Take Advantage of the Social Proof in User-Generated Content

User reviews help to cultivate trust and community, while driving sales for smart brands.

Internet users trust and love content created by other users. It’s highly shareable and engaging, but some marketers still miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of user-generated content. A report from Kissmetrics examines social proof and the opportunities it holds.

When marketers compete for the attention of consumers, there’s a tension between the customers’ desire to discover and interact and to be left alone. However, UGC is the epitome of social proof, giving credibility to products through social interaction and real customer experiences.

The Kissmetrics report notes:

User-generated content lets you shine a spotlight on your customers’ good experiences with your brand, which then piques shoppers’ interest and influences their behavior throughout the buyer journey. It hits just the right notes for both consumers and businesses because shoppers trust past buyers way more than they trust branded content.

Here are a few ways to utilize user-generated content as social proof to drive sales.

  1. Feature reviews prominently: Companies like Gap incorporate user reviews into their product pages directly by providing authentic reviews instead of a product name or a piece of marketing. This allows marketers to leverage reviews to generate interest, rather than just parking them beneath products for users to seek out.
  2. Take advantage of scalability: UGC creates an opportunity to transition customers into brand advocates and provides customers with instant feedback about the product that doesn’t appear as a list of features. GoPro uses UGC videos and photos on its site, which exposes users to product capabilities without creating an expensive marketing campaign to showcase the product.
  3. Cultivate trust and community: Customers cluster around UGC to form communities, particularly during short-term events. Users already engaged with brands become advocates, and others exposed to UGC are more likely to respond positively. The trust associated with these campaigns and UGC generally allows marketers to reach their target audiences without disrupting their browsing with intrusive advertising, thus preserving brand image and brand trust.