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Consumer Generated Marketing: How to boost consumer engagement

Visuals are known to be one of the most impactful types of media on buyer behaviour. However, it’s not as simple as just slapping any image onto your eCommerce and hoping for the best. This is where you need to consider Consumer Generated Marketing, aka User Generated Content

Visuals taken by professionals in a studio with paid models lack authenticity, people don’t trust the brand fully as they are given a limited perspective on their products. This inherently makes them less likely to purchase. User Generated Content Marketing gives your consumers the opportunity to see real people using your products. Essentially, it works like peer review, and that’s not the most effective way of evaluation for nothing. 

Our recent study showed that UGC photos are 5X more likely to convert compared to Professional Content (PC). On top of this, according to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 83 percent of consumers value peer recommendations and reviews above PC.

When you celebrate your community by sharing your consumer’s photos, you inspire your audience to take their own photos related to your brand and share them with their own following. Alas, you have a plethora of User Generated Content you can integrate into your eCommerce to increase engagement on both social media and on your website. This cross-channelizing fuels the circle of engagement.

Do you want to further leverage high-converting UGC in your online strategies?

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How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Hashtags

Consumer generated marketing is a lot more simple than many people assume. All you need is a few actionable strategies to interest your audience in engaging with your brand, which should always be the goal as an eCommerce store, right? 

Below is a small guide on hashtags to start growing your customer content database. 

1. Create a branded hashtag

Hashtags do wonders for specific audience targeting, and they really encourage your audience to interact with your brand in a really simple way. Primarily, you need to create a suitable hashtag to represent your business, perhaps a clever play-on-words with your brand name. Without this hashtag, UGC platforms such as Photoslurp can’t collect your UGC and strengthen your brand to consumer relationship. 

So, how to create a hashtag for your brands? Make sure your hashtag is simple, as that increases the likelihood of consumers using it. For example, top fashion brand and Photoslurp client Karl Lagerfeld simple uses #KARLLAGERFELD as their branded hashtag across all of  their social media platforms.

Karl Lagerfeld Instagram bio

Your consumers will see this as an incentive or opportunity to interact with your brand.  

2. Use hashtag campaigns 

In addition to a branded hashtag, you can also utilize an entirely new hashtag, perhaps for events, a new product or a consumer generated marketing campaign. Using different hashtags involves your consumers more efficiently by specifically targeting a set group of people and making the campaign more actionable and personal. 

For example, sporting goods brand Osprey Europe, uses another hashtag on top of their branded hashtag to inspire more UGC, #ospreydiscoverit.

Ospreydiscoverit hashtag on Instagram

This hashtag campaign shows Osprey products in action, being put to the test by consumers while simultaneously producing beautiful content your brand can showcase. 

Creating an ad campaign that centres around a unique hashtag can be really successful because you’re asking your customers to share photos of them doing something. Not everyone is into taking shots of them simply wearing or using their product – they need something as inspiration.

And one of the best things about this strategy is that you don’t need a huge budget to execute it. With knowledge of your target audience, you can easily create a hashtag and photo campaign that helps you spread the word about your products.

3. Promote your hashtag everywhere

Once you’ve got your hashtag, you can start promoting it any time you create branded social media posts. Just displaying your hashtag in your Instagram bio isn’t enough, use it on product packaging, email signatures, brand merch and anything else customers could see when they interact with your brand, including all over your website.

UGC section of Cluse website with hashtag

Fashion brand Cluse brands their website with their dedicated hashtag, simultaneously creating an aesthetic UGC gallery. Don’t forget to tag your users in the photos when you use their content! This will increase engagement and allow your consumers to feel heard and valued, building and strengthening your relationship with your audience. 

Tip: Make sure your branded hashtag is evergreen. In other words, pick a hashtag you can use far into the future rather than one that’s only going to be relevant for a short amount of time. You don’t want your Consumer Generated Marketing strategies to be irrelevant in mere months. Or, recycle your hashtags and keep turning over new ones!

4. Ask your audience to engage

Although it may seem like common sense when someone sees a hashtag that it’s available to share, as a brand you need to make it more actionable. 

You can do this by creating a post with the specific aim of promoting your hashtag campaign or after a customer makes a purchase, you can ask them to share a photo of it in the confirmation email and include a few social sharing buttons to make the whole process easier. They will be excited to share their new product with friends and family which will increase your brand exposure and boost your eCommerce.

It is also worth asking questions to your target audience, but it’s important to know what kind of questions to ask to get the most responses. Ask questions about how your product has helped people’s lives or about their own personal experience with your product. Just make sure it’s not something that could generate a negative response!

How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Promote strong CTAs

Hashtags can’t carry all the work by themselves, to promote them firstly, you need to place strong calls-to-action in places where your consumers are most likely to interact with your brand; this could be  on your social media pages such as your Instagram bio, Facebook homepage, somewhere clear and inconspicuous. Having them on your website is also a must!

This will always give you a sure-fire way of increasing your UGC!

How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Social sharing buttons 

Hashtags aren’t the only means of encouraging an influx of UGC. Social sharing buttons help to increase traffic to your website and your social pages as it makes it easier for your consumers to share their own content. It simplifies the process down to one click. There are a couple ways you can go about this:

3. Add social media buttons to your order confirmation and thank you pages

The customers that are most likely to share content are evidently those that have purchased from you and are loyal to your brand, so it’s vital to target this audience with social media buttons to increase UGC. 

If you encourage customers to share photos of themselves this way (perhaps also promoting your hashtag), it can seriously benefit your business – even if only a small percentage of customers click through.

2. Place the buttons directly on product pages

This method makes it easy for customers to share products they want to buy. They don’t have to spend time-saving the image and pasting the link – all they need to do is click your social sharing button.

Here’s another example from Karl Lagerfeld upgrade their eCommerce using social sharing buttons on their product pages:

Karl Lagerfeld product image on website with social sharing buttons circled

You can see that their social sharing buttons are under the product photo, but you could put your buttons anywhere else on your product page. If you’re not sure where you should put your social buttons on your website, try testing different locations to see which one produces the most social shares.

And avoid including an overwhelming amount of social sharing buttons – just pick the few social networks that are most popular with your customers.

How to increase your Consumer Generated Content: Interactive contests 

Holding online contests is a really effective way to increase your brand visibility, followers, and engagement.

If your business has a new product or a promotional offer or you’re simply looking for another way to get more people posting on your hashtag, hold a photo submission contest to give prizes away to a select few. This method can help you engage with a variety of new potential customers, get people using your hashtag and sharing UGC, build brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales.

First, ask yourself what you want to accomplish, then you can accurately measure your results and adjust future strategies appropriately.

You’ll also want to think about your target audience and what kind of contest they’d be most likely to participate in. For example, a contest that targets 30-something women requires asking for a different kind of photo submission than a contest that targets 14-year-old girls.

After that, figure out a budget and time frame for the contest, pick which social media sites you’ll run the contest on, and decide what the winner will receive.

Instagram post of la maison du canevas online contest

One of Photoslurp’s clients La Maison du canevas et de la Broderie partnered with two cross-stitch French influencers to create a fun video of a dancing duck. Consumers were instructed to contact the influencers to get a frame of the video that they had to cross stitch and post the picture to Instagram with the hashtag #plancanard. The brand then sent a discount code to those who completed their frame! Here is the adorable result!

Gif showing online contest for la maison du canevas

With this collaborative but also competitive feel amongst consumers and brands you can not only develop a more profound relationship with your demographic but get other users seeing your brand and build awareness. 

To use this strategy effectively for your eCommerce store, decide on a contest theme that’s related to your product, and share an Instagram post encouraging users to share their photos.

For instance, if your business is a hiking gear company that wants to promote images of customers wearing your products in a specific setting – out in nature – you can create a contest for the best photos of customers in that setting.

Depending on your goals, you can either create a contest-specific hashtag – this can perhaps encourage people to participate while making it easier to find all submissions – or use your brand hashtag with the goal of getting more people to use it even after the contest.

Your business now has countless branded photos floating around on social media of customers using your products, which you can then utilize further in your Consumer Generated Marketing.

How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Giveaways 

Who doesn’t love free stuff, so hosting a giveaway is a great method to incentivize social media engagement.

While giveaways would be expensive if you do them all the time, remember how much you can benefit when it comes to brand awareness.

It’s all about the return on your investment. The more exposure your products get, the stronger your customer engagement will be, and the better chance you have of creating a strong online community and ultimately driving product sales.

How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Support a cause

Integrating a mission within your brand’s campaigns can not only help you promote your brand’s values but also encourage more people to involve themselves. People are more likely to be attracted by companies that support a cause over those that don’t and many will even switch companies to one that does this. 

Social media posts that showcase some sort of corporal responsibility also perform higher than your standard social media posts. 

When you are choosing a cause to support, make sure it is one that is relevant to your brand and aligns with your values so you can develop a deeper connection with your target audience. An example of this from Photoslurp is fashion brand Salsa Jeans, who launched a t-shirt collection under the campaign ‘NeverSurrender’ with all the proceeds going to the Red cross, an international humanitarian network.

Social media feed on Salsa jeans website showing UGC with charitable cause

Salsa Jeans aligned themselves with a charitable organization that is not only widely known but reflects their morals and values as a brand, with the aim “of being a source of inspiration and good vibes, as well as to give a voice and pay tribute to all the heroes in the fight against Covid-19.” This showcases their ethics as a brand but also increases engagement and consequently, more UGC!

How to increase Consumer Generated Content: Posting customer photos 

Everyone loves to be recognized by the brands they adore and support. If you use your eCommerce website to share User Generated photos, you can enhance user engagement dramatically and also, get more people buying your products.

By highlighting customer photos and reposting them on your own social media pages, you can take advantage of one of the most efficient methods for encouraging customer engagement and conversions. Customers will see photos you post and realize that they too can create their own to share with you, then they’ll be encouraged to buy a product to make it happen.

Here is an example from Photoslurp’s client, TopVintage Boutique, which encourages their audience to interact with their brand.

Instagram post from TopVintage Boutique brand

Demonstrating that they value the input of their consumers, TopVintage has dedicated a section of their website to their involved users. 

UGC section of TopVintage Boutique website

These images are a free promotion for TopVintage and make other customers want to purchase the products featured in the images, especially since the images act as a raw and authentic product review. 

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Time to kickstart your Consumer Generated Marketing strategy

There are a variety of methods to encourage your customers to interact with your brand, post photos related to your eCommerce brand and draw more attention to your products. Remember that engagement like this also involves creating a real dialogue with your customers. 

Through the use of promotional hashtags, contests, and giveaways, you can join the conversation surrounding your brand on social media to generate stronger brand loyalty.

And last but not least, checking out all the different ways your customers enjoy your product can be incredibly rewarding! Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing you created a great product, but you also learn a lot about new ways of engaging your demographic. Request a demo with Photoslurp to boost your UGC!