How To Encourage User-Generated Content For Your Fashion Brand
Every fashion entrepreneur wants to see their brand grow and see more and more people come to them for their fashion products. While many of them focus on increasing their branded marketing and advertising efforts, only a few focus on trying user-generated content.
What is User-Generated Content?
User-Generated Content (UGC) is any kind of content about a product or brand that has been created and put out by unpaid customers. The customers could include your blog readership, e-commerce store's customers, social media followers, and so on. The content could be anything from testimonials to tweets, blog posts, videos, pictures, and so on.
"There are two types of photos in this world: those that are shared by consumers, and those that are shared by brands." - Mark Twain.
Importance of User-Generated Content
1. It Promotes Authenticity
Surveys have shown that customers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic when compared to brand created content. This means that brands get to be seen as more credible when they have UGC as opposed to when they do not.
When a fashion brand posts an image of a customer enjoying and loving their product, it is bound to connect more with customers than if they had posted images of models in their products. People trust other people more than advertisements.
2. It Creates Trust
Every customer wants to know what they are going to get from a fashion brand before they make a purchase. With the experiences many fashion consumers have with fashion brands, it is understandable when they are wary of patronising brand's they have no prior relationship with.
With UGC, though, fashion consumers get to see other consumers that have experienced that brand and are happy about it. Also, research shows that 92 per cent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 70 per cent trust online consumer opinions.
UGC is all about creating trust.
3. It Drives Purchasing Decisions
Making and increasing sales is one of the most important parts of doing business and UGC leads to that. Nearly 80 per cent of people say UGC has a high impact on their purchasing decisions.
This means that when brands post UGC from customers, they are 80 per cent more likely to make sales than if they had just posted their branded content.
4. It Enhances User Experience
Customers love it when they see their personal content publicised by their favourite fashion brands. This will just make them keep coming back to the brand for more because they know you see them and it makes them feel like they are part of the brand's story.
5. It is Cost-Effective
UGC helps fashion brands save money on production cost spent on content creation. When there is already a large number of UGC out there, in terms of high-quality photos, reviews, testimonials, and so on, fashion brands get to spend less money on putting content out there.
With all the aforementioned benefits, you probably want to know how to encourage and create user-generated content for your fashion brand.
Ways to Encourage User-Generated Content for Your Fashion Brand on Social Media
Before you go ahead to encourage user-generated content for your fashion brand, you need to know what social media platform works best for them and what they are currently interested in (trends). You also need to have a target for your user-generated content, is it to increase brand engagement, build trust, educate people, increase sales or save money?
After you have decided on these, you can start on the journey of encouraging user-generated content for your brand. Here are 7 ways to do this:
1. Create Buzz About Your Brand
You need to give customers a reason to talk about your brand if you want them to. Sometimes, you need to create a campaign or create some over the top designs or marketing hooks to get customers to talk.
This is not necessarily an easy thing to do but it if done right, it can create a lot of UGC for your brand. An example is Coca-Cola's 'Share a Coke' campaign.
For the campaign, Coke swapped out its logo with random names, enabling fans to find their names, the names of family members, friends, and coworkers. This campaign attracted a lot of attention and got people buying coca-cola more just to see their names on the bottles or cans and sharing photos of the can or bottle with their name on it.
2. Start a Hashtag Campaign
Hashtags are a valuable tool for brands because they allow you to categorise your content, reach a wider audience and spread the word about your promotions. They are especially effective on Twitter and Instagram.
“A hashtag immediately expands the reach of your tweet beyond just those who follow you, to reach anyone interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.” - Kevan Lee.
UGC is not only about you, but it is also about your customers. It is about how they use your fashion products and relate with your brand. It might serve your brand well to create a hashtag that is personal and actionable for your customers so the focus is on them.
When your hashtags are unique and relatable, it will cause your followers to use them in their posts. Always remember not to go overboard with your hashtag campaign as research has shown that tweets with a hashtag have twice the engagement than those without one, but using more than 2 hashtags at a time can drop your engagement level by up to 17 per cent.
An example of a hashtag campaign is the #UOONYOU by Urban Outfitters for apparel and beauty which has over 859,000 posts. With this hashtag, they see a consistent stream of UGC from their fans.
3. Create Contests
A contest on social media is a great way to encourage customers to create UGC. Creating contests on social media that require contestants to make and spread their own branded story can greatly help a brand.
For your contest to be effective, you need to make sure the reward is enticing enough to encourage participation. You also need to emphasise that the prizes are limited and only the best will win.
This will encourage contestants to be more creative with their submissions. The contest, however, should not be too hard or complicated so it does not discourage people from participating.
For example, You can choose to do a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly photo contest that encourages customers to submit their best photos featuring your products. You can emphasise that only the best photo or the one with the most likes or comments will win the prize.
Dove, for instance, created a contest to help promote their 'Real Beauty' message on Facebook. The contest encouraged fans to share why their friend 'represents real beauty'. They had to fill in the name of their friend and the two things that make them beautiful. This generated an overwhelming response from people.
4. Offer Rewards
Everyone loves a reward. One of the best ways to encourage UGC is to reward the efforts of your customers. When your customers see that they get to be rewarded for doing something that is easy, like taking a picture, shooting a video or writing a review, they will be happy to do it.
Whatever reward you offer them must be eyecatching, desirable, and exciting to them and this does not even have to be anything expensive or elaborate. You can offer to feature their content on your social media page, website/blog or email newsletter.
5. Ask Questions
Sometimes, all you need to do to get UGC is to ask. If you want people to share stories and opinions of their interactions with your brand, you can simply ask. You can post a question on your Facebook wall, or Instagram page, or tweet a question on Twitter and watch the UGC come in.
You need to be smart about the questions you ask and make sure they are questions that are exciting enough to catch attention. You can ask questions on how your fashion products have made customers' lives easy, or about personal experiences involving your brand.
6. Host An Event
As a fashion entrepreneur, you can host workshops, webinars, and tutorials for customers and prospects. When you do this, you can create a hashtag and encourage attendees to share pictures, videos, and comments about their experiences at your event.
You can offer an incentive to them to encourage them to jump on the bandwagon and contribute. The events you host must be meaningful and encourage people to capture and recall special moments.
7. Support a Cause
As a fashion entrepreneur, you can support a cause that aligns with your brand's values. It shows people that you have a greater vision and you do not just live to make sales.
For example, to take a stance on the controversy surrounding excessive photo editing of females in advertising and marketing and its impact on women’s self-esteem, Aerir pledged $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves wearing a bathing suit. They did this with their #AerieREAL campaign.
They took the campaign further by featuring women with health conditions to model their bras. By doing this, Aerie is empowering women to feel comfortable and positive about their bodies.
Always remember that as you set out to encourage user-generated content for your fashion brand, you need to talk about it on your social media pages, websites, Instagram stories, and so on to gain traction. You also need to be specific and clear about what you want so your customers do not send in the wrong content.
Getting user-generated content does not happen overnight and can be quite tasking but with consistency and the right drive, you can definitely do it!