User-generated content is increasingly becoming important to e-commerce brands' marketing strategies. 

As acquisition costs escalate, UGC becomes an excellent conversion tool for online brands. As well as inspiring consumer confidence, they help to strengthen your brand's online presence - all at unbeatable prices because, most of the time... they're free! 

This article will reveal the best practices of the most successful e-commerce brands to achieve successful UGC campaigns and how you can apply them to your brand to succeed in your strategy! 

1. Boost brand presence with UGC across social networks.

A key feature of any UGC strategy is making your customers want to create content about your brand. Only if inspired will your customers make the best user generated content campaigns to drive success for your brand.

First, you should share your brand-specific hashtag across all social media platforms. This way, your customers know how to tag your brand when they’re creating UGC. Other leads can click the hashtag to view more user generated content focused on your brand (as well as your brand’s social media and website, too).

Next, your focus should be generating the best user generated content campaigns to inspire the creation of user generated content.

Many brands have successfully achieved this by hosting competitions or providing incentive in the form of rewards for creating UGC.

Fast-growing clothing brand UNIQLO partnered with TikTok to host a #UTPlayYourWorld contest, where platform users were encouraged to share short videos wearing the UNIQLO ‘UT’ logo shirt. 

Contest winners earned space on the brand’s platforms, enabling them to gain higher visibility for their own socials. The result: 95,000+ TikTok users created content for the contest, generating a total of 330 million views. 

Many of these views no doubt came from leads who were eventually turned into customers.

Thousand of users created TikTok videos with the hashtag #UTPlayYourWorld
Example of some #UTPlayYourWorld's videos on TikTok.

Similarly, GoPro puts user generated content at the centre of its marketing strategy. By implementing UGC best practices, a large proportion of GoPro’s YouTube content – include the three top performing videos – is user generated content.

This cost the brand nothing, since production was entirely in the hands of the customer – using GoPro equipment of course. 

In return, GoPro received authentic content that would raise awareness of their brand, since the channel has received billions of views. 

GoPro user generated content has become so prolific that the brand even gives awards to the best user generated content. The brand also hosts daily photo challenges to keep the influx of user generated content fresh. 

Example of the 2020 GoPro Awards video on Youtube, which has +3.8M views. 

In addition to competitions, it’s a good idea to check what customers are already posting about your brand (or similar brands). 

By leaning into what your customers are already inclined to do, it could give you some ideas to create the best user generated content campaigns to inspire your customers to make content.

Simply communicate via your website and social media about the content you’d like to see – and where and how you’d like to see it – and your customers are likely to respond.

Moreover, employing UGC tools like Flowbox can help to drive your UGC strategy at a greater scale, as well as collect content created by your customers to integrate into your wider digital strategy.

2. Generate social proof through influencer UGC.

User generated content is incredible at leveraging the power of social proof.

By definition, social proof is a phenomenon in which people observe and emulate the actions of others in a given situation. 

This roughly translates to “they’re doing it, I should be doing it too”.

In a marketing context, social proof – a.k.a. evidence that someone else is using and enjoying a product – fuels purchasing decisions.

This can come from all kinds of user generated content examples. However, influencer UGC is especially effective.

When someone we admire uses a product or service, we automatically hold that brand in higher esteem. The social proof that an influencer values a product enough to share it on their social media is enough to make many customers believe it’s worth buying.

Countless campaigns have proved the effectiveness of influencer marketing.

Recently, Glossier marketed their new blush by using the product on celebrity clients, sharing the results in native feeling content on social media. 

In response, customers posted 1,700 UGC images trying out the blush in the first 7 days of the campaign. This jumped to 6,000 images by the end of the fourth week. 

Example of post for Glossier's new blush campaign.

As more people posted images associating themselves with the brand and its products, it encouraged more to do the same. This is a phenomenon known as the ‘bandwagon effect’. 

Human beings are social creatures. As such, we seek to be part of a wider community – particularly one occupied by those we admire. The best user generated content campaigns present the opportunity to do just that.

3. Continue the momentum on your website.

User generated content doesn’t have to start and end with social media. In fact, a number of big brands have incorporated user generated content into their websites as part of their UGC strategy.

Calvin Klein has an entire landing page dedicated to user generated content. In the place of edited, professionally shot photos of models, real customers sporting the brand’s clothing take pride of place. This gives prospective customers a more relatable idea of how they might look wearing the brand.

Not only does this deliver an authentic experience to leads browsing your website, it can also enhance your brand’s relationship with its existing customers. 

Displaying user generated content on your website shows your customers you value and appreciate the UGC content they’ve created. Feeling rewarded for their loyalty to your brand, they’re more likely to remain loyal – continuing to make purchases and to be an advocate for your brand.

User generated content on your website also improves brand trust. 

As we discussed earlier, trust is vital to converting leads into customers. People want to know that when they spend money, they’re going to get something valuable in return.

A recent study showed that 96% of travellers are more likely to trust a recommendation from an individual than branded content. With this in mind, the Hilton hotel chain uses user generated content to improve trust in their hotel experience.

Hilton integrated photos from the #MyHGV user generated content campaign into their website. Highlighting the authentic experiences of previous customers, this display helps convince leads of the value of the Hilton hotel experience. It highlights that customers – just like them – had a great experience with the brand.

Remember: always ask your customers for consent to use their content, as some may not want their photos posted all over your website. To avoid damaging your relationship with your brand advocates – and to prevent issues with copyright – always get customers’ permission first.

4. Re-use UGC in your email campaigns.

Email marketing is crucial to keep your customers reminded of your brand, to inform them of promotions and – of course – boost revenue.

Email marketing is a key driver of sales, responsible for around 19.8% of all e-commerce transactions. Only two channels accounted for more: paid search (19.9%) and organic traffic (21.8%).

Essentially, email marketing is neck and neck with the top sales channels. So ensuring your email marketing campaigns are as persuasive as possible is essential to e-commerce business success. 

By using UGC best practices, you can make email marketing part of your UGC strategy.

Lingerie brand Ysé repurposes customers’ Instagram photos for their newsletters and email campaigns. With email subjects reading “they look so good on you” and “you in Ysé”, the brand harnesses user generated content examples to bolster the personal relationship the brand has with its customers.

Example of content Ysé is using in its newsletter and displaying on its website.

What’s more, by embellishing email campaigns with user generated content, brands can activate the ‘bandwagon effect’. You can show leads how great other customers look with your products, tempting them to want a slice of the pie.

Embedding user generated content in cart abandonment emails is especially effective. By showing customers what they could have experienced if they’d checked out – highlighting that other customers have done the same – you tempt them into returning to a purchase they previously decided against.

💡 Bigblue Tip

Follow-up emails have an average open rate of 75%.
The Bigblue app allows you to send your customers ultra-personalised, branded post-purchase emails!

To reap the many incredible benefits of UGC for your e-commerce business, implement the four UGC best practices listed above to create the best user generated content campaigns.