Harnessing the Power of User-Generated Content in Retail Marketing

Errol Andam Nike

User-generated content (UGC) is exactly what it says on the tin — content produced and posted by people interacting with a brand and its services or products. With its authenticity and unbiased nature, these videos, photos, reviews, blog posts, or articles can work wonders for retailer marketing efforts. 

However, simply reposting UGC won’t take them very far. Instead, Errol Andam, founder of creative experiential marketing agency 10X10 StudioLab, says that employing expert-tested strategies can ensure they get the most out of it and reap the many rewards.

The Benefits of Leveraging User-Generated Content

Content produced by users boasts several advantages over brand-generated content. 

It builds trust and enhances authenticity. Shoppers are inherently skeptical of traditional advertising techniques, particularly the new wave of Gen Z consumers. Thus, they’re more likely to trust information shared by real individuals. 

Plus, UGC offers social proof, showing that others have a positive opinion of the brand/product. This trust could be the difference between a customer choosing the company or going with a competitor. 

On top of that, it lets brands tap into the creativity possessed by their audience. Encouraging people to share content opens a wide talent and perspective pool, offering richer brand experiences than brand-generated material alone. In a world littered with keyboard warriors, this community feel is something many consumers want to hold on tightly to.

How Retail Marketers Can Harness the Power of UGC

Brand loyalty and advocacy aren’t far from each other when it comes to implementing strategies that leverage the power of user-generated content, such as:

Running UGC Contests and Hashtags

Branded hashtags and contests make it easy for users to find and contribute UGC effortlessly. In doing so, retailers are spreading their visibility and encouraging users to be active brand participants. Exclusivity and excitement are powerful emotions that most people don’t want to miss out on. 

Obtaining Reviews with Images and Videos

This particular tactic is one that Matthew Stafford from Build Grow Scale uses to establish trust and authenticity. He mentions that people who read reviews with customer-provided photos or videos are one of the top-converting site visitors.

As doing this takes time (on the consumer’s end), they may require incentives to provide this content. Stafford recommends offering a gift card or discount code, which should be enough to entice many photo-filled, honest reviews.  

Errol Andam Nike

Curating and Showcasing UGC with User Spotlights

Brands should regularly feature the best UGC on their social media channels, offline marketing materials, and websites. Offering credit to customers in this manner motivates more people to participate and yearn for a spotlight moment. 

Featuring such content creates a sense of pride within a customer base, increasing the likelihood that they’ll keep engaging with the brand. 

Educating and Inspiring Audiences

Marketing with user-generated content isn’t just about attracting new customers. Steve Cox from Cisco says it’s also useful for educating and inspiring existing audiences about how the company’s products or services impact other consumers.

Brands can use the content in videos and success stories to maximize the impact and highlight unique cases that may enlighten other people. 

By Errol Andam

Errol Andam