In previous articles, we have discussed many avenues of increasing traffic on our sites. From on-site content for our customer to explore to offline marketing efforts through social media, keeping users engaged through content is key to creating reoccurring customers. However, revisiting the idea of customer confidence, some of the most engaging and effective content we can have is user generated content.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content is content created by our customers that discuss our company and products. These powerful pieces of content are word-of-mouth advertising for eCommerce businesses and can be extremely effective in encouraging hesitant customers to give your products a shot. We can find user generated content in formats such as:
- Posts & Comments – written topics and responses brought up by users that related to your company.
- Testimonials & Reviews – structured ratings or written experiences of customer reactions to your products and services.
- Q&A & Forms – moderated discussions concerning questions, concerns, or ideas that customers have that relate to your company.
- Images & Videos – shared visuals of your customers using your products and services.
Benefits of User Generated Content
The main benefits of having user generated content on your site is the increase in traffic it brings as well as its treasure trove of information.
Word of mouth advertising is more effective than us claiming our products and services are valuable. User generated content provides social proof that what we offer is truly worth considering, and that trust between customers can encourage other users to buy from us. Sharing user testimonials and reviews are a good first step in using user generated content to grow the trustworthiness and authority of your company.
Note: Do not use user generated content without consent
When using user generated content for marketing purposes, always ask the permission of the user. Whether it be a review or an image, make sure to get official consent from the creator. Gaining official consent to use user generated content not only prevents legal issues, but also builds a relationship or respect and trust between you and your users.
User generated content offers us insight into what our users want and how they communicate. Keywords, unfulfilled industry opportunities, and feedback can be found in user generated content. This information can help us improve our SEO strategy as well as jump on future business opportunities. Keeping track of common questions in Q&As as well as the pros and cons shared in reviews can help guide us on where our customers want us to go next.
How to get user generated content
Have Avenues for Users to Share their Content
Whether it be an onsite forum or a social media page, the first step to gain user generated content is to have places where users can share content. In our previous article on social media, we explored some of the differences between social media channels. The same idea applies to your website: different page types, such as Q&As, forums, and review forms can invite different user generated content from different kinds of people. Having a variety of places on and off your site where users can talk about your company makes it easier for users to share their content with you.
Note: Some channels require moderation
Much like social media, not all channels of communications are the same. The same applies for different on-site pages that users can interact with. Forums, for example, should have rules that users must follow and are enforced. Without rules, forums can become full of spam and irrelevant content. When choosing what kind of channels you want to offer, research the work you may have to do to maintain it effectively.
Tell users what content you want to see
In order to encourage user generated content, telling users what kind of content you are looking for can help. It’s important to remember that many users may have stories to share, but won’t unless asked. You could ask for users to share their favorite photo concerning your product or service, or to write down how your company has helped them. On social media especially, having user generated content competitions or encouraged themes can lead to more content as well as guide the topic of that content to something valuable.
Want to learn more about bringing traffic to your site?
Optimizing your site for conversions is a full site effort. Check out our blog to find more tips and tricks on how to improve your optimization strategy! If you want more hands-on guidance for improving your website,join the waitlist for Carrie Saunders’ upcoming course, “The Converting Website.” In this course, she will dive into a variety of important factors aim to help you turn more visitors into customers.