In theory, the internet is for everyone. Yet many users still feel sidelined on some websites – whether due to unfriendly brands, inauthentic marketing, and/or inaccessible content.
Luckily, user-generated content (UGC) has turned the tables and allowed for real customer voices to be elevated online. Having an inclusive UGC strategy in place can do a lot for your brand, from building a welcoming brand community to better website accessibility. Here’s how UGC goes hand in hand with your brand’s web accessibility and diversity initiatives.
UGC and Accessibility for Ecommerce
Ecommerce brands are already successfully using UGC to enrich product pages. It’s no secret that customers tend to engage more with UGC compared to branded content. In fact, UGC is 35% more memorable than other media, as well as 50% more trusted. UGC is a broad term; it can include many types of content, such as:
- Customer Testimonials
- Influencer and ambassador content
- Product Ratings & Reviews
- Social Posts (video, text, or static image)
- Community Q&A forums
- Employee-Generated Content
By using a Social UGC platform to manage customer content, your brand has the opportunity to automatically populate website content as UGC is collected. Additionally, sharing UGC across your most valuable marketing channels (like email and social media) can be streamlined in-platform.
UGC can help enrich the user experience and connect consumers closer to your brand – but it can also positively impact web accessibility when used correctly. Pixlee TurnTo’s platform provides alt text for images and videos collected in-platform, supplementary properties for active media, and the ability to navigate visual content with your keyboard. Colors in-platform are ADA-compliant to support visually-impaired users.
All brands want to ensure users from any background – regardless of their device, location, language or ability – can engage with their content. For this reason, businesses often have strategies to create content with accessibility in mind. This may include details such as ensuring images have alt text for blind users, or that acronyms are spelled out when they first appear so readers unfamiliar with the industry have full context.
However, accessibility also encompasses the global concept of creating approachable content for users of all backgrounds. Here are a few reasons why UGC is a natural ally for website accessibility.
1. UGC is Naturally Inclusive
UGC is made by real people interacting with your brand. Anybody can send a Tweet, ask a forum question or snap a product pic and share it on Instagram. The community-driven nature of UGC means that there are no barriers to who can participate, and this inclusivity is what naturally produces powerful brand affinity.
In the words of Catherine Seaton, VP of Marketing for Windsor, “UGC is powerful because when you can see someone similar to you, whether it’s skin tone, or body shape, you feel more comfortable in understanding how that’s going to look on you.”
Windsor uses Pixlee TurnTo to collect, curate, publish, and track ecommerce conversions from individual pieces of UGC.
2. UGC Can be Easily Localized
Another big plus of UGC is that customers from anywhere can engage with your brand. No matter their country or native language, users are able to share content and visuals that show their experiences. Even testimonials that your business receives in other languages can be powered by an auto-translation tool to uplift diverse customer voices.
Pixlee TurnTo’s language and localization capabilities support localized languages in all UGC displays and messaging templates so your brand can connect with a global community. With galleries of community content woven throughout its website, intimates brand Leonisa’s team is able to “communicate to our new audiences that we are a brand that many people around the world love.”
3. UGC shapes accessible SEO
UGC is also useful for fine-tuning your SEO. Customers who generate content will organically use keywords and hashtags that fit with your brand. By paying attention to UGC, you can shape your brand’s SEO attributes to become more inclusive and match with what customers are saying.
In turn, you can optimize SEO and content for users of different abilities. For example, improving your website’s readability for all users is also the first step in improving its functionality with a screen reader.
UGC in the form of Community Q&A and Checkout Comments for Seattle Coffee Gear offer long-tail keywords and phrases that coffee drinkers are more likely to search for.
Overall, SEO is a key element of website accessibility, as it’s vital to meta and alt fields, readability, link building, and searchability. By improving your SEO through UGC, your website will be better positioned for accessibility.
4. UGC Acts as a Trust Signal, or “Social Proof”
Finally, UGC for many customers is a trust signal for building a relationship. By making users feel seen and heard, your brand will be able to tailor your website and services according to their needs. Opening the conversation begins with raising real customer voices, and shoppers are more comfortable making their first purchase from you if they see other people like them using and enjoying your products..
Brands that make themselves highly approachable are sure to find out when their customers are unhappy. Users may feel more comfortable calling out companies when they’ve done something wrong – but also praising them when they fix it.
Enhance Your Website Accessibility With UGC
UGC plays a key role in your brand’s marketing strategy. Not only can it boost your website accessibility and diversity efforts, but it also leads to better brand outcomes. With UGC, you can build a more authentic brand that’s aimed at including all of your customers and making content accessible to everyone online.