Want more user-generated content reviews from customers? Give them incentives to comply.

With high percentages of both B2B and B2C brands developing content marketing strategies to engage their audiences, companies must create diverse offerings in order to stand out. Of course, well-written custom content can build credibility online, but in order to pierce through the noise, companies need to get a little crafty with their efforts.

One media type that has garnered a lot of attention is user-generated content (UGC). Some 83 percent of consumers say UGC reviews impact their purchase decisions at least sometimes, which compels ecommerce brands to encourage customers to leave a few words about their experiences online. This has also led some internet users to call online reviews into question, saying the vast majority may not be authentic or honest.

According to eMarketer, estimates of fraudulent UGC reviews reach as high as 30 percent, and while Ipsos OTX found 78 percent of internet users consider user feedback influential, credibility continues to decline. Nevertheless, Search Engine Land found that trust for positive reviews increased 3 percent between 2010 and 2012, so when quality reviews (whether positive or negative) are published, they do help readers make decisions on what to buy. The report discovered that 28 percent of respondents trust reviews if there were multiple by different customers, and 24 percent internalize feedback when they believe it to be authentic. Twenty percent trust reviews from other businesses, but not from customers.

With varying viewpoints on the power of UGC reviews, brands should dedicate some time to finding ways to compel shoppers to leave a few comments online to promote the brand. These efforts don’t need to be complex or overly strategic – in fact, just ask for some online love, and most will oblige. ROI Research found that 50 percent of social media users respond to retailer prompts to offer feedback.

If struggling to get the volume of reviews necessary to provide shoppers with a real glimpse of the value of a product, a marketing team might consider incentives. For example, customers who leave reviews could receive a discount code for a future purchase. When brands give these codes to people who leave both positive and negative reviews, they create transparency that could work in their favor.

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.