The biggest advantage social media has over traditional media is that it allows communication in both directions: from brand to consumer and from consumer to brand. Targeted communication with customers helps build up a personal and, most of all, approachable brand image. This in turn enormously strengthens customer loyalty. User Generated Content (UGC) also plays a key part in this process.

Social Media makes Brands more personal

In a recent study by The Manifest, 74% of respondents claimed to follow at least one brand on social media. A siginficant 96% of these people further indicate that they also interact with brands via social networks. Social media feeds are increasingly growing into a mix of  brand postings and content shared by friends or family. Public comment-sections and direct messaging features today provide the ability to contact brands as fast and easily as our friends. By directly linking a brand in their own posts, customers can immediately share their enthusiasm for new products and aim to draw the respective brand's attention.

In turn, social media also makes it much easier for brands to interact with their customers, and thereby strenghen customer loyalty. If a brand is tagged on user generated content, it can react out to the original user with just a simple click, comment on the post with little effort or contact the respective user via direct message. All these options convey attention and individual appreciation to the customer.

Out of all social media channels, Instagram is the platform on which a direct interaction between brand and cutomer is the most likely.  More than every other user claims to follow at least one brand on Instagram. About every third also agrees to have tagged a band or used a branded hashtag in a post before. Brands can benefit immensely from this willingness to interact and produce UGC in their customers.

Effectively utilize User Generated Content to convey Appreciation

Seven out of ten buyers agree to be influenced by  the opinions of other customers. More than 80% trust the recommendations of friends and acquaintances when buying products for the first time. Only around one in two, on the other hand, considers traditional advertisements to be trustworthy. User Generated Content, which is utilized for marketing purposes, counteracts this loss of confidence regarding traditional advertising, as it provides a kind of digital social proof for new customers. The reason for ths lies in the fact that content which comes directly from customers offers authentic and most importantly diverse impressions of a product or service.

At the same time, however, the integration of User Generated Content conveys great appreciation to existing customers. A prominent display of customer created images, for example on the website, an online shop or in the brand's very own social media feeds, puts the customer community at the center. This, in turn, helps to establish a personal side to the brand and thereby create a clear brand image that customers can identify with. All this has a proven positive effect on customer loyalty.

Best Practice Case for boosting Customer Loyalty through User Generated Content: erlich textil

A prime example of the effective utilizstion of User Generated Content to convey appreciation, build customer loyalty and strengthen the brand image, is provided by our customer erlich textil. Founded in 2015, the German brand sells sustainable underwear and home textiles, clearly positioning itself against fast fashion and for body positivity.

Since 2017, erlich textil has been collecting User Generated Content under the branded hashtag #seierlich with the help of squarelovin. The curated pictures and videos are prominently placed on the erlich textil website in  form of a teaser gallery.

Quelle: erlich textil

Mainly, however, the brand is using customer content to fuel its own Instagram account. Pictures created by users are shared in  form of feed posts or stories on a regular basis. In the story highlights, the category "by you!" prominently comes first. In the Instagram feed, each post is shared with an individual and appreciative caption, which refers back to the person who originally uploaded the content.

Source: erlich textil

Through sharing User Generated Content, erlich textil clearly focuses on their customers and shows that beauty is as diverse as every single person in their community. Instead of relying on a handful of models, erlich textil proudly presents authentic diversity and imperfection. The appreciation that customers of erlich textil experience through is is particularly great - lingerie and underwear is a sensitive and personal topic. Nevertheless, customers of erlich textil like to present themselves and are, most importantly: inspiring and encouraging for new customers.

The imagery of the User Generated Content which piles up under the branded hashtag #seierlich, directly reflects the brand image of erlich textil. Thus, the brand apprears personal, authentic and approachable - all these attributes have a positive effect on customer loyalty.

squarelovin's User Generated Content Management Tool helps brands collect customer images based on mentions, hashtags or geo-locations, filter them according to their individual preferences, legally secure their use and effectively embed the content on all relevant marketing channels. For each image or video essential rights of use are requested individually in accordance with data protection law.

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