Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
untapped ugc

Here’s the thing about creating buzz about your brand — it’s already happening. Consumers love talking about the fun things they buy: the bookcase that fits perfectly in their home office nook, a glamorous date night outfit, or a new facial serum that makes their skin glow. 

When consumers post about these purchases on social media, they’ll usually tag your brand, helping others shop for and purchase these same items. This user-generated content (UGC) fosters a peer-to-peer recommendation cycle that continues attracting new customers and benefits brands and retailers in many ways. 

Most shoppers check social media and read reviews before buying anything. 78% of consumers feel more confident purchasing when they view UGC, and during tough economic times like today, 35% depend on it even more, according to the Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index

Shoppers are already posting about you and creating buzz for your brand on social media, whether you realize it or not. Everyday shopper communities like the Influenster community add over 500k new pieces of UGC monthly. So it’s crucial to tap into these conversations, learn what they’re saying, and collect this untapped UGC.

With so much social UGC created and shared each day, it’s impossible for brands to use everything that comes through in their campaigns. It might seem like it just funnels into the void — but this untapped UGC still has a profound impact on a brand’s reputation, awareness, discovery, and sales.

How untapped UGC still works for you 

Brands can get a ton of mileage out of UGC, even if you don’t or can’t directly use every piece of content your customers generate. Not all UGC works for every campaign or purpose, but it’s still valuable in many ways. Here’s all the ways untapped UGC benefits your brand. 

Introduces new customers to your brand 

Everyday social media users see other people talking about and sharing photos of your products. This fuels conversations between users about your brand. 

For example, someone might comment, “I love your shirt! Where did you get it?” And a consumer will tag you or send a link to the item. Another shopper will click and add it to their shopping carts, browse the rest of your website, and complete their purchase. 

Consumers trust content produced by real people. 100% of consumers — yes, every shopper! — say they’ve purchased a product based on the recommendation of someone they saw online.  

Social media is also where almost 60% of consumers go to discover new products. They typically follow their favorite brands, interact with them, and increasingly purchase directly from social platforms (so, it’s always a good idea to make your content shoppable!). 

Educates through trusted voices

Shoppers are likely to discover your products from UGC on social media. The platforms also serve as educational tools. Consumers can learn how a product will meet their needs and see it being used in real-life situations. 

The ability to see how something looks and works from photos and videos of real consumers builds trust. In fact, 78% of shoppers trust everyday social users just as much — or more — than they did five years ago, according to a June 2023 Bazaarvoice study of consumer and influencer communities. 

To help educate shoppers about your products, highlight UGC that showcases how the item can be used. This might include makeup tutorials, outfit-of-the-day (#OOTD) posts, and recipes. 

Shoppers want to learn from UGC. Our Shopper Experience Index shows that 62% use UGC to ensure they’re getting good value for their money, 50% to understand the quality of materials, and 44% to see whether a product matches a description. 

Build your brand’s identity 

Consumers who align with your values or vibe will naturally gravitate towards your brand. Tap into the growing creator economy, which is now valued at $16.4 billion, to find everyday consumers who are the biggest fans of your brand — and the largest pool of untapped UGC.

These content creators will produce the most authentic UGC — 69% of marketers are working with smaller creators these days. 

You don’t need a big marketing budget to tap smaller creators to produce content that effectively markets your brand. Ideally, 1% of your most engaged shoppers could produce about 90% of your content in a cost-effective way. 

UGC produced by everyday social media users has higher engagement and builds trust and authenticity.

Tracks your engagement and informs your strategy 

To meet your marketing and UGC goals, it’s crucial to continuously manage, measure, and optimize your creator marketing strategies. Use the content that you see from social media users as a baseline for measuring who’s engaging with your brand — examine demographics, their opinions, and the content they’re sharing. 

This can help you decide how to best interact with consumers effectively and meaningfully. Tracking engagement will drive future strategies. Powerful Social Commerce solutions let you identify top creators and content that performs best.  

The social butterfly effect

UGC collection is never a one-time thing. You need to engage customers all the time and encourage them to post about you on social media. This social butterfly effect encourages more UGC. 

Product sampling is one way to get your products in shoppers’ hands and generate conversations about them on social media. Bazaarvoice can help you hyper-target your ideal customers by giving you access to the Influenster community.

These UGC creators produce photos, videos, and reviews about your products from their own experiences — and you can share this valuable UGC on your social media channels, product detail pages (PDPs), and retailers’ websites. Plus, consumers who sample products are more likely to purchase them in the future and recommend them to friends and family.

When Petco launched a sampling campaign, for example, the pet supplies retailer saw a 48% increase in revenue per visit for sampled products, a 28% conversion rate boost, and a 15% higher average order value

How you can tap into the vast web of social UGC

Don’t let untapped UGC go to waste. Consumers are already sharing photos and videos of their favorite items and commenting and sharing product-related posts from others. Tapping into this robust network helps you leverage the true value of UGC.

Create a branded hashtag

Make it easy for your shoppers to start and join conversations about you by setting up branded hashtags. This can work wonders for consumer discovery, especially for creating buzz around a new product launch

Hashtags let you collect content about your brand all in one place, making it a go-to spot for UGC. This helps you grow brand awareness and drive traffic to your social pages and website, ultimately enabling social commerce. 

Dreams, a U.K.-based bedding specialist, has a winning hashtag strategy — its #mydreamsbed campaign attracts photos of real customer homes, which the brand incorporates across its social channels.

When customers interact with UGC, Dreams has seen a 200% increase in conversion rates and a 62% increase in average order value.

Comment on users’ posts 

When you organically come across a photo of one of your products or someone mentioning your brand on social media, make sure to leave a comment — whether the post is negative or positive. Responding to this feedback shows that you care about consumer feedback. Shoppers will respect your brand and feel valued, making them more likely to consider  your brand for future shopping sprees or treat it as a go-to. 

Consumers enjoy producing content and will create UGC when you ask them to, but they expect you to engage with their content quickly. Our Shopper Experience Index shows that 54% of consumers expect a response if they write a negative review, and 58% want an answer to a question they post in your Q&A on the same day. 

Display social UGC on your website

Spotlight your real customers by showcasing social UGC in a gallery on your website and product pages. This approach creates a positive sentiment for your brand — essentially, it shows how much you value your customers. 

American Eagle encourages customers to share photos of themselves wearing its jeans using hashtag #AEJeans. The photos are then displayed in a gallery, and when you click on a picture, you can go right to the product page to buy the exact jeans. 

Just about everyone researches what they buy online before completing a purchase. Consumers read reviews and search social media to see what their peers have to say or how real people use the item. This in turn drives sales for brands.

For example, The Body Shop showcases authentic photos and videos from real customers. The UGC is featured on product pages to inspire shoppers as they browse.

After integrating Galleries, the brand saw a 13% increase in average order value and a 28% jump in product page conversion rates

Recognize the impact of untapped UGC 

UGC is the most valuable content you have — it’s cost-effective to generate and highly effective at creating buzz, building brand awareness, and increasing sales. But, using every piece of UGC you collect in specific campaigns is tough — there’s just so much of it! Still, untapped UGC serves multiple purposes, including: 

  • Introducing new shoppers to your brand
  • Educating consumers about your products
  • Building and boosting your brand identity 
  • Encouraging social conversations about you
  • Informing future campaigns 

There’s several ways to tap into untapped UGC, such as creating hashtags, participating in conversations, and featuring UGC everywhere your customers go.

Bazaarvoice’s end-to-end UGC technology can help you collect valuable content that fuels your media mix, effectively target your ideal customer profile globally, and get the most return from every piece of UGC. Learn more by exploring Bazaarvoice’s solutions.

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