How to Leverage User-Generated Content to Increase Sales

29 January 2020 • 5 min read

If you’re making daily sales, then you could be generating valuable content daily and at no extra cost to you. Sound good? Then keep reading!

Content created by your customers has been proven to help boost sales and increase customer retention. You might have heard it referred to as User-Generated Content or UGC, for short. Used correctly, it can be very effective:

“UGC results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.” (AdWeek, 2016)

What is UGC? User-generated content is content that is created by a user or someone who interacts with a brand. This content can come in many different forms such as social posts, blogs, comments, reviews, etc.

In today’s Instagram-centric social media world, UGC has become a huge part of everyone’s online experience – from the obvious to the subliminal. Everyone is marketing products today, whether it’s intentional or not; and as Instagram has emerged as a viable revenue-driving channel, you need to ensure you are making the most out of UGC.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about user-generated content and how you can use it to improve your online revenue.

Let your customers tell their stories about you (or with you)

Customers will tell their stories about your brand, your products, or your services if you give them the tools and the platform to do it. Whether that’s a forum, survey, or comment/review area. There’s no downside to interacting with your customers.

While they can interact negatively with your business, ultimately “UGC creates a win-win relationship between the brand and the customer.” You can even ask your customers for their input on the future of your product, and giving this level of control back to your customers will allow you to create brand advocates.

Example Campaign: Lay’s “Do-us-a-Flavor” Campaign

In 2006, Lay’s was looking for new flavors for their chips. They asked people to submit ideas for a new chip flavor on their website, with the winner to receive $1 million. In 2014, they repeated the same campaign using Twitter and in 2016 using Snapchat. The campaign clearly worked for Lay’s as they went back to it 3 separate times!

When you create an effective UGC campaign that rewards customer engagement with your brand, you’ll start to see those shoppers turn into loyal brand advocates.

Remain active on Instagram

If you’re going to be encouraging your customers to engage with you as a brand, then they need to see that you’re active on the platform they’re using. For most businesses, Instagram will be the best platform to interact with your customers, and if you’re regularly posting content to that channel it will encourage your customers to do the same. And if they’re aware of your presence, they can @ you or post with a hashtag related to your business.

In 2019, more than 1 billion people were active on Instagram every month, and the social media channel shows no signs of slowing down either. Remaining active on Instagram can also develop a culture for your business which exists outside the walls of your physical store. By associating your products with real-life situations, your brand can permeate into the lives of your customers, creating brand loyalty and trust.

Example Campaign: Starbucks’ #WhiteCupContest

In April 2014, Starbucks started the hashtag #WhiteCupContest on Instagram and asked their customers to submit their doodled white cup of art, with the chance to win a $300 gift card and their own design immortalized on the cup in a limited edition. Now it’s become a tradition every year and during the holiday season, Starbucks encourages its customers to be creative with the famous cups.

Did you know that NitroSell stores can communicate directly with Instagram to ensure products in posts are tagged, meaning customers can shop directly from your Instagram account? So now you can turn your Instagram account into an extension of your webstore! Find out more about this service over here.

Incentivize your customers to create and submit videos/reviews

We are far more likely to share, comment, and like videos over basic text pieces of content, so if there’s an opportunity to try and get videos made about your products, then take it.

The power of video is unquestionable, and it becomes even stronger if it’s generated directly by your users. One of the most popular ways people have been engaging with products via the medium of video is through unboxing or product review videos. One kid is even pulling in over $20 million a year for opening and playing with toys! So, it can mean big business not only for you but also for your customers.

One of the main draws for product review and unboxing videos for a business is the fact that the customer discovers the benefits of the product in real-time and in a real-life setting. Other customers can then immerse themselves in the experience that your product delivers which is more than a simple product listing or text-based review can offer.

It’s proven to increase conversion rates too and drive brand loyalty, as people trust peer reviews and ratings more than the reviews and ratings given by professionals.

Keep monitoring interactions

UGC is generally good for your brand if it is well managed, but you also need to keep one central tenet of this nature of customer engagement: You can’t control UGC.

Your users can leave negative comments on any medium so you need to have a resource dedicated to moderation and monitoring. From social networks to forums and blogs, negative interactions need a quick reply to mitigate and de-escalate the situation.