How Can User-Generated Content Affect Your Customer Engagement

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Once you figure out how to engage your customers, selling becomes much easier. But achieving this can prove a lot more difficult than expected.

Of course, there is a whole science behind it, but these days, one of the best things you can do for your brand is to find a way to get user-generated content. 

What is user-generated content exactly and how can you develop a good strategy around it? Let’s find out.

What is customer engagement?

To put it simply, customer engagement refers to any instance in which a customer interacts with your brand.

How Can User-Generated Content Affect Your Customer Engagement

It can be anything from:

Of course, as you can probably already guess, this list generally doesn’t include making a purchase or contacting customer support with a question about a product.

This is simply because, when we talk about customer engagement, the focus is on how successful your marketing efforts are in creating brand evangelists. And not everyone who buys your product has the potential to become one. 

Sometimes, people just buy something because they need it and would just as readily make a purchase from any of your competitors.

Customer engagement tools

Now that you know what customer engagement is, let’s take a look at some of the more commonly used tools and strategies to increase it.

User-generated content

You might be wondering what is user-generated content in real. Basically, this refers to any content that your customers create around your brand and your products. This lists includes but isn’t limited to:

  • Reviews
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts

Why is this so important when you’re trying to increase customer engagement? Simple. Because a whopping 70 percent of consumers will look for and consider user-generated content before deciding to make a purchase.

Customer loyalty programs

This is a customer engagement tool that dates back to the time before the internet. It’s simply because it’s highly effective - nearly everyone is part of some customer loyalty program.

This refers to any program in which a business offers rewards to frequent customers. Examples of widely popular ones include:

  • Sephora’s Beauty Insider
  • Abercrombie & Fitch’s my Abercrombie
  • The Body Shop’s Love Your Body Club

The benefits of using this tool are countless, but the main one is how easy it is to keep people engaged when you keep rewarding their loyalty.

Personalization

It’s not for nothing that you can find many experts saying that in marketing personalization is key.

And we all have personal experience with this. How many times have you received a generic email and deleted the thing without ever opening it?

The same goes for all marketing and engagement strategies. If you don’t plan on personalizing it, whenever you can, you may as well shift your efforts elsewhere

But to make it less daunting, personalization can take many shapes and forms. It can mean anything from:

  • Using the person’s name when addressing them
  • Contacting the person at the right moment
  • Crafting messaging that aligns with your buyer personas

It all depends on your business goals and the resources you have at your disposal. But whatever they are, you can find a way to do personalization right.

eCommerce interaction

Of course, customer engagement can be increased even when the prospect is already on your website.

eCommerce interaction

For that reason, providing excellent service can also be called a customer engagement tool. This, of course, also applies to businesses that sell both through physical stores and eCommerce websites.

But did you know that by 2023, almost 40 percent of all the interactions you have with your customers will be automated? That’s why it’s a good idea to embrace automation as one of your customer engagement strategies.

This can mean anything from getting in touch with a voucher at just the right time to sending a survey to collect feedback. The key is promptness in responding to customer needs and gathering data to ensure better engagement going forward.

How to use user-generated content

Now that you know exactly what options you have at your disposal, how exactly do you create your own customer engagement strategy? Here are the key factors to keep in mind.

  • Choose the most relevant channels, social or otherwis
  • Set specific goals for engagement, be it liking a post or entering a competition
  • Make sure your audience knows exactly what you want from them
  • Be communicative
  • Measure and analyze the results

As you can see, one of the most important things is to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and take advantage of that knowledge.

And keep in mind, one of the main reasons people like user-generated content is because they’re 2.4 times more likely to perceive it as authentic. So make sure authenticity is one of your goals.

Benefits of user-generated content

1. The customer produces original material for your business.

As social media users, we regularly create material on our social profiles about the brands we enjoy.

When a product fulfills us, we recommend it to others in our network (friends, family, coworkers, etc.), wherein we essentially act as brand ambassadors

In turn, this enables brands to gather a ton of exclusive and original content about their goods as well as information about the audience in regard to those goods.

2. Authenticity and reliability

Increased customer and brand trust results from user-generated content.

Since it is not created by the brand itself but rather is based on the experiences that other users have had with the products, the potential buyer can trust that it is authentic and truthful content.

3. Feedback

UGC is a new technique to draw customers to your company because of the way it is being included into marketing plans.

When a user shares material about a brand on social media and you, as a business, support that content by incorporating it into your strategy or connecting with the user, you are essentially encouraging the rest of your community to support the same content

For sure your business name is very important for it. With the right chosen business name, people can easily remember you. You can use some business name generator tools that will help you to avoid problems like that.

Examples of successful user-generated content

The following are examples of companies that succeeded in launching UGC campaigns, which then boosted their brand awareness and strengthened customer relationships. 

Getting people to talk about your company is an excellent strategy.

Starbucks: White Cup Contest.

The Starbucks #WhiteCupContest was a great way to get people involved with the company. Customers were encouraged to draw something creative on their white cups, and the winning drawings would be used as templates for future cup designs!

This contest inspired people because it gave them an opportunity they may not otherwise have – unique art in ceramic ware.

Starbucks White Cup Contest

As a result of the popularity of its prior #WhiteCupContest, Starbucks created new competition in 2016 called the #RedCupArt challenge.

The world's largest coffee company introduced it with the hashtag and once more received favorable feedback from customers by generating a lot of social media activity on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also succeed by running user-generated content campaigns. These are great because anybody can participate, and the content is always related to the customer's favorite product.

This strategy is super easy for people who love your company and makes them feel more invested.

Apple: #ShotoniPhone.

Do you remember when iPhone owners complained about the poor quality of their cameras?

The business came up with a fantastic solution to put things right. Apple started a campaign named "Shot on iPhone" after realizing that their customers weren't happy with the typical camera's ability to take images in low light.

The business aimed to regain this misplaced confidence and draw attention back to what makes an iPhone unique: its superior photo-taking capabilities.

Apple #ShotoniPhone

Apple gave marketing a lot of consideration. The professional users used their iPhones to take low-light pictures, then uploaded them to YouTube with the caption "Shot on iPhone" so that others could view them.

This campaign mostly featured some incredible ordinary graphics that can only be found in.

Nike: #JustDoIt 

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the "Just Do It" campaign, the shoe company took a stand on a touchy social issue.

Since then, Nike has experienced some blowback from customers who have boycotted the brand's products, but these responses only account for a small portion of Nike's client base.

Nike #JustDoIt

The hashtag #JustDoIt is presently being used in over 15 million Instagram posts, and a large amount of this user-generated content (UGC) can encourage Nike to:

  • Get more social media followers and comments;
  • Extra queries about the brand;
  • Store visits, and sales.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all have encouraging #JustDoIt posts.

Campaign Better For It

Nike once more harnessed the power of its audience to launch one of its most effective and targeted campaigns to date, this time by starting a social media movement for its women's division.

Women were encouraged to share their fitness, health, and training objectives by Nike by using the hashtag #betterforit. Thousands of posts have been made using the hashtag up to this point.

Nike used this UGC campaign as a means of promoting athleticism, one of its core brand principles. The women's division of Nike experienced a 20% increase just two months after the campaign began.

Canon

In order to unite its community of amateur and professional photographers, Canon Australia placed user-generated content (UGC) at the center of its digital strategy.

Canon

Since the Canon team was aware of the power of peer-to-peer product recommendations, they decided to concentrate their marketing efforts on the experiences that customers had after making a purchase.

According to Jensen Baptista, Senior Manager at Canon Australia, "Our choice to stop focusing on our products, and start focusing on the people who use them, was what started the increase of user-generated content within Canon Australia."

To highlight the content of its ardent community and share the numerous tales that go into the creation of its images and films, Canon set up an inspiration page on its website.

On their website, they feature a form that invites content producers to submit their work.

In order to keep its audience interested, Canon has also run UGC picture competitions.

One noteworthy one is its Take the LEAP challenge, when they produced 30 briefs—one for every day of the month—and encouraged thousands of people to express their ideas and innovation.

The best thing about this challenge was that anyone could take part in it regardless of whether or not they owned a Canon camera.

Since most people have access to smartphones, the objective was to simply pique people's interest in photography by getting them to think imaginatively about it.

The majority of the Instagram feed for Canon Australia comes from user-generated content. As of the time of this writing, UGC dominates their social media approach.

Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins campaign

One of the best marketing tactics for fashion firms is to create user-generated content campaigns. Utilizing UGC can boost traffic, conversions, and return on investment.

User-generated content is beneficial for fashion firms because it increases conversion rates and lowers costs per new consumer.

Calvin Klein’s #MyCalvins campaign

Nothing comes Between Me and My Calvins by Brooke Shield made it possible for people all around the world to feel linked through their underwear.

This catchphrase has reappeared thanks to Calvin Klein, who challenged everyone wearing briefs to share a picture with the caption, "I ____ in my Calvins," on Instagram.

A lot of people saw it.

The hashtag #MyCalvins quickly gained popularity on Instagram, where it was used in over 190.000 pictures.

Conclusion

Getting your customers engaged can be a difficult taks, unless you take advantage of all the tools at your disposal.

While there are some, such as customer loyalty programs, that have proven effective time and again, there seems to be no better way to create real buzz than let your customers create the content themselves

Of course, this still needs to be handled properly, but if you take all the key factors into account, such as clarity and authenticity, your next campaign might easily be the one that brings you brand evangelists.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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