Log onto any social media site or just open a web browser and you’ll see user-generated content, or UGC, everywhere. You’ll also find dozens of guides telling you that if you ignore UGC, you’re losing out on brand equity and even an increase in conversions.
But what they’re not telling you is that you’re also missing a chance to build trust in your brand.
Sixty-three percent of consumers would buy from a company they trust and consider to be authentic instead of its competitors. Millennials in particular are looking for trustworthiness and authenticity in the brands they choose. And around the world, 92 percent of consumers say they trust UGC more than other forms of advertising.
The truth is: Brands that don’t place an emphasis on establishing themselves as trustworthy and authentic are missing out on sales. And even brands who don’t have a tarnished reputation may not stand out from the pack enough to be chosen over a competitor.
What’s a brand to do?
Create a UGC campaign to build trust and improve conversion. Here are three ways UGC influences trust in your brand:
1. UGC speaks to consumers in their language.
Think about it, if more than half of users communicate through photos and videos, it makes sense to communicate back to them in the same way. By featuring UGC in your marketing channels, you’re speaking the language of your consumers and humanizing your brand.
2. UGC helps consumers decide what to buy.
Your consumers trust UGC so much that they use it to help them make purchasing decisions. Photos, videos, and online reviews all speak to the experience the user had with the brand and product, and can help consumers choose your brand over others.
As far as written reviews go, 37 percent of consumers look for details on a reviewers’ experiences to help them decide to buy or not. And when it comes to verifying superiority and convenience, videos that include UGC are more trusted than brand-produced content.
3. UGC can connect consumers with experts.
Your consumers are already looking for expert opinions. Fifty-seven percent of Internet users say they always seek an expert opinion before they buy something, so putting them in touch with the people who share credible, trustworthy UGC is moving them one step closer to choosing your brand over another.
Bonus: 3 ways UGC delivers on ROI
But what about your bottom line? UGC also has a direct impact on your ROI, especially if you’re able to implement it across multiple channels. Here are three more reasons why your brand should take advantage of UGC:
1. UGC improves engagement.
A study by Mavrck showed that UGC can generate 6.9 times higher engagement than brand-generated content on Facebook. By including it on your site, you’re showing customers that you’re open to conversations and interactions.
2. UGC increases conversions to sale.
When West Elm included UGC in their Facebook carousel ads, they saw three times more conversions to sale from visitors who clicked through compared to those who clicked regular Facebook ads. And when Vanity Planet included customers’ Instagram photos on their product pages, checkouts increased by 24 percent.
3. UGC boosts your SEO.
UGC can boost the number of backlinks to your site and your organic traffic, improving your SEO. For 20 of the world’s largest brands, 25 percent of their search results are linked to UGC.
By focusing on UGC, your brand gains more opportunities to engage with consumers and convert them into customers. By adding an expert touch to your UGC, your brand can build up trust and transparency and generate positive awareness among consumers.