EcommerceWhat is Curated UGC & Why Ecommerce Stores Need It
What is UGC?
Not just another marketing acronym to forget, UGC stands for User Generated Content. it is any content that is created and published by users of a product or service, rather than by the company that owns the product or service. This can include text, photos, videos, reviews, and other types of content that users create and share on the internet.
For example, if you write a review of a product on an ecommerce website, or upload a video to TikTok or Facebook, that would be considered user-generated content. User-generated content can also include comments and discussions that users have on social media platforms, forums, and other online communities. Basically any content about your product or service that your customers create.
What is curated UGC?
Naturally, curated UGC refers to user-generated content that has been selected and organized by a company or website for a specific purpose. This process of selection and organization is known as curation.
There are many reasons why companies or ecommerce stores might curate user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy. For example, they might do it to showcase the best or most relevant user-generated content to their audience, to highlight certain themes or topics, or to highlight user-generated content that aligns with the company's brand or value propositions.
Do ecommerce brands need curated UGC?
In short, yes, it should be a key part of your marketing strategy. There are several reasons why curated user-generated content (UGC) can be valuable for ecommerce businesses:
Builds trust and authenticity: Curated UGC can help to build trust and authenticity with potential customers, as it showcases the experiences and opinions of real users. This can be especially valuable for ecommerce businesses, as customers may be more likely to trust the experiences and opinions of other customers than they are to trust marketing messages from the company. This can be especially important for new products, services or shopping experiences. CarDoor showcases its online car buying experience in its creatives with polished UGC.
Improves the user experience: Curated UGC can make an ecommerce website or platform more dynamic and interactive, which can improve the user experience. This can be especially important for businesses that rely on customer reviews and ratings to help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
Increases social proof: By showcasing UGC on your ecommerce website or social media channels, you can increase social proof and help to build a sense of community around your brand. This can be especially valuable for ecommerce businesses, as it can help to increase the perceived value of your products and services.
Helps with SEO: Curated UGC can also help with search engine optimization (SEO). By including user-generated content on your website, you can add fresh, relevant content to your site, which can help to improve your search engine rankings.
What’s the best process for curating UGC?
There are several steps you can follow to curate user-generated content on social media platforms:
Set clear guidelines: Before you start curating user-generated content, it's important to establish some clear guidelines for what type of content you will and will not accept. For example, you might specify that you will only accept content that is appropriate and respectful, and that aligns with your brand's values and tone. You might also want to only use content that was created by real people and your actual customers showing your product in action rather than sites that churn out reviews.
Identify relevant hashtags: To find user-generated content to curate, you can search for relevant hashtags on social media platforms. This will help you discover content created by users and shared using the hashtag you are searching for. Ideally, you will have already defined an owned or branded hashtag and your customers will be using this in their posts.
Review and select content: Once you have identified some potential user-generated content, you will need to review and select the content that meets your curation criteria. This might involve reviewing the content for quality, relevance, and appropriateness, and deciding which pieces of content to showcase on your social media channels.
Get permission: Before you can share user-generated content on your social media channels, you will need to get written permission from the user who created it. This typically involves reaching out to the user and asking for their consent to share their content.
Use it: Once you’ve selected your UGC and gotten permission from the creators. You need to download and store it all together in a structured format, not too dissimilar to creating a swipe file. To use the content you can share it on your own social media channels or incorporate UGC into your product pages or across your online store as a form of social proof. Some companies often go one step further and share UGC in their Facebook ads.
Vessi's Facebook Ads leverage UGC extensively
Credit the creator: When you share user-generated content on your social media channels, it's important to credit the creator and provide a link back to their original post, if possible. This helps to show your appreciation for the user's content and to give them the recognition they deserve. It also lets others know that their content has the potential to be picked up and shared more widely, this can be great bait for influencers.
Monitor and engage: Once you have started curating user-generated content, it's important to monitor and engage with the content and the users who are creating it. This might involve responding to comments, answering questions, and thanking users for their contributions. This can help to build a sense of community and engagement around your brand. If you’re leveraging UGC in bottom-of-the-funnel creatives you also want to monitor its impact on conversions.
Overall, curated UGC can be a valuable tool for ecommerce businesses as it can help to build trust, improve the user experience, increase social proof, and improve SEO. By showcasing UGC on your website and social media channels, you are effectively using product reviews to help you create content that would otherwise be a part of your ecommerce marketing strategy. It also goes one step further by allowing you to connect with your customers and build a loyal, engaged community around your brand.