While most online business owners today recognise that we are in the age of the empowered customer, many have not yet properly considered the merits of the customer doing their selling for them.
User-generated content – otherwise known as “earned media” or UGC – comes in a broad range of forms, including social media posts, blog posts and online reviews, and can make all of the difference to the achievement of greater awareness and sales for your ecommerce site.
What are your options for making use of UGC?
Some of the increasingly popular ways of incorporating user-generated content into a brand’s online presence may seem contradictory to the traditional means by which ecommerce sites have invited users to participate in their story.
Displaying unmoderated customer reviews on your homepage, for instance, may seem risky, but it also helps to engender greater trust among your visitors in what is presented on your site.
Similarly, you might launch a product review programme, whereby you supply expert bloggers with free products of yours to review. This method doesn’t merely expose your brand and its values to the readers of those blogs, but also helps to create a stream of organic search results that users will feel they can trust, and which will guide them in their buying decisions.
At the very least, it assists in creating the impression of your brand as one that is well-known, popular and trusted.
Hashtags and incentives can also work nicely
Another approach may be to include social media hashtags and ‘calls to action’ (CTAs) on the packaging of your products to encourage social media users to share content related to your brand.
Sometimes, it only takes such modest prompting to push social media users into sharing content that they may have been tempted to share anyway.
Alternatively, you may choose to give the customer an incentive to share content about a particular new product or service that you have just launched. You may, for example, enter them into a prize draw that will enable them to win free or discounted use of the given product or service.
There are plenty of possibilities and platforms out there
While platforms like Olapic and Curalate give you various interesting and easy options for incorporating “earned media” into your ecommerce site, it’s also important to bear in mind certain ‘etiquette’ for the use of UGC. These include always giving fair credit to your customers who share content and not ignoring dissatisfied customers.
After all, if expressions of discontent are not dealt with sensitively and promptly, you may find yourself with a wider reputation management disaster on your hands.
Is now the time to set up an ecommerce site that will push your online retailer firmly into 2017 – and beyond? Simply contact the Piranha Designs team today to learn more about our full breadth of experience and know-how.