UGC is a hot trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. With online shoppers increasingly seeking reliability and authenticity, UGC has become a must-have for ecommerce brands of all sizes.
Professional studio photos and other in-house content cost a pretty penny, and they’re not as effective as UGC. Plus, during times of change and economic downturns, every ecommerce business is looking for a way to cut down on costs. Luckily, UGC is a cost-effective marketing strategy, and there are plenty of ways to obtain high-quality content without exhausting your marketing budget.
UGC, short for user-generated content, refers to any visual content created and shared by your customers. UGC holds immense value for businesses of all sizes as it provides a genuine and authentic perspective.
Plus, UGC can help brands get ahead faster and smoother. That’s because UGC provides strong social proof and boosts word-of-mouth marketing. Unlike traditional marketing, UGC builds trust and credibility that resonates with potential customers. When using UGC in your marketing efforts, your brand feels more like it’s part of the crowd, which is more appealing than just a company trying to sell their product to the masses.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 consumers say UGC influences their purchase decisions? And as many as 72% of online shoppers state that photos and videos from real customers are the content they most want to see on ecommerce sites when making buying decisions. Without a doubt, UGC is highly engaging and provides social proof like no other, so instead of prioritizing expensive branded content, consider investing in UGC.
Plus, one of the best things about UGC is that it’s cost-effective—you don’t need significant financial investment to get quality content. By encouraging your customers to share their experiences and incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy, you can improve your reach and sales without straining your finances. So if you want to make your CFO happy, invest in UGC to get more content on a lower budget and increase conversions at the same time.
In this blog, we’ll explore three practical UGC strategies to help ecommerce brands leverage UGC effectively and get quality content without breaking the bank.
Let’s dive in!
First things first — define your UGC goals and needs. Understanding your objectives and desired outcomes will shape your UGC strategy.
Ask yourself the following questions to guide your UGC self-awareness journey:
With these questions in mind, let’s explore three budget-friendly strategies to help you obtain quality UGC.
Collecting UGC via your brand’s website is an excellent way to encourage customers to share their experiences. You can add an upload form inviting your customers to share their UGC, or even design a dedicated UGC gallery with an included upload form where customers can submit their content.
P.S. To save your precious time and energy, consider using UGC platforms like Cevoid to simplify the process. It’s free to start!
On-site uploads are a fantastic way to bring customers back to your website and inspire them with the wide range of products your brand has to offer. Additionally, when potential customers casually browse your website, they will come across a beautiful UGC gallery showcasing other shoppers’ experiences.
This not only provides them with inspiration on how to use your products but also gives them a glimpse into what it's like to be part of your vibrant brand community.
When creating a UGC gallery, keep in mind that it should pop. No matter if you’re creating it yourself or through Cevoid’s UGC widgets, style it in a way that draws attention to this section on your website. The prettier it looks, the more customers browsing your website will be inclined to contribute to your UGC gallery and put their creations in the spotlight.
Need some inspiration? Check out how other ecommerce brands have styled their UGC galleries to create an engaging and visually stunning experience for their customers.
This interior design brand has included a UGC gallery with an enabled CTA button that invites customers to upload their content straight to their page. The gallery is neatly styled, clean and includes their Instagram username and hashtag for sharing content.
This kitchen utensil store has included a CTA button, but that’s not all. The brand has added the product names, prices, and some discounts! This approach works well for promoting products on different sections of your website and turning them into a mini product catalog.
This Scandinavian home decor brand has included a simple and clean set of UGC on their main page. Just like in the previous examples, you can see the CTA button, plus there’s a Load more button that expands the gallery and gives customers the option to get more inspiration.
To generate more content for your UGC gallery, use social media. Promote your UGC initiative through Instagram stories, TikTok videos, or other social media channels, encouraging customers to visit your website and share their latest purchases and experiences with your brand. Engage with their posts, reshare the content, and tell them you appreciate their contributions.
Integrating a UGC collection solution directly on your website and promoting it on your social media channels allows you to create a thriving UGC community for your ecommerce brand, all while keeping your budget intact.
While this may seem like an obvious UGC strategy, few brands use it. And those who do, don’t always do it efficiently.
Social media is a goldmine for UGC, particularly if you can clearly identify content featuring your brand. For example, you can search Instagram for certain hashtags (#yourbrandname) or see where your brand has been tagged or mentioned.
Does it take a lot of manual work? Yes, it does.
Is it worth it? For sure.
Is there a way to automate this process? You bet there is!
Time is money, especially for fast-growing ecommerce brands, so with Cevoid, you won’t have to spend countless hours looking for Instagram UGC. We’ll automatically retrieve all single posts, carousels, videos, and Reels featuring your brand, so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
Now you know how to find UGC on Instagram. But how do you get more content featuring your brand? By encouraging customers to mention or tag you and use specific hashtags when sharing their experiences. For example, put out a call to action on your Instagram bio to encourage customers who view your profile to post their UGC in a way that’s convenient for you.
Here’s how Nordic Nest has done it.
Contests, competitions, and different online challenges are a fun and relatively easy option for getting UGC. The best part is you don’t have to invest in fancy competition tools to launch them, especially when you’re going budget-friendly.
To motivate UGC creation, invite customers to submit photos and videos related to your brand for a chance to win something cool. It doesn’t have to break the bank—for ecommerce businesses on a limited budget, non-monetary prizes can work well.
For example, you can offer exclusive discounts, early access to new products, or even highlight the opportunity to be featured on your social media channels.
There are two ways to collect content from a competition without using any UGC management tools:
1. If you prefer to hand-pick content through Instagram, you’ll have to spend a good amount of time going through each content piece and either screenshot or download them. Or, ideally, you’d reach out to the original creator and ask for their blessing to use their UGC and send over the photo or video.
2. If you wish to have an easy-to-overview folder with all submissions, you’ll need some sort of upload form. You can create it yourself with whatever’s accessible to you at this time; for example, make a simple Google Drive folder and share it with your customers, letting everyone freely upload their content. While this approach can be hectic and not easy to oversee, it’s free.
Psst! With Cevoid, you can automatically collect Instagram content or do it through direct upload forms. It’s easy peasy and gives you more time to focus on other tasks to keep growing your business into a flourishing, state-of-the-art brand.
It’s possible to embrace the potential of UGC, even on a tight marketing budget. UGC is a cost-effective marketing strategy, and the approaches mentioned in this blog show that being budget-conscious doesn’t mean sacrificing the potential of getting UGC.
If you’re willing to put in some manual work, social media exploration, or creative challenges, you can get tons of quality UGC without breaking the bank.
And remember, there is a workaround for the manual work part, and it’s called Cevoid. :)
Cevoid offers a free solution for collecting content, which is an accessible option to kickstart your UGC journey. We believe every brand deserves to enjoy the benefits of UGC marketing, regardless of budget constraints and circumstances.
So embrace the unique authenticity and social proof that UGC brings, take the leap, and start incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy today!
Your audience is waiting to become an active part of your brand story, and together, you can—and will—create something extraordinary.