How Retailers Can Integrate User-Generated Content Into Their Holiday Marketing Strategies
The holidays are right around the corner, and with 60 percent of consumers reporting they will mainly shop online this season, brands will need to get creative with their digital marketing campaigns to stay competitive. The pandemic has changed consumer behavior, both in regard to how they shop and what brands they trust. In fact, another recent study revealed 83 percent of consumers believe retailers need to provide more authentic online shopping experiences, and as a result, 80 percent of consumers now find user-generated content (UGC) highly impactful in their purchasing decisions — making it almost nine times more effective than traditional branded content.
UGC allows retailers to not only increase their brand awareness and position their consumers’ voice at the center of their marketing initiatives, but also to create a loyal network of creators that act as an extension of their company. As the holiday shopping frenzy begins, below are a few steps retailers can take to begin building their creator community and supply of UGC to effectively engage consumers and increase their e-commerce holiday sales.
Activate Your Community
Activating your followers through a robust UGC program is the quickest and most cost-effective way for brands to strengthen their relationship with their community and build loyalty before the holiday season. Engaging customers and inviting them to share content that captures their experience with sentiment towards the product should be done in a direct and personal way, whether it be at the point of sale, on social media, in-store, or through traditional advertising/packaging.
The communication should be clear and incentivize customers to submit photos for a chance to be included on the website, social media or other marketing pages. Brands can take it a step further with incentivization and offer low-cost rewards such as product discounts or free swag.
Drive Content That Aligns With Holiday Marketing Strategy
In most cases, the average consumer will need a little coaching to ensure the content they’re submitting aligns with the content the brand is looking for. To help guide your community to produce brand-approved content that can be used in marketing initiatives, retailers should provide clear direction and tips for consumers who are new to taking photos, videos, etc.
An interactive and effective way to influence the content your community shares is through social media challenges using a specific hashtag to encourage consumers to snap photos or videos of them wearing or posing with their new product. The more authentic content brands can gather from their community to share online during the holiday season, the better, considering 56 percent of consumers say they’re more influenced by social media images and videos when shopping online now than they were pre-pandemic.
Streamline the Clearance Process
One of the best ways to encourage creators to produce more content is to have an easily accessible system that allows you to communicate with them, provide a straightforward means for them to share content, and acquire the rights needed to publish their content. With consumer trends constantly changing from day-to-day and week-to-week, brands hoping to continuously release content that's authentic and aligns with today’s latest fad will need to integrate a solution that makes it simple to acquire content and the rights to publish it. To keep content in line with company strategies, retailers can work with their marketing teams to collaborate and streamline a process that will allow the brand access to content quickly, while staying ahead of trends to remain timely and relevant.
As more consumers begin shifting their trust and prefer real customer testimonials, photos and videos over branded content, retailers hoping to have a successful holiday season should invest in building a robust UGC program. Taking a more authentic marketing approach to increase holiday sales will ultimately allow brands to create an engaged creator community, setting them up for more success in the new year and beyond.
Adam Dornbusch is the founder and CEO of EnTribe, a first-of-its-kind SaaS platform for community content development.
Adam is a digital media executive with more than 20 years of experience developing content strategies for the world's largest brands. Prior to founding EnTribe, Adam spent four years building the groundbreaking Community Content & Rewards program at GoPro (GoPro Awards). During his tenure at GoPro, Adam’s team licensed millions of photos and videos from the GoPro community for Super Bowl Ads, The GoPro Channel, Out Of Home and In Store marketing.
Before GoPro, Adam was licensing citizen journalism from over 50 countries for Al Gore’s Current TV (acquired for $500M). Adam has spent his career building scalable content communities for GoPro, Current TV, Tribeca Film, Starz/Encore, Jaman, Access 360 Media, and Ripe Digital. Not finding any suitable CRM solutions for creator communities, he decided to build EnTribe.