How User-Generated Content Can Skyrocket Your Sales (Updated April 2019)

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

Every day, people create a lot of online content for their social media feeds. And that content is consumed by millions of people around the world. Just imagine how much brands could benefit if they could leverage that content.

A lot of brands have now realized the power of user-generated content and have started leveraging it to their benefit. It saves a lot of time and money that you would otherwise spend on branded content creation and distribution.

And the best part is that people trust user-generated content more than they trust branded content. In fact, a study by Stackla found that 60% of consumers find user-generated content to be the most authentic form of content.

You can get user-generated content for free and get your audience to trust you more. That’s killing two birds with one stone.

So, why not put all of that user-generated content to good use and leverage it to grow your sales?

If you’re still not convinced, let’s look into some of the benefits of user-generated content that will definitely get you to jump on this bandwagon.

What are the Benefits of User-Generated Content?

It Provides Social Proof

People often consider others’ opinions and actions before buying a product. User-generated content helps customers validate their buying decisions by seeing other people using that product.

The impact is multifold when it is influencers who are seen using a particular product. People trust the influencers that they follow and when they see an influencer using a product, it encourages them to buy it as well.

According to a Twitter study, there is an 88% increase in purchase intent when a brand is promoted by an influencer. So you can repurpose content created by influencers as social proof that can help get more people to buy your product.

It Showcases Products in Use

Seeing products in use by actual customers or authority figures helps customers make their own buying decisions. Plus, you can also see the different ways to use or carry a product when you see it in use. This helps alleviate any concerns a person might have about buying the product.

You can even turn high-quality user-generated content into ads to get the most out of it. If you’re not sure how to do this, download our guide on repurposing influencer UGC.

It Saves Time and Money

User-generated content is created by people who use the products and not by brands. So, the brand does not need to hire people to create content.

This saves a lot of money, time, and effort for the brands. And, if they run a contest or encourage people to generate content, then it also drives consumer engagement.

Types of User-Generated Content

Just like branded content, user-generated content also comes in various types and forms.

Let’s take a look at the most common types of user-generated content leveraged by bands to grow their sales:

Comments

These are the comments on your company’s blog posts, product pages on e-commerce sites, and social media posts.

Brands can get more comments on their posts or blogs by adding a call-to-action (CTA) such as asking the readers to share their experiences of using the products or services.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

These include reviews provided by people who have bought and used a company’s products. These are one of the most important types of user-generated content.

According to a Yotpo study, customers are up to four times more likely to buy products that display star ratings on the buy page.

And according to a BrightLocal study, 85% of consumers believe that online reviews are equivalent to personal recommendations in terms of trustworthiness. 93% check out local reviews to determine whether a business is good or bad.

How to Get More Reviews

Send a post-purchase email to customers to ask for reviews. In the example below, a customer purchased from Ulta Beauty and received this post-purchase email:

Towerdata

Image Source: Towerdata

Incentivize customers to write reviews by offering them coupons or loyalty reward points in exchange. Vanity Planet uses this technique to generate customer reviews:

Vanity Planet website

Image Source: Vanity Planet website

Expert Product Reviews

These are reviews done by a relevant third-party, such as influencers or bloggers, and are often paid reviews. Brands can leverage influencers to write detailed product reviews and include direct purchase links within their content.

To identify and manage influencers, you can use tools like Grin and BuzzSumo. These tools can help you identify relevant influencers in your niche. And using Grin, you can even manage your whole campaign, including discovering verified contact information and sending outreach messages.

Below is an example of a product review of Neutrogena products by the Makeup and Beauty Blog. The blog post also includes direct product purchase links apart from mentioning the product’s features.

Makeup & Beauty Blog

Image Source: Makeup & Beauty Blog

Product reviews don’t necessarily have to be detailed and posted on a blog. People write product reviews in social media posts all the time. Brands can ask influencers to write reviews and post them on social media, where they have a good follower base.

In the example below, hair stylist, Meg Boswell, reviewed a hair product from Loreal Professional, detailing its features and benefits. While this is not a sponsored review, the stylist participated in the brand’s event and subsequently wrote this review.

Meg Boswell instagram

Media Source: Instagram

Airbnb is a brand that almost exclusively uses user-generated content and features it on their Instagram page. The brand encourages their users to take pictures of their stays at Airbnb properties and tag the brand in their posts. They then select a few such posts and feature them on their Instagram page.

Airbnb instagram

Image Source: Instagram

Brand Mentions

This simply means that a user or influencer mentioned a brand in their social media post or Story. These are important because they enhance your brand visibility among the user’s followers.

In the example below, whiskey enthusiast, @peatandmore, mentions the whiskey brand, Ukko, in his Instagram post.

peatandmore

Image Source: Instagram

Unpaid Videos

Pampers is a brand that often reposts user-generated videos of parents with their babies, on their Instagram page. Here is an example:

Pampers

Image Source: Instagram

Paid Videos

Brands can leverage influencers and video bloggers to create a video featuring their products.

OUAI Haircare often collaborates with YouTube influencer, Madison Chertow, to create tutorial videos featuring the brand’s products.

In the example below, the influencer has featured the brand’s products in the video. She has also included purchase links in the description and has added links to OUAI’s social media pages.

Paid Videos

Image Source: YouTube

Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content to Grow Sales

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to leverage user-generated content to grow your sales.

Showcase User-Generated Photos on Your Website

Showcasing user-generated photos is a good way to lend authenticity to your product images and influence buyer purchase decisions. According to another Yotpo survey, 77% of online shoppers said that user photos influence their buying decision more than professional photos.

Watch company, MVMT, showcases pictures of people using their products on Instagram and on their website. There’s a “Shop Our Instagram” section, which showcases these pictures with an option to shop the look.

This not only displays the products being used by other people, but also makes it easy for other customers to purchase those products.

MVNT

Image Source: MVNT Website

Repost User-Generated Content on Your Social Media Profiles

Many brands post user-generated content on their social media profiles to showcase their products being used by other customers. These posts seem more authentic than professionally photographed product images or advertisements.

Here is an example:

Garmin Outdoor

Image Source: Instagram

Garmin has a separate Instagram page for user-generated content. On their Garmin Outdoor page, they repost users’ social media posts showcasing their products in use. They also have a specific hashtag #GarminPro to highlight these users.

Apart from posting user-generated content on your social media profiles, it is also important to make it easy for customers to buy the featured products. As we’ve discussed before, there are three easy ways to do so:

A Link in Bio

By including a direct link to your brand’s website in your bio, you can direct traffic from social media pages to your ecommerce website. Below is an example of the clothing brand Zara’s Instagram bio, which has a link to their website.

Zara

Image Source: Instagram

Action Buttons

This is more nuanced than pasting a link in bio, as this can take the customers directly to the product listing. There are options to add buy buttons on most social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

In the example below, watch brand, Daniel Wellington, has posted user-generated content on Facebook and has added a “shop now” button. You can also use the same tactic when repurposing influencer-created content for your ads.

Daniel Wellington-2

Image Source: Facebook

Instagram Stories

The “swipe up to buy” feature on Instagram Stories can be used by brands that have more than 10,000 followers. Clothing brand, H&M, uses direct product or collection links in their Instagram Stories. Here is an example:

Clothing brand, H&M

Image Source: Instagram

Showcase Customer Reviews and Testimonials on Your Website

This is another great way to provide social proof and influence potential customers’ buying decisions. Brands can use customer reviews and testimonials in several ways, here are a few examples:

Showcase Reviews as a Part of the Product Listing

Cosmetics company, Boom, adds a product review above the product title and also showcases videos with customer testimonials or makeovers using the featured products.

Boom productBoom videos

Image Source: Boom Website

Showcase Reviews on Your Website’s Homepage

Skincare brand, BioClarity, showcases customer reviews, both in videos and quotes format, on their website’s homepage.

BioClarity

Image Source: BioClarity

Showcase Reviews for Each Product Listing on the Product Pages

Birchbox showcases customer reviews and ratings below product listings on their website. Here is an example:

customer reviews and ratings

Image Source: Birchbox

Use User-Generated Content to Build a Community

Several brands add a Q&A page or chat forums where customers can share reviews and ask or answer questions. They can also discuss other topics related to the brand or their products.

This not only increases customer engagement, but also increases sales as customers return to the brand’s website more frequently.

Sephora is a cosmetics company that has successfully leveraged user-generated content to build a community of followers. They has groups to discuss skincare concerns and related topics, a Q&A page, a forum to post photos and videos, and several other features to generate user content.

Sephora-1

Image Source: Sephora

Wrapping Up

User-generated content is an effective way to skyrocket your sales. You can use the tactics mentioned above to grow your business.

If you have more ideas on how to leverage user-generated content or examples of unique content types used by brands, please share them in comments below. And don’t forget to download our guide on how to repurpose influencer UGC for your ads.


Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown is the CEO of Grin, an influencer marketing software solution for brands. Grin’s software helps customers identify, recruit & activate the world’s most engaging influencers. Prior to Grin Brandon led marketing for the #1 energy drink market in the world, Los Angeles & Orange County, at Red Bull North America. He is an expert in consumer marketing and has extensive experience working with with the worlds largest brands to reach consumers through influencers, athletes, musicians and artists.

More by Brandon Brown