This is a guest post by Moran Khoubian, Head of Partner Marketing at Yotpo.
Over recent years running social ads has been a marketing-must for eCommerce stores. Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals (Hubspot).
With social networks fast expanding, consumers are now using social channels as a go-to space for browsing new products and crowdsourcing recommendations.
What are Social Ads?
Social ads have become a powerful tool, boosting traffic and generating sales. As an extremely versatile advertising channel, they allow brands to reach their marketing goals at a relatively low cost.
There’s no doubt that social ads should be an integral part of any brands eCommerce marketing strategy. However, with over 1.8 billion pieces of content shared on social media everyday, the digital marketplace has become a noisy battlefield with brands fighting for consumer eyeballs as they promote their products and services.
This exponential growth, and a jump in Facebook ads prices, means brands must reexamine their social media strategy.
When it comes to eCommerce marketing here’s the good news; truth sells. Online shoppers are a discerning and savvy audience and they won’t fall for perfectly, curated ads.
An international survey by Cohn & Wolfe found that 87% of global consumers felt it was more important for brands to “act with integrity at all times“ proving authenticity ranked higher than innovation when consumers were asked what they valued most in a brand.
The rise of social media has given way to a large and powerful online audience who want to engage, connect and collaborate with your brand. This changing consumer landscape give brands an opportunity to use their loyal customers as a real marketing asset.
User-generated content (UGC) is any form of online content that has been created by your customers and fans, including question-and-answer forums, reviews, videos, blogging, and social media posts — it’s unpaid and highly shareable.
UGC can help brands master social ads by creating opportunities to authentically connect with their customers, increasing engagement, consumer trust and in the long run, drive sales.
How User-generated Content Works
There are many reasons your audience will want to get on board with your brand. We live in a era where people are sharing more than ever on social media and enjoy validation from friends and family.
Deeper than this, people want to feel like they belong to a community. This is reinforced through the Social Proof theory, a psychological phenomenon where our behaviors are influenced by society. In short, we are going to look to others for guidance before making a decision.
Master social ads with UGC
A Facebook case study shows that adding user-generated content to Facebook Ads increases click-through rate by 300%. Social media users browse through their Facebook feed searching for real stories, and are trained to ignore overly promotional messages. Displaying real content created by customers will slip in seamlessly when appearing on potential customers Facebook news feed.
The online jewelry store Pura Vida for instance, use customer’s real photos of their bracelets on their Facebook ads, providing a relatable and authentic campaign for shoppers and ultimately a 4x higher click through on average.
The highly visual Instagram is a ideal space for eCommerce brands to advertise a line of products or services. Using the Carousel ads on Instagram, brands can showcase up to 10 images or links in a single ad unit. This is a prime opportunity to tell a story and showcase products in the process.
Brands that leverage customer images as social ads help establish social proof and foster customer trust and community engagement.
One of these brands, Green People a natural skincare line, use genuine customer product photos for their Instagram ads, with each image linking to the relevant product page where more customer photos are displayed alongside reviews.
Using customer images brings with it another level of authenticity, building credibility. Instead of using models with impossible beauty standards, Green People want real customers to speak for themselves, demonstrating the positive effects of their skincare products – and in the process the brand becomes instantly more relatable.
Visual content isn’t the only way to utilize UGC in your social ads.
Product reviews, testimonials and general feedback are another easy, yet effective way to use customers as a marketing asset for your brand.
Before the dawn of the internet we’d get our recommendations and referrals from friends and family through word of mouth. Yet still, an incredible 92 percent of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend or another person over branded content, confirming that the way consumers interact with brands is changing.
Encourage your customers to share what they love about your product or services. Have your fans write testimonials and reviews acting as social proof that you can use as social ads, giving your fans the social recognition they crave. 43% of consumers report that customer reviews, are the most effective form of user-generated content.
The lingerie company Thirdlove’s Facebook ads are real reviews from their customers, reaffirming the social proof theory; the most effective way to promote their underwear is a stamp of approval from other women.
The AI wearables technology company, Lifebeam also post authentic customer reviews in their Facebook ads, reflecting personal stories from users who’ve tried and tested their products. Customer reviews help leverage community trust, ultimately bringing social referrals to your site.
That’s not to say you should only publish positive recommendations. In fact, negative feedback is just as important, with research showing that less positive reviews can be just as influential at driving sales (on the condition the reviews are polite).
The mattress brand Lull for example, make a proud promise to publish all of their customer reviews, good and bad, showing the company is completely transparent, thereby helping to win customer trust.
Share your customer reviews on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, leveraging UGC across multiple channels and bringing with it customer loyalty, trust and authenticity — ultimately increasing click-through-rates (CTR) and improving conversions.
In today’s digital age, customers no longer want to look on from afar — they want to be a part of and engage with brands that speak to their own values.
Social ads that utilize user-generated content turn your most passionate customers into brand ambassadors, helping to build communities around your products and services. So sit your users firmly in the content driver’s seat and give them a starring role in your social media strategy.