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 user generated 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. 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 improve your marketing efforts?
If you’re still not convinced, let’s look into some of the benefits of user-generated content that will 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’s 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 an influencer promotes a brand. So you can repurpose this UGC 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.
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 type of content 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.
Many may be left wondering what exactly user generated content refers to or looks like. Let’s take a look at the most common types of user-generated content leveraged by brands 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
This type of UGC content includes 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% of customers check out local reviews to determine whether a business is good or bad.
How to Get More Reviews
When you are trying to build a better image for your brand or product, 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:
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, overall improving its user generated content:
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 user generated content.
To identify and manage influencers in your niche, you can use a tool like GRIN. An all-in-one tool like GRIN can help 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.
Image Source: Makeup & Beauty Blog
User generated content, like, product reviews, doesn’t necessarily have to be detailed and posted on a blog or on the company website. 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, 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.
Airbnb is a brand that almost exclusively uses user-generated content and features it on their Instagram page. The brand encourages its 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.
Brand mentions mean 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.
Image Source: Instagram
Pampers is a brand that often reposts user-generated content in the form of videos of parents with their babies, on their Instagram page. Here is an example:
Image Source: Instagram
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 UGC content through 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.
Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content to Market Your Products
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to leverage user-generated content to grow your product sales and grow your overall business revenue through these marketing techniques.
Showcase User-Generated Photos on Your Website
Showcasing user-generated photos is an excellent 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 generated content, like customer 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 to help them imagine themselves using or wearing the product, but also makes it easy for other customers to purchase those products.
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 align very closely with the UGC definition because they seem more authentic than professionally photographed product images or advertisements.
Here is an example:
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 essential 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 e-commerce website. Below is an example of the clothing brand Zara’s Instagram bio, which has a link to their website.
This is a more nuanced marketing technique than just 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, the 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:
Image Source: Instagram
Showcase Customer Reviews and Testimonials on Your Website
This is another excellent way to provide social proof and influence potential customers’ buying decisions. Brands can use UGC content like 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.
Image Source: Boom Website
Showcase Reviews on Your Website’s Homepage
Skincare brand, BioClarity, boosts its user generated content portfolio by showcasing customer reviews, both in videos and quotes format, on their website’s homepage.
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:
Image Source: Birchbox
Implement User-Generated Content in Your Emails
Your brand can utilize a few types of user generated content in your email marketing strategy to attract more customers.
This is a great way to include user-generated photos or customer’s product reviews while also giving customers an idea of what the best-selling products are.
Eyewear company, Coastal, really embodies their “eyewear for everyone” slogan through their email marketing by offering a variety of styles with coordinating customer reviews to help showcase themselves to a larger customer base.
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 have 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 UGC content.
Image Source: Sephora
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 the comments below.