User-generated content is one social media marketing tactic you don’t want to ignore. Not only is user-generated content free but it’s actually one of the most effective strategies to getting more traffic to your website and increasing sales.

Why does user-generated content work so well? Because consumers trust their peers. In fact, customer reviews are trusted 12 times more than marketing coming directly from the organization. If you can display visual proof of real customers enjoying your product or service, other consumers will make a beeline to your website to become one of your customers too.

Your customers can round up a ton of new customers for you, here are 5 effective ways to showcase user-generated content to boost traffic.

1. Reuse customer photos.

One of the most popular ways to showcase user-generated content is to reuse customer photos. Instagram is a great platform for sharing user-generated photos of your products or services. There might even be amazing images of your product out in the universe already that you weren’t even aware of. Try searching for your company or product name using hashtags on Instagram and you might find some that already exist. But if you don’t find any, just ask your customers to share them!

Take Airbnb for instance, they’re constantly sharing user-generated images from people using their service to vacation all around the world. The stunning images are great advertisements to encourage users to visit their website to see if they can snag that stunning space too.

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Be sure to add a great caption to the user-generated photo and for platforms like Instagram that don’t allow you to add links to captions, direct users to the link in your bio. Don’t forget to tag the user in the post too. Users will be happy to get the opportunity to be featured on your page and your other followers will love seeing how others are enjoying your business.

2. Post glowing reviews.

One of the easiest ways to showcase user-generated content is to take a glowing review and turn it into a great-looking post for social media. If your business is collecting online reviews on your website, on review sites like Yelp, or even just getting complimentary emails, you already have a ton of user-generated content you can take advantage of to boost your traffic and sales.

You can use a free tool like Canva to transform your regular customer review into an image that’s visually appealing to your audience on social media. Make sure the text is clear and easy to read and don’t forget to use an eye-catching image to make it stand out in crowded social media feeds.

3. Create a contest.

Another great way to showcase user-generated content (UGC) is by creating a contest. It works 2 ways: you attract user-generated content and you get to showcase the user-generated content.

Starbucks famously hosts a Red Cup Art contest during the holidays. The contest allows them to get a ton of user-generated content that they can share every day and it encourages audience engagement.

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It’s a great way to generate a ton of engagement on social media but you also get a big boost in traffic to your website too. You can create a specific landing page that displays all the entries and users can vote for their favorites. After they’ve voted, you can then redirect them to your online store.

4. Use UGC for ads.

You don’t have to stick to just organic marketing with user-generated content either, you can feature UGC in your ad campaigns too. You can use images, videos, text reviews, or a combination of formats to create a great ad on social media that shows social proof.

Plus an ad on Facebook for example, can display your user-generated content to not just your own followers but a whole new audience. You could even create a retargeting ad that entices your website visitors to return to you and buy. A user who is browsing your online shop can be shown a targeted ad with user-generated content that will convince them to return for what they previously passed on.

3. Don’t forget about video.

User-generated content isn’t just about eye-catching images, you can also use the hottest content format with users online — video. In fact, video is so popular that Cisco has projected that more than 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021.

User-generated videos can help your audience connect with your brand and your product in ways that other forms of media cannot since emotion is so easily conveyed through video. Plus they’re more likely to go viral. For example, imagine you’re in the dog treat business. You could ask your customers to film their dogs going crazy for the treats or performing tricks to get rewarded. Not only is the video a free advertisement for your product, but it’s a video that anyone online can enjoy.

Over to you.

Remember, as a general rule of thumb, always ask for permission before you use a customer photo. But like we mentioned before, most customers will be thrilled and flattered that you think their content is good enough to share. So, don’t wait any longer, start asking your customers for user-generated content today and you’ll soon be seeing a boost in traffic that you can thank your loyal fans for.

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