User-generated content is an effective tool to grow your sales. It not only saves time and costs for branded content creation, but also lends authenticity to your brand and products. According to a Stackla report, 60% of consumers find user-generated content to be the most authentic form of content.
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 if other people, especially influencers, are also buying that product.
It Showcases Products in Use - Seeing products in use by actual customers or authority figures helps customers make their own buying decisions.
You can even turn high-quality influencer-created content into ads to create a bigger impact out of UGC. If you’re not sure how to do this, download our guide on repurposing influencer UGC.
Types of User-Generated Content
Let’s take a look at the most common types of user-generated content leveraged by bands to grow their sales:
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:
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.
These are the social media posts about a company’s product or brand created by a customer or influencer. They may be simple brand mentions, pictures of users wearing a particular brand or product, or detailed posts reviewing a product or showcasing product details.
Here are a few examples:
In the example below, whiskey enthusiast, @peatandmore, mentions the whiskey brand, Ukko, in his Instagram post.
In the example below, hairstylist, 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.
These are user-generated videos that talk about a company’s products or services. They can be tutorial videos, shopping hauls, unboxing videos, product reviews, or any other video that talks about a brand or its products.
Pampers is a brand that often reposts user-generated videos of parents with their babies, on their Instagram page. Here is an example:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.