How e-commerce nutrition brands are leveraging User-Generated Content to sell products

August 5, 2020
Charlie Brook

Charlie Brook is the Head of Content at Photoslurp, Europe’s leading visual commerce platform. Photoslurp helps e-commerce brands collect the photos and images featuring their products that customers post on social media and integrate into the online shopping journey.

User-Generated Content leverages word-of-mouth power through a brand-led marketing strategy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges for online nutrition brands, but it has also presented the opportunity to adapt to a new kind of e-commerce environment, one in which shopping from home is the new normal.

By looking at recent data from e-commerce technology firm Detail Online, we can see that the public is not only spending much more time online, namely on social media, but is also adjusting their lives to shopping online. Even in the wake of the quarantine, many of these online habits have stuck with the general public, so much so that online retailers must similarly adapt the way in which they market to their audiences.

We can see that the pandemic has in fact helped the dietary supplement sector with unprecedented e-commerce sales growth in the wake of the crisis. This signifies that nutrition brands in particular have a very high possibility of converting post-COVID if they are able to properly attract and engage these eager online customers.

In order to do just that, many nutritional brands are leaning into social media strategies as a way to reach customers where they’re spending time. Some of these nutritional brands are leveraging the power of a User-Generated Content strategy to amplify customers’ voices and enrich its customers’ online shopping journey.

If you’re not familiar with User-Generated Content, we’d love to explain how e-commerce–savvy companies use it—and the ways in which your brand can do the same.

User-Generated Content for Online Nutrition Brands

We’re all aware that the most effective way to attract clients is through word-of-mouth. When happy customers share with friends how great a product is, those friends are much more likely to give the product a try compared to if they just saw an ad online. This is especially true in the nutrition sector where consumers are constantly sharing the latest products that have helped them reach their health goals.

But unfortunately, word-of-mouth is not something we can manufacture, as the whole point of word-of-mouth is that it’s authentic.

So the question becomes: How can we leverage this same kind of word-of-mouth power but through a brand-led marketing strategy? Hint: the answer lies within your customers.

As consumers spend more time on social media, they’re growing more and more interested in sharing their lives on platforms like Instagram. This is useful for brands, as the visual nature of many of these platforms creates a natural way for the products to become a part of the conversation.

While these conversations are great engagement for brands on social media, there’s a lot more you can do with that engagement than just letting it live on these platforms.

The first step is to encourage customers to post content featuring your product on social media, which can be achieved through a number of strategies. This content is known as User-Generated Content (UGC). As Christina Newberry explains in a Hootsuite blog post, “User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.” Once consumers are posting UGC, the following step is to collect this content and upload it directly into the shopping journey on your own website. Take the fashion industry: clothing brands will often encourage their customers to post images on social media, with the brand’s hashtag, of consumers wearing the brand’s clothes. The same idea applies to consumers using their favorite dietary supplement.

Seeing pictures of real people using products not only creates compelling visual reviews that help shoppers feel more connected to the brand through social proof; it actually increases conversion and engagement rates. And as nutrition as a topic sees a lot of action on social media platforms like Instagram, there’s a huge potential for this kind of engagement.

To understand how this works in practice, let’s look at an example from Danish sports snack brand Bodylab.

How Nutrition Brands Leverage Authentic UGC in Their e-Commerce Stores

Bodylab is a Danish market leader in producing sports snacks and supplements for its growing base of customers. Since the company’s inception in 2003, the brand has put a focus on cultivating strong relationships with their engaged customers over social media.

By collecting the user-generated photos and videos posted on social media by their customers and integrating those posts and videos in their own e-commerce store, Bodylab is able to do more with the interaction they see on social media. As a sports brand, their fanbase is eager to share with followers their progress in their athletic training, which naturally lends itself to the UGC model. It’s already been a success for Bodylab, garnering the company an interaction rate of 5.75% (clicking on a widget) thanks to the UGC enrichment. (Disclosure: Bodylab used the services of our company, Photoslurp, to collect UGC.)

Kristian Deiborg, chief technology officer for Bodylab, said, “People like to show that they have been to the gym or they live healthily, so they share their experiences with us. We are using UGC to get the full potential out of our strong relationship with our customers—a relationship that before was mainly living on Instagram, but it is now possible to integrate into our website, which is of very high value.”

Deiborg concluded, “One reason that we use UGC is that it makes it easier to see yourself using the products—for example, using it on product pages next to the products. But, of course, the bottom line is to increase conversions.”

Charlie Brook is the Head of Content at Photoslurp, Europe’s leading visual commerce platform. Photoslurp helps e-commerce brands collect the photos and images featuring their products that customers post on social media and integrate into the online shopping journey.

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