When it comes to meeting prospective clients as an entrepreneur, your first impression should be polished, professional, and, most of all, memorable. In our tech-first world, a great way to make an impression on a potential client is by having an attractive and well-built website.
Essentially, your website is your calling card. It tells your audience who you are, what you’re about, and what you offer. Long story short, a high-quality site can be an absolute game-changer for your business.
If you currently have a website, but it lacks a high e-commerce conversion rate, it can quickly become more expensive to maintain than the money you’re making from it. A low conversion rate is something you don’t want when you are working to grow your business!
Here’s the good news.
If you don’t have a high conversion rate, you don’t need to build out an entirely new website. You don’t even need to make any real substantial changes to your existing site.
So then, what’s the solution?
You can easily convert more visitors to your site by incorporating user-generated content, or UGC for short.
Why should you incorporate user-generated content into your website?
Here’s the deal…
Brands that include user-generated photos as opposed to professionally produced images see their e-commerce conversion rate increase an average of 25%.
Not only can UGC increase your conversion rates, but you can also save money on your advertising budget.
Here are a few more statistics to prove our point:
- Brand engagement increases by 28% when customers come across a combination of professionally produced content and UGC.
- 48% of customers say that UGC is the most common way prospects find new brands, products, and retailers.
- 82% of customers agree that UGC is a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions.
Now that I have thoroughly convinced you of your need for user-generated content, how do you incorporate it into your site?
Consider this guide your go-to handbook for all things UGC.
After you’ve read this article, you will have a deeper understanding of how UGC works, and you’ll be able to directly apply that to help drive conversion rates on your website.
It’s a win-win.
Ready? Let’s do this.
The Value of Social Proof
Now, you already understand that having professional content on your website can help it to appear more sophisticated and successful. However, did you know that 92% of customers are more inclined to trust the content that comes from actual users, as opposed to the branded content?
Now, this may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out.
Every business, no matter what, is going to claim that they’re the best in their field. They want you to believe that they are offering the highest-quality products and services; this makes perfect sense because it’s in the company’s best interest to build themselves up.
However, as consumers, we get so numb to hearing business after business tout their praises; eventually we stop listening to it, and even worse, we don’t trust the information.
On the flip side, when we see that a customer takes the time to endorse the brand, product, or service, we begin to listen. Take yourself, for example; how often do you take the time to leave a positive review on a company’s website or tell your friends and family about a product?
If you’re honest with yourself and like most people, it’s probably close to never. In general, we are far less likely to hear about what makes a brand great from its customers than we are from the brand itself.
What does all this mean?
User-generated content and feedback carry more weight on a consumer to consumer basis.
Let’s take a recent example. Coca-Cola just had an incredibly successful campaign called #ShareACoke. The campaign centered around the idea that customers would buy a coke and then share a coke. The campaign works any way you spin it, in person or online; the use of the hashtag gives the campaign a modern feel and lends itself more towards social media.
However, Coca-Cola took it even a step further. The campaign wasn’t just about sharing a coke in general. The brand also featured common names on the Coke bottles and cans, which enticed customers to accept the challenge of finding their names on the beverage.
Eventually, #ShareACoke was trending online, and Coca-Cola was able to reap the benefits.
For the first time in over ten years, Coca-Cola saw its sales in the United States and worldwide, increase by more than 2%.
Now, you might be wondering if it will work for your brand, too?
The Hashtag Campaign
Hashtag campaigns are an incredible marketing tool for many reasons.
- Hashtags connect people on a global scale. Think about it, no matter where on earth you call home, through hashtags and social media, you’re able to connect with people and come across ideas that you would never have encountered even five years ago.
- Hashtags are FREE. Of course, social media offers paid advertising opportunities and boosted posts, but adding a hashtag to your post is free. So, if you can find a smart way to inspire your customers or clients to use hashtags, then you can instantly connect with potential untapped clients.
- Hashtags work. When hashtag campaigns are created and executed well, they are proven to increase your eCommerce conversion rates, thus generating new interest for your brand.
Social Media Marketing
Hashtags aside, social media is an excellent tool for connecting with your clients on a more personal level and encouraging conversion. One way to do this is by using a tool like Photoslurp, which is a plug-in that allows you to make your Instagram photos shoppable.
If you have a customer scrolling through their Instagram feed, you want them to be able to move directly from seeing your content to purchasing your product. You accomplish this by reducing or (if possible) removing friction.
Plug-ins like Photoslurp allow you to do this by allowing people who see your content on Instagram to buy it directly from the ad. All they need to do is click or swipe.
Managing Social Media Like A Pro
As your social media platform and network begins to grow, it can eventually start to feel like a daunting task to oversee them. That’s where Hootsuite comes in.
Hootsuite is a digital tool that makes it possible for businesses to schedule, manage, and report on social media content all in one convenient location. Hootsuite streamlines the process of maintaining and planning your social media.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule your posts in advance, which will enable you to keep your social media active 24/7, without even really having to think about it!
There are many perks to maintaining a thoughtful assembled Instagram feed, but the most critical advantage is that it allows potential new customers to scope out your brand. Using UGC within your social media is a great way to encourage customers to try out your product.
Another great way to incorporate UGC into your social feed is to follow the tactics of another famous drink brand, La Croix. La Croix’s Instagram feed is primarily made up of UGC. If a customer snaps a photo and posts it on their page using the hashtag #lacroix, there’s an opportunity for their image to be re-shared by La Croix itself.
This strategy creates two opportunities.
- Potential customers see that other customers love the brand so much that they post about it; they are more likely to buy it themselves.
- Once they become a new customer and love the product, they will be inspired to take their pictures in the hopes of the brand sharing it.
The great thing about Instagram is that it’s not strictly about sharing photos. Customers are also able to write their own experience right within the post. In the spirit of social media, other customers can comment and interact with the post.
You get free advertising and promotion for your brand.
From the Eyes of the Customer
There are different types of customers.
Some make impulse buys. For that type of customer, you want to create a feeling of exclusivity surrounding the product.
On the other hand, you have customers who want to research and investigate a product deeply before they buy it.
How does a customer evaluate the value of the product?
Most often, reading reviews or running a product comparison.
What’s going to inspire them the most to buy the product?
Encountering positive UGC from other customers.
UGC makes it possible for potential customers to have their questions quickly answered about your product without having to buy it first or go hunting for information. Powerful and positive UGC from current customers is all you need to convert new sales.
When it Rains, it Pours
Effective social media content, hashtags, and other UGC encourages current customers to post UGC, which in turn inspires other customers, and the effect grows exponentially.
By using UGC on your website and in social posts, you’re showing that you value your customers, their opinions and that your brand values transparency.
Higher Conversion Rates Through UGC-Supported Advertising
It might be tempting to think that you’ve found the ultimate hack, and your customer base will grow overnight. However, that’s not entirely correct. Keep in mind that your potential customers are inundated daily with ads of all different kinds.
They see them everywhere from TV to online, their phones and social media, and after a while, it becomes easier to block them out. Many customers won’t even consider an advertisement unless there’s some endorsement from a trustworthy source. That reliable source is through UGC.
Including UGC can increase a Facebook ad’s click-through rate by 300%. Not only is that a highly successful click-through growth, but it also means that you’re paying much less per click.
Keeping the Customer’s Attention
As a business owner, your goal when it comes to ads is to obtain as many clicks as possible. But it can’t just stop there. You need the customers to follow through and convert to a purchase.
If a customer arrives at your website, clicks around, and sees UGC throughout, they are more likely to convert into a real buying customer.
Using programs like Hootsuite and Photoslurp make it possible for you to embed clickable links in the photos that you share and schedule your posts in advance. Automation allows you to keep your content fresh and continually updated. When you use UGC as a primary form of content, it’s proven to encourage potential customers to become buying customers.
In today’s digital world, using UGC and social media is the most reliable tool for obtaining new customers, and increasing website traffic and conversion rates.
If you aren’t already using UGC as a part of your marketing campaigns, now is the perfect time to start!
NOTE: This article has been written by Joshua Buxbaum.
Joshua Buxbaum is the Co-Founder and Sales Director at WebPurify and oversees client relations, ensuring the best moderation solution based on each individual client’s needs.