The fashion industry is one of those largest industries without which life becomes black and white, a little dull. It’s the need, it’s the essence. Being so vast and popular, it attracts millions of people to get involved in. Be it as a seller or a consumer, they simply want to contribute to the fashion industry
As per the data collected by FashionUnited: In the US, the fashion industry contributes 4% of the market share, employs 1.9 million people, and is worth approximately $406 billion.
To survive in such a large market, especially when it comes to online, eCommerce business owners use various marketing tactics to stand out from the rest.
Just for the sake of hunger to fulfill such needs, yet again, a trending and effective technique of User Generated Content strategy has hit the marketing industry. Everyone who needs more audience, more engagement and more sales are going loco over the concept. So, what’s so charming about this ‘user generated content strategy’? Let’s find out in detail.
What is User Generated Content?
User generated content AKA user-created content includes the content of any type like images, videos, hashtags, text, audio, reviews that have been posted online by real consumers.
Such promotions are usually unpaid and done rather out of likeness towards the brand. Have you ever seen someone with a tattoo of Coca-Cola or any brand logo they are crazy about? Well, that’s a kind of user’s likeliness that is seen only by the people who are near that person.
However, the kind we are talking about is more pervasive. Users post it over social media, leave huge admiring comments on the feedback platforms, and influence others to turn towards the brand.
It has become one of the most effective and authentic marketing tactics. It’s so useful that online business owners need user generated content strategy now more than ever.
What are the benefits of user generated content strategy?
To explain the benefits of user generated content strategy, let’s use an example. What do you think a bun is for a burger? Well, if the stuffing is the eCommerce business, then UGC is definitely the bun to it. Without the bun, the burger just doesn’t qualify as a successful burger!
Yes, that’s how important the user generated content strategy is for eCommerce business owners. It qualifies an online store to be more authentic and worth trying. It gains more trust just because an original, genuine buyer said so!
John Doerr (Venture Capitalist) has said – “The next wave of the Web is going to be user generated content.”
We all agree that mouth publicity is one of the best marketing tools. Ever wondered why? It is because the admiration comes directly from the people who have tried and tested the product. People tend to trust less on what the brand says about itself (who wouldn’t admire their own brand?), and more on what the users have to say.
Still, wondering what could you achieve through user generated content strategy? Let me lay it down more clearly.
1. Grabs Attention within Seconds
In this world where the content is more abundant than water, it’s too easy for anyone’s attention to be snapped away in the blink of an eye. Just another feed, a single refresh, or a pop up from somewhere else, and just like that, the bubble that you created after investing so many efforts is popped.
User generated content works seamlessly because even if something ‘made up’ comes upfront, the consumer is more likely to trust what is actually experienced by the actual user.
As per Tintup – When customers create and share content on social media channels, they get 28% higher engagement against any standard company posts.
Especially when it comes to fashion brands, user generated content strategy is the most influential strategy that can easily build trust. People need complete insight into the quality, fit, colors, and if the product is the same as shown. User generated content strategy simply qualifies the product to be perfect to buy or not.
2. It’s more authentic
Customers are no longer naive to fall for any information you cook up to feed them. They know how fake the colors and glaze could be when it comes to highly touched images and edited videos.
No matter how much you try to blind your customers into flashy advertisements, nothing can beat the authenticity of UGC. If you want your customers to truthfully give you their complete attention, then user generated content strategy is perfect to convince them.
As per Cohn & Wolfe, 63% of customers said they would instead buy from a company they consider to be authentic over a competitor.
3. People find Marketers Unbelievable
If they say ‘You are unbelievable’, do not fall for it too early. It could mean both ways. And, when it comes from consumers, they definitely mean it in a negative way. As I said, they are no longer naive to fall for whatever you say.
That same as other Marshal is not going to cooperate with your pushy sales tactics. Instead, many consumers like him crave originality, transparency, stories, and connection. User generated content strategy brings them the true sense of what your business stands for.
The truth is, the user generated content strategy has been born ever since the products existed. The only thing we lacked before was a common, huge platform that could spread it to each and every consumer.
Now that social media and video platforms like YouTube exist in the modern world, it has become even easier to make use of user generated content strategy.
4. It saves time and money
You must be spending thousands of dollars on marketing in a year and god knows the priceless time you must’ve invested by now. User generated content strategy costs you nowhere near to that (thanks to the users who take up UGC).
The users create the content for free – that’s the beauty and advantage of user generated content strategy. They do it for many reasons like, to share what they liked, form a relationship with like-minded people, or maybe in the hope to win something from the latter.
Whatever be the reason, it is just worth letting others do it for you rather than you put your head into creating the same old tactics.
5. UGC promises higher ROI
Think of the campaigns that you and your competitors run to market your products. The consumers might get attracted. But what if one of their friends or neighbors suggests they buy something which has given them a great experience.
Such kind of real feedback instantly influences the customers to switch their choices. For many fashion brands, they want their shoppers to believe why their articles are better than others.
To make people believe you one hundred percent, it is better to let other people talk about it, i.e. let that the user generated content strategy do its work.
As per the sources, 70% of the time, shoppers are able to differentiate between UGC and brand generated marketing tactics.
If you use user generated marketing strategy, you’ll be able to generate more traffic authentically. This traffic is more likely to make a purchase as compared to the ones that visit you with no particular aim.
When people come through UGC, they visit out of curiosity and are more likely to make a purchase as they can rely on that authentic social proof. This increase in traffic consequently boosts your eCommerce sales and improves conversion rate.
How to Start a UGC campaign?
The only downfall of the user generated content strategy is that it’s not in your hands to control it completely. However, there are a few things to keep it a push and encourage your followers to do it. These are:
1. Create a buzz
Now, if you want your customers to talk about you, you’ll have to give them something to talk about. Ask yourself:
Am I social enough with my followers? It shouldn’t be like that you are simply posting your content once a month and shutting the doors again. Encourage your followers to comment on your posts, take feedback, reply to them back regularly. All I mean to say here is that – stay in touch and be active.
If you remember the campaign initiated by Starbucks in 2014, it held a contest where the customers were asked to design their own Starbucks ’ white cup. People were asked to use their creativity on the white Starbucks cup and post it over social media with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.
The winning contestant’s cup will be used for serving coffee during that fall as a limited edition reusable cup at Starbucks. This instantly encouraged customers to participate. Thousands of entries came in and people could see UGC for Starbucks all over the social media platforms.
Well, you are not liable to perform the activity on such a large scale (up to you though), but you can encourage your customers in such ways to talk about you.
2. Know the Significance of Hashtags
Just as you created the buzz, now is the time to ask your followers to use hashtags while promoting or posting about your products. For the fashion industry, hashtags are very significant. Why? It is because the more hashtags you use, the more are the chances for you to appear in the feeds of people who search for the items that relate to the fashion industry.
Let’s say that you used #Fashion. Now if someone searches for the word ‘fashion’. The people who have hashtagged it, are likely to appear first in the results. You can use up to 30 hashtags on your posts and 10 on your stories. You may wonder – “How many hashtags are optimum to use?’. The answer is – All of them!
Yes, influence or just ask your followers to hashtag your brand’s name and products.
3. Contests and Competitions
Our last point about hashtags brings us down to hosting contests and competitions. Spread this news over Twitter, FB, Instagram, your website, and every other place possible.
As we took the example of Starbucks above is one of the greatest examples to use user generated content. Be mindful that such campaigns are short term. But, user generated content strategy for fashion brands needs to be consistent to get the engagement throughout the year.
4. Reach out to Influencers
Influencers are the people who already own hundreds and thousands of followers. These followers are likely to respond t\and react to almost everything that these influencers do.
Hence, if you can manage these influencers to talk about you, their followers can help you get real conversion rates pretty soon.
Although, this type of UGC is not free. Influencers may ask you for a fee or some goodies in exchange. Also, influencers are more known to the people as compared to other users who post content out of love. This rather than being an advantage here is more of a disadvantage. People trust raw users more rather than someone who would do it in exchange for some money.
5. Repost the UGC
Be it the positive customer feedback on your website or a social media post by one of your shoppers, repost it on your social media accounts. You can also use this UGC for your email marketing.
If what your followers are posting can be seen by a thousand people, then reposting the same content (their screenshots) on your accounts can increase the number of reaches your audience.
You can use the phrases like “See what our shoppers have to say about us” or “Look what made Carol say such nice things about us” and post screenshots of what the shoppers have already posted. This instantly multiplies the number of viewers as now more than one account is helping the post to reach people.
Mistakes committed while running the UGC campaign
Having everything figured out feels great, but there are many fashion brands who fail to successfully implement their user generated content strategy. If user generated content strategy is so great then there have to be some reasons behind its failure.
I have highlighted a few such kinds of mistakes so that you can cross the bridge between the success of your user generated content strategy for fashion brands.
1. That annoying corporate tone
It is good to deal professionally with your customers – but breaking that strictness can bring you more good than harm. Read yourself and ask Are you human? No, for real, is it sounding human or too robotic?
Be more friendly. A friendly tone attracts more engagement and brings more comfort among the users. Make your shoppers feel freer to communicate with you. Have you seen YouTubers who talk loudly and openly, hitting a few jokes here and there?
You must be thinking ‘How cool a personality does he/she have!” No, it’s not just their personality, but it’s their strategy to grab attention from the viewers. Being the loudest elephant in the herd full of fashion brands gives you the advantage of having more engagement. You are recognized as unique, cool, and friendly.
2. Offering Money
Have you tried paying your customers to create user generated content? Don’t! It could be the worst thing you can do to lose the trust of your customers. The whole idea behind UGC is that it needs to come out naturally. It shouldn’t be forced or encouraged against any kind of ‘bribe’.
You can try some other external efforts to encourage your customers to talk about it, but money should never come into your list. However, Taking the help of influencers is entirely a different thing. It is because they influence people as part of their job. Although, it is completely up to them whether they agree to promote your products or not.
3. Breaking Consistency
No goal in this world can be achieved without consistency. Be it for the fashion industry or any other that exists in this world. Although, user generated content strategy isn’t under your control, your efforts to encourage it shouldn’t break.
If you stop giving it any attention, they’re likely no chance that your consumers are going to think about it. Don’t wait for them to do it, rather ask for it.
4. Faking UGC
Consumers can easily identify those fake feedback, comments, and tweets that boast about how good your brand is. It is easy to distinguish between how real and fake can a reaction be – even digitally!
Many businesses hire professionals to write feedback on their website or they simply create fake IDs that keep posting fake tweets, or comments on the posts over social media. This practice became so popular that it started occurring naturally to users to see if that’s fake or real.
And, when the people understand if the comments posted are fake, then the brand can instantly lose its goodwill within minutes. For this very reason, it is better not to create something on your own and rather let the user generated content strategy maintain it’s authenticity.
5. Not appreciating your Customers
Customers are the base of your user-generated content marketing strategy. Now, if you cut off the roots, you can’t expect the tree to grow – rather it’ll die. Most companies commit this mistake of not appreciating or riveting back to their customers.
It’s you who need them, not them. If they are putting their efforts into doing something good for your brand, then it’s your responsibility to show a good gesture back.
Here are a few things you can do to appreciate your customers:
- Incorporate their content in your newsletters and share it across social media
- Revert back to comments left on your posts
- Feature followers’ content on your website’s blog (when relevant) and share it across social media later
- Give away an award like ‘Top post of the week’ ‘The best dressed with our products’ for super influential fans, and offer a prize to the winners
- Encourage and invite super active fans to write for your website’s blog
User-generated content strategy can become your success master plan if you can manage to convert your buyers into your fans. This strategy doesn’t leave any space for the customers to think twice as they can freely trust the people who have already tried your products.
Eliminating little mistakes and keeping consistency can easily help you increase sales for your eCommerce business and boost growth. Simply follow the ideas above and wait for the UGC to bring back the results.