Shopify store?
UGC can improve SEO by providing valuable keywords and phrases related to your products. Search engines recognize the authenticity and relevance of UGC, potentially leading to higher search engine rankings and increased organic traffic.
Are there any legal considerations when using UGC?
Yes, it's important to respect copyright and intellectual property rights when using UGC. Always obtain permission from users to share their content, especially for commercial purposes. Have clear terms and conditions for UGC campaigns and contests.
Most customers understand that sharing content on social media means it’s likely to be used by the brand, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Can UGC be used for products other than reviews and testimonials?
Absolutely! UGC can be used for various purposes, such as showcasing interesting ways that customers use your products, sharing unboxing videos, highlighting customer success stories, and demonstrating product features in real-life settings.
Should I moderate UGC on my Shopify store?
Yes, just like any other content style, it's a good practice to moderate UGC to ensure that it aligns with your brand's values and quality standards.
How can I measure the impact of UGC on my Shopify store's success?
You can measure the impact of UGC by tracking metrics such as conversion rates, post engagement, search engine rankings, and the overall growth of your customer community.
Can I use UGC for marketing campaigns and promotions?
Yes, UGC can be a valuable asset for marketing campaigns and promotions. Consider using UGC in advertising, email marketing, social media ads, and other promotional materials to showcase real customer experiences and build trust with your audience.
Can I use UGC on my Shopify mobile app?
Yes, your Shopify mobile app is the perfect place to use UGC.
Simply drag and drop your images into your Shopify mobile app builder to improve your homepage and product page aesthetic.
Why get a Shopify mobile app?