5 Things You Should Do With Social Proof

We all know UGC is worth getting, and it can be tempting to kick back and celebrate once content starts rolling in. But with billions of users sharing product reviews, customer photos, and social media shout-outs, the Internet is like a never-ending tsunami of information.

The challenge is to find a way to capture and leverage each day’s social proof for long-term gains. To help, we've outlined five ingenious places to embed UGC for maximum impact.

1. Bring Amazing Content Home

    Transferring UGC to social media hubs is an absolute must for consumer-minded brands. You’ve probably seen these displays on major websites – where fan posts are pooled together and placed alongside brand content.

    Social hubs are like buzz factories, and the reason they are so popular is because they work. Researchers at Statista recently discovered a huge jump in engagement when consumers are exposed to brand and user-generated content together. Simply including fan photos or customer reviews on a company’s website increased shopper confidence by 73 percent! Studies also show a rise in overall receptiveness, click-through rates, and time spent on websites.

    Because UGC feels organic, it helps customers connect not only with the brand, but with each other. That sense of community ultimately inspires others to join the conversation, leading to a bigger and better brand story. 

    To make it happen, you will need a social media aggregation engine to retrieve posts from major networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter. Platforms like TwineSocial allow marketers to search specific keywords, hashtags, and accounts, collecting and moderating only the most relevant UGC.

    The idea, of course, is to locate UGC that helps deliver the brand story in a relational, meaningful way. One popular option is to display streaming social hubs on a landing page, giving fans influential new content to view upon every visit. Marketing teams can also opt to delineate and route posts to different areas of a website, too. This is particularly effective in integrating social proof from product discovery to check-out.

    2. Connect Event Attendees with Live UGC Walls

      Enthusiasm is contagious. This is one of the reasons why event planners love streaming social media walls so much. Giving guests a chance to see and be seen builds excitement! And truth be told, it requires very little effort to make it happen.

      In much the same way that website hubs are created, brand managers can easily showcase UGC in real-time at sporting events, concerts, conferences, academic gathers, and virtually any environment where people come together. Because people naturally turn to social media to fill gaps of time and share epic moments, integrating UGC into live events is a brilliant move.

      Whatever the venue, people love seeing their photos, ideas, and shout-outs acknowledged and published on the big screen. Event planners can configure rules and filters ahead of time or set up a team to manually moderate submissions as they come in.

      The beauty of this technique is that getting event attendees active on social media piques the interest of digital audiences, too. Existing customers are typically a brand’s best ambassadors, and by virtue of their very presence, event attendees are already demonstrating loyalty to your brand. Invite them to share their happy experiences online and let FOMO do the rest!

      3. Use Retail Displays to Bridge Shopping Experiences

        The connection between online content and “real-life” decision-making is not so cut and dry anymore. Walk into a retail store, and you’ll likely encounter customers pulling up mobile apps, texting friends for opinions, or perusing product review sites before making a purchase.

        Savvy brands connect the dots. Whether through omni-channel marketing or simply an emphasis on being omnipresent – bringing persuasive messaging like UGC to consumers wherever and whenever they need it – the key is to create reassuring shopping experiences.

        Featuring authentic, peer-driven content on in-store signage is a powerful way to get it done. And it’s exactly the kind of marketing that consumers want. We’re not kidding! 90% of US shoppers say UGC is the most influential part of their purchase decisions!

        Simply by fostering feelings of trust and transparency, putting UGC inside brick-and-mortar stores can make a big splash. It’s certainly no coincidence that emotionally-connected brands have twice as many customers willing to pay 20 percent more. Trust is worth more. And when it comes to building trust, the marketing industry now knows that embedding peer content at every point of the purchase path is key. Whether online or in-store, there’s a place for UGC.

        4. Give Loyal Fans Your Ad Space

          Advertisements can be a real turn-off, except when they’re genuine. Consumers largely distrust promotional content, with 92% preferring candid testimonials and advice from family and friends.

          This makes sense. We would expect companies to put their best foot forward in an effort to win our business, so an element of skepticism in brand advertising is inevitable. Conversely, peers who have nothing to gain from our approval resonate better.

          Fortunately for marketers, thanks to the growth of social media networks and review sites, much of those peer-to-peer recommendations now appear online. and mar-tech platforms make it easy for brands to access and deploy UGC into advertising.

          Fans are generally excited about the possibility of being featured by brands they love, but if you intend to repurpose content outside of social hubs, be sure to get specific user permission. Copyright protections extend to social media posts, too, and overlooking the legal concept is ill-advised. This is especially important with explicit advertising. Until you get consent, UGC is not yours to share.

          Securing and tracking publishing rights to UGC is not difficult. Using TwineSocial’s content permissions module, brands can quickly turn earned media into owned content, opening the door to huge opportunities in advertising. This strategy is how top brands like Volkswagen, Nike, Budweiser, and numerous others get massive conversions. They understand that people want to see what the brand means – not just what it sells – and there’s no better way to do that then by featuring real user experiences.

          5. Personalize Brand Communications

            Here’s the deal. Don’t break your back (or bank) producing only “official” company material. Self-promotion is a snooze fest.

            On average, 19 out of 20 brand communications receive little to no engagement. Compare that to Facebook reports, which show the reverse. UGC featuring a brand gets 6.9x higher engagement than corporate efforts. Clearly, the trick isn’t to push out more of the same, but rather elevate the existing conversation.

            When brands weave fan content into e-mail marketing, corporate social media accounts, catalogs, brochures, and other marketing tools, they get much better results. That’s because the fans that know and love your brand tell your story best.

            Research proves that UGC grows traffic, increases sales, and creates a stand-out shopper experience. Perhaps the best part about user-generated content is that it is relatively easy to harness and deploy for extra sway. See for yourself, by trying TwineSocial for free today.


            For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

            Join the world's most sophisticated social marketers

            Ready to unlock your fan content? Get a demo of TwineSocial.